Grad Conference

Welcome to the APHI grad conference page, where you can find information about the 12th Annual Graduate Student Conference in American Political History, including a program of events and conference flyer once they become available. This year’s theme is “Making the American City” and will feature a keynote speech delivered by Robert Self (Brown University).



12th Annual Boston University Graduate Student Political History Conference

Making the American City

March 20 – 21, 2020

Boston, MA

Keynote Speaker:

Robert O. Self,

Mary Ann Lippitt Professor of American History and Department Chair,

Brown University

The Boston University American Political History Institute (APHI) welcomes submissions for its twelfth annual graduate student conference. This year’s theme asks panelists to consider the role of cities in U.S. political history. Cities have been laboratories for political movements and social reform, while the exercise of political power has shaped urban spaces and the experiences of people who live in them.

We invite submissions that examine the political history of cities across a range of themes. Cities have been central to partisan politics, from nineteenth-century party machines to the urban–rural divide which characterizes recent polarization; cities have also formed the arenas in which political contests over race, class, and labor have intersected. Gender and sexualities, as political identities, have been formed by the dynamic experience of city life. Cities are hubs for transnational exchanges in ideas, goods, and people, from diplomacy and immigration to material culture and consumption. The political history of the American city encompasses the growth of bureaucracy and institutions of governance; fierce debates (sometimes violent) over the shape and ownership of the built environment; the political impact of urban sprawl; and fraught wartime experiences in urban home-fronts. We are excited to receive submissions that cover many such themes from a variety of perspectives.

We ask prospective panelists to please submit a 300-word proposal and a one-page C.V in a single PDF document via email to Submissions should be titled with “LastName_ShortTitle” and submitted by November 22, 2019. Presenters will be notified of their acceptances to the conference by December 11, 2019.

All presenters must be current graduate students, and distinguished faculty from both BU and the wider Boston area will serve as commentators for each panel. The most outstanding paper will receive the APHI Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Prize, which includes a $1,000 cash award. If proposals are accepted, full papers must be submitted to by February 20, 2020 for prize consideration. Please visit the conference web page at for more information and updates.

Travel Information

Transportation to Boston

Boston University is located on the “B” Green line near Kenmore Square.  The MBTA extensively covers the Boston metropolitan area, making travel around the city and its suburbs easy and quick.  For a map and more information see:

By Plane: 

Boston University is easily accessible from Logan Airport by the Metro System.  Once you arrive in at Logan, take a shuttle labeled “Blue Line” to the blue line metro station and get on an inbound train.  Take the inbound train to the “Government Center” stop and there you will switch to the green line.  Take the “B” Green line outbound, this line will be labeled destination “Boston College.”   Take this train to the Boston University East Exit.

By train or bus:

Boston University is easily accessible from South Station, where both trains and buses arrive.  A variety of bus and train lines travel to Boston from New York, Providence, and many other cities.  Once you arrive at South Station, get on the red metro line and take two stops to Park Street Station.  There you will switch to the green “B” line outbound to Boston College.  Take this train to the Boston University East Exit.

If you would like information about a nearby hotel, please email us or contact the Hotel Buckminster at