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1776 Salon with Jill Lepore

1776 Salon

These events are free, but registration is required. A.R.T. Members have priority access to register.

These events are free, but registration is required. A.R.T. Members have priority access to register.

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April

Tuesday

April 21

James Madison and the Making of American Democracy

7PM

Currently unavailable

May

Monday

May 4

Why We Study the American Revolution

7PM

From: $0.00
Currently unavailable

In anticipation of the A.R.T.’s upcoming revival of 1776 in May 2020 and the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 2026, A.R.T. has invited various Harvard scholars to participate in a series of lectures and discussions around the history of our nation.

Hosted at various locations throughout Greater Boston, the 1776 Salon series dives deep into the stories of eighteenth-century historical figures left out of textbooks, explores new narratives leading up to and following the American Revolution, and closely examines the voices represented and absent within the Declaration of Independence.

Upcoming Salons

Annette Gordon-Reed

Citizenship 1776 - 2026

Approaching 250 Years of the United States of America

This event has been postponed to a future date.

Like many of you, we are staying informed about the events surrounding the global outbreak of the coronavirus. The health and safety of our staff, artists, and audiences is of utmost importance. We have decided to postpone Citizenship 1776 – 2026 to a future date. Current ticket holders will be contacted when that date is announced and their tickets will be returned. If you have any questions please contact our Ticket Services Office at 617.547.8300 (Tuesday – Sunday, noon – 5PM) or ticketservices@amrep.org.

Read Our Public Health Update

As we approach the 250th anniversary of the founding of United States of America, it is worthwhile to consider what it means to be a citizen of the country that was created in 1776. Harvard Professor Annette Gordon-Reed explores the questions of how citizenship is expressed in this modern context, how we kept the republic, and what might the future hold for our republic.

As we approach the 250th anniversary of the founding of United States of America, it is worthwhile to consider what it means to be a citizen of the country that was created in 1776. Harvard Professor Annette Gordon-Reed explores the questions of how citizenship is expressed in this modern context, how we kept the republic, and what might the future hold for our republic.

David A. Moss

James Madison and the Making of American Democracy

A Participatory Case Study

This event has been postponed to a future date.

Professor David A. Moss, author of the acclaimed book Democracy: A Case Study, makes history come alive with an audience-driven discussion on how our republic—and democracy as we know it—came about. In 1787, when the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia, the country was in trouble. Many of the nation’s founders feared that their young republic was coming apart and that they had to act decisively to save it. They asked the most fundamental questions: How do we bring the nation together? How do we empower the majority while preserving the rights of the minority? How do we distribute power between the federal government and the states? They struggled mightily to answer them. Professor Moss will pose these same questions to attendees, bringing his wildly popular Harvard course on American democracy to a new stage in this one-time public forum. There will be a short, pre-event reading distributed to participants to prepare for a lively, in-depth discussion during the program.

 

Professor David A. Moss, author of the acclaimed book Democracy: A Case Study, makes history come alive with an audience-driven discussion on how our republic—and democracy as we know it—came about. In 1787, when the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia, the country was in trouble. Many of the nation’s founders feared that their young republic was coming apart and that they had to act decisively to save it. They asked the most fundamental questions: How do we bring the nation together? How do we empower the majority while preserving the rights of the minority? How do we distribute power between the federal government and the states? They struggled mightily to answer them. Professor Moss will pose these same questions to attendees, bringing his wildly popular Harvard course on American democracy to a new stage in this one-time public forum. There will be a short, pre-event reading distributed to participants to prepare for a lively, in-depth discussion during the program.

 

Jane Kamensky

Why We Study the American Revolution

This event has been postponed to a future date.

Scholars have discovered, in recent years, many new things about what the American Revolution entailed: its range and its violence, as well as the varied ways the war and its aftermath affected the many and diverse peoples of North America and of Britain’s empire. But have we lost sight of its purposes and its daring, however partially realized? This talk explores the fate of the spirit of 1776 in an age that reckons with multiple American foundings. Harvard Professor Jane Kamensky and the students from “History 1776” at Harvard University share their perspectives on the era’s gains and losses, and describe the civic engagement projects, at A.R.T. and elsewhere, in which they have not only learned but also taught some of the Revolution’s most enduring lessons.

Scholars have discovered, in recent years, many new things about what the American Revolution entailed: its range and its violence, as well as the varied ways the war and its aftermath affected the many and diverse peoples of North America and of Britain’s empire. But have we lost sight of its purposes and its daring, however partially realized? This talk explores the fate of the spirit of 1776 in an age that reckons with multiple American foundings. Harvard Professor Jane Kamensky and the students from “History 1776” at Harvard University share their perspectives on the era’s gains and losses, and describe the civic engagement projects, at A.R.T. and elsewhere, in which they have not only learned but also taught some of the Revolution’s most enduring lessons.

More details to be announced.

Past Salons

Professors Timothy Patrick McCarthy and John Stauffer.

Performing 1776

The Politics and Poetics of the Declaration of Independence

OCT 21, 2019
Ames Courtroom

Professors Timothy Patrick McCarthy and John Stauffer draw from their very popular course “American Protest Literature from Tom Paine to Tupac,” which they have co-taught to thousands of students in Harvard College and Harvard Extension School since 2001.

Professors Timothy Patrick McCarthy and John Stauffer draw from their very popular course “American Protest Literature from Tom Paine to Tupac,” which they have co-taught to thousands of students in Harvard College and Harvard Extension School since 2001.

Harvard professor Jill Lepore

Jane Franklin’s Spectacles

Harvard Professor Jill Lepore tells the story of Benjamin Franklin’s long-forgotten sister, Jane, and meditates on what it means to write history not from what can be found, but from what has been lost.

Presented in partnership with Revolutionary Spaces.

Harvard Professor Jill Lepore tells the story of Benjamin Franklin’s long-forgotten sister, Jane, and meditates on what it means to write history not from what can be found, but from what has been lost.

Presented in partnership with Revolutionary Spaces.

Vincent Brown

Tacky’s Revolt

The Story of an Atlantic Slave War

FEB 10, 2020
Loeb Drama Center

Harvard Professor Vincent Brown examines the largest slave revolt in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world, known as Tacky’s Revolt. Tracing the roots, routes, and reverberations of this event across disparate parts of the Atlantic world, Brown’s new book Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War, expands our understanding of the relationship between European, African, and American history, as it speaks to our understanding of wars of terror today.

Harvard Professor Vincent Brown examines the largest slave revolt in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world, known as Tacky’s Revolt. Tracing the roots, routes, and reverberations of this event across disparate parts of the Atlantic world, Brown’s new book Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War, expands our understanding of the relationship between European, African, and American history, as it speaks to our understanding of wars of terror today.

Mark Tushnet

Originalism or Ancestor Worship

Interpreting the Constitution Today

MAR 9 at 7PM

When Congress members want to explore new ways to interpret Constitutional clauses, they typically turn to lawyers, even though historians, political scientists, philosophers, and theologians might offer different, and perhaps better, insights. Using our nation’s current events as a case study, Harvard Law School Professor Mark Tushnet explores Thomas Jefferson’s reflections on the decline of popular constitutionalism, a model in which all citizens were encouraged to voice and offer their interpretations of the Constitution.

When Congress members want to explore new ways to interpret Constitutional clauses, they typically turn to lawyers, even though historians, political scientists, philosophers, and theologians might offer different, and perhaps better, insights. Using our nation’s current events as a case study, Harvard Law School Professor Mark Tushnet explores Thomas Jefferson’s reflections on the decline of popular constitutionalism, a model in which all citizens were encouraged to voice and offer their interpretations of the Constitution.

Biographies

Vincent Brown

Vincent Brown is Charles Warren Professor of American History, Professor of African and African-American Studies, and Founding Director of the History Design Studio at Harvard University. His research, writing, teaching, and other creative endeavors are focused on the political dimensions of cultural practice in the African Diaspora, with a particular emphasis on the early modern Atlantic world. Brown is the author of numerous articles and reviews in scholarly journals, he is Principal Investigator and Curator for the animated thematic map Slave Revolt in Jamaica, 1760-1761: A Cartographic Narrative (2013), and he was Producer and Director of Research for the award-wining television documentary Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness (2009), broadcast nationally on season 11 of the PBS series Independent Lens. His first book, The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery (2008), was co-winner of the 2009 Merle Curti Award and received the 2009 James A. Rawley Prize and the 2008-09 Louis Gottschalk Prize. His most recent book is Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War, published by Belknap Press in January 2020.

Annette Gordon-Reed

Annette Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and a Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Gordon-Reed won sixteen book prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2009  and the National Book Award in 2008, for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W.W. Norton, 2008). In addition to articles and reviews, her other works include Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (UVA Press, 1997), Vernon Can Read! A Memoir, a collaboration with Vernon Jordan (PublicAffairs, 2001), Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History (Oxford University Press, 2002), a volume of essays that she edited, Andrew Johnson (Times Books/Henry Holt, 2010), and most recently, with Peter S. Onuf,  “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination (Liveright Publishing, 2016). Gordon-Reed was the Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at the University of Oxford (Queens College) 2014-2015. Between 2010 and 2015, she was the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She was the 2018-2019 President of Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. She is the current President of the Ames Foundation. A selected list of her honors include a fellowship from the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, a Guggenheim Fellowship in the humanities, a MacArthur Fellowship, the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Award, the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, and the George Washington Book Prize, and the Anisfeld-Wolf Book. Gordon-Reed was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011 and is a member of the Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2019, she was elected as a member of the American Philosophical Society.

Jane Kamensky

Jane Kamensky is Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History at Harvard University and the Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her most recent book, A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley (2016), won four prizes, including the New-York Historical Society’s Barbara and David Zalaznick Book Prize, and was a finalist for several others. Her many books include The Exchange Artist: A Tale of High-Flying Speculation and America’s First Banking Collapse (2008), and the novel Blindspot (2008), jointly written with Jill Lepore. With Edward G. Gray, she is coeditor of the Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution (2013). A former Commissioner of the National Portrait Gallery, she serves as a Trustee of the Museum of the American Revolution. She is currently working on a history of the sexual revolution as revealed by the biography of feminist sex radical Candida Royalle. Candida Royalle and the Sexual Revolution: A History from Below, will be published by W.W. Norton.

Jill Lepore

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University. She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker. Her latest book is This America: The Case for the Nation (2019). Her 2018 book, These Truths: A History of the United States, is an international bestseller and was named one of Time magazine’s top ten non-fiction books of the decade. (A recent essay considers responses to the book.) Her next book, IF THEN: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future, will be published in 2020. Lepore received a B.A. in English from Tufts University in 1987, an M.A. in American Culture from the University of Michigan in 1990, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University in 1995. She joined the Harvard History Department in 2003 and was Chair of the History and Literature Program in 2005-10, 2012, and 2014. In 2012, she was named Harvard College Professor, in recognition of distinction in undergraduate teaching.

Timothy Patrick McCarthy

Timothy Patrick McCarthy is an award-winning scholar and educator, public servant, and social justice activist who has taught on the faculty at Harvard University since 2005. He currently holds a joint appointment in the undergraduate honors program in History and Literature, Graduate School of Education, and John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he is Core Faculty at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. Twice named one of Harvard Crimson’s “Professors of the Year,” he received the 2019 Manuel C. Carballo Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Kennedy School’s highest teaching honor. The adopted only son and grandson of public school teachers and factory workers, McCarthy was educated at Harvard and Columbia, where he received his Ph.D. in History. A noted historian of politics and social movements, he is the author or editor of five books from the New Press, including the forthcoming Stonewall’s Children: Living Queer History in an Age of Liberation, Loss, and Love. A frequent media commentator, he served as guest editor for The Nation’s historic “Reclaiming Stonewall 50” forum in June 2019. McCarthy is also a board member for the Tony Award-winning American Repertory Theater, where he hosts and directs The A.R.T. of Human Rights and Resistance Mic!.

David Moss

David Moss is the Paul Whiton Cherington Professor at Harvard Business School and the founder of the Tobin Project. The author of many books, articles, and cases, his early research focused on the history of economic policy and financial markets in the United States. More recently, he has devoted increasing attention to questions of democratic governance and its evolution over time. His latest book, Democracy: A Case Study, explores key episodes in the history of American democracy from the Constitutional Convention to Citizens United. The book grew out of a popular course he created for Harvard undergraduates and MBA students, and he has since launched the Case Method Project, which is piloting this case-based curriculum in high school history, government, and civics courses across the country. Moss is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Student Association Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching at Harvard Business School (eleven times).

Mark Tushnet

Professor Tushnet, who graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School and served as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall, specializes in constitutional law and theory, including comparative constitutional law. His research includes studies examining (skeptically) the practice of judicial review in the United States and around the world. He also writes in the area of legal and particularly constitutional history, with works on the development of civil rights law in the United States and (currently) a long-term project on the history of the Supreme Court in the 1930s.

John Stauffer

John Stauffer is the Kates Professor of English and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. He is the author or editor of 20 books and over 100 articles, including GIANTS: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, a national bestseller; The Black Hearts of Men, co-winner of the Frederick Douglass Book Prize; and Picturing Frederick Douglass, a Lincoln Prize finalist. His essays and reviews have appeared in TimeThe Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesThe Washington Post, and in journals and books. From 2015 to 2018 he edited 21st Editions, a limited edition photography press. He has presented on national radio and TV and served as a consultant or co-curator on films, exhibitions, and video games, including “God in America”, Django Unchained, WAR/​PHOTOGRAPHY, The Free State of JonesThe AbolitionistsRed Dead Redemption 2, and “Reconstruction: America After the Civil War”. He lives in Cambridge with his wife, Deborah Cunningham, and their two sons, Erik and Nicholas.