Memory Matters: Constructing America’s Past
July 9-20, 2018
8:30 AM to 12:30 PM

About the Summer Institute

For over two decades, teachers and graduate students in American Studies, political science, history, and related disciplines have explored in depth a topic drawn from American history, politics, culture, or social policy through the American Studies Summer Institute, co-sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Boston and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The intensive two-week program, held at the Kennedy Library in July, includes informative and thought-provoking lectures and discussions led by a distinguished group of scholars and guests.

The 2018 Summer Institute

Join us this summer for an intensive two-week program of thought-provoking lectures and discussions led by distinguished scholars and guests. The American Studies Summer Institute, an annual program co-sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Boston American Studies Department and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, offers educators and graduate students the opportunity to explore in depth a rich topic, with contemporary resonance, drawn from American social, cultural and political history.

This year’s program, held at the Kennedy Library, will explore how America’s past has been defined and redefined by a range of agents--from memorials, museums, monuments, and other tourist sites, to textbooks, family stories, communal observances, and popular culture. We will investigate how contests over the primacy of one or more of these narratives have had far-reaching consequences for the structuring of American social and civic society, including delineation of “we, the people,” and for the development of American historical consciousness.

The Institute will ask the following underlying questions: What is historical consciousness? How is it produced and where is it narrated? What is a “usable past”? What are the ideas, social relations, and technologies that have shaped and reshaped popular and elite (or sanctioned) remembrances of American history? How have various Americans in a range of social locations challenged official narratives of their histories? How do Americans today engage with the past and why?

Drawing upon experts from a variety of disciplines and with diverse perspectives, the Institute will be directed by Pat Reeve, Chair and Associate Professor of History at Suffolk University, and Education Specialist Nina Tisch at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Graduate Credit

Participants may earn three graduate credits in American Studies. Teachers may earn graduate credits or PDPs.

Registration and Cost

Participants may earn three graduate credits in American Studies. For those who wish to receive graduate credit, the fee for this grant-supported course is $505. For teachers taking the course for PDPs only, a non-credit option is available for $150.

The deadline for registration is May 25, 2018.
Download a PDF registration form

In the unlikely event that registration requests exceed the available capacity, preference will be given to graduate students enrolled in the UMass Boston American Studies Program and to middle and high school teachers.