J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

B.A.E.A.H.S. Starts Up Again, 25 Sept 2008

Every year the Massachusetts Historical Society hosts a series of academic discussions under the unacronymable name of the Boston Area Early American History Seminar. The new season starts up this Thursday, 25 September, at 5:15 P.M.

Prof. T. H. Breen of Northwestern University has shared a paper titled “It Rained Cats and Dogs the Day the Revolution Began: How a Strange London Publication Transformed the American Political Landscape in 1775.” The original, less intriguing subtitle, which indicates Breen’s larger project, is “Political Ideology and Popular Mobilization on the Eve of American Independence.” His most recent book was The Marketplace of Revolution; here’s a review by Prof. Alan Taylor at Powell’s Books.

Some scholarly functions start with an author reading his or her paper aloud. Not in this seminar series—which makes reviewing the paper in advance at the M.H.S. more useful. Breen will offer just a few remarks on what questions he’s hoping to answer, and then Prof. Richard D. Brown of the University of Connecticut will comment on what he’s actually written so far. Discussion then becomes general. Usually there are cookies.

Here’s a complete list of the upcoming year’s seminars in this series.

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