Two Decades of the Newberry Seminars Program, and a Call for Papers | Newberry

Two Decades of the Newberry Seminars Program, and a Call for Papers

Chicago Seminar on Sport and Culture

Early promotional material for the Sport and Culture seminar

The Scholl Center’s annual series of scholarly seminars is our longest running program. Every academic year, the Center welcomes several hundred participants, both new visitors and old friends, to engage as presenters and contributors in the seminar series. Graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars come from across the country to present and discuss their work in an informal, round-table setting.  Over the years, these seminars have not only enhanced the work of individual scholars; they have also advanced scholarship in several fields and created sustainable communities of thinkers on both a local and national level.

The genesis of the seminar program is found in the Family and Community History Center, the original incarnation of the Scholl Center. Aiming to connect local researchers to the Newberry and to each other, the FCHC created the Colloquium Series in Social History in the early 1980’s. Like today’s seminars, the Colloquium was a forum to present and discuss works-in-progress in the maturing field of social history. 

In 1991, the newly-rechristened Dr. William M. Scholl Center for Family and Community History sought to build a centralized seminars program.  The Newberry Seminar in American Social History was launched, bringing prominent scholars from across the country; in addition, the Early American History Seminar—a Newberry seminar series nearly two decades old at that point—came under the Center’s umbrella.  As these two seminars grew, scholars organized additional series and the Scholl Center garnered support from area universities. By 2009, when the Center became the Dr. William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture, the Center was hosting seminars in Rural History, Sport and Culture, Women and Gender, Labor History, Borderlands and Latino Studies, American Art and Visual Culture, and a seminar created specifically for graduate students, the Urban History Dissertation Group. 

The seminars have continued to flourish over the past decade, and today the Scholl Center hosts six ongoing seminars with the continued support of institutions across the Midwest. What began as a local colloquium has grown into a series internationally known seminars that draw participants form across the globe. The 2011-12 year thus far has seen 32 papers presented at 26 seminar meetings, attended by 379 people. In the near future, we hope to launch a new seminar focusing on Literary Aesthetics. 

The Scholl Center is currently accepting proposals for next year’s seminar series. We encourage graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars interested in presenting their work during the 2012-13 academic year to view the Call for Papers on the individual seminar pages:

With the exception of the American Art and Visual Culture seminar, whose deadline is March 15, seminar proposals are due April 25. Any questions about submitting a proposal or attending a seminar can be directed to

We hope to see you at the seminars!

By Carmen Jaramillo

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