Researching New York 2019

November 21-23

University at Albany-SUNY

Celebrate New York History Month at the annual Researching New York Conference.  The conference meets annually in November, bringing together historians, archivists, public historians, graduate students, museum curators, teachers, documentarians, and more to share their work on New York State history topics. We again are  This year we are pleased to partner with our longtime partner, The Archives Partnership Trust, to present an expanded conference exploring all aspects of New York State History.

The complete program of more than 25 workshops, panels, and related events,will be available soon, once we receive final confirmation from participants.  Registration information is available at the 2019 registration link above.

Featured events include:

Lunch Keynote, Friday 11/22. Conference Registration required. Kara Schlichting, Queens College, CUNY. ‘From Dumps to Glory’: City Planning, Coastal Reclamation, and the Rebirth of Flushing Meadow for the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair. In the 1930s, the infamous ash dump at Flushing Meadows, Queens stood as stark proof of the consequences of an unplanned periphery. On this wasteland, planners merged urban environmental and technological infrastructure to build the the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair, the “World of Tomorrow.”  While the fair is most often remembered in terms of its futurist theme, the creation of the Flushing Meadows fairsite was grounded in the very real, contemporary forces of Progressive infrastructure systems and federally-funded public works. The history of the fairsite makes visible how urban planners, public works officials, and engineers merge the city’s technological and environmental infrastructure to build the World of Tomorrow as the New York metropolitan area came of age. her talk draws on her just published work, New York Recentered: Building the Metropolis from the Shore, University of Chicago Press, 2019. s History of Urban America series. Kara Schlichting’s work in late-19th and 20th-century American History sits at the intersection of urban, environmental, and political history, with a particular focus on property regimes and regional planning in greater New York City.

Thursday 11/21.  7:30 PM NYS Museum   Edward Berenson,  noted scholar of modern French history, presents his new book, The Accusation: Blood Libel in an American Town (2019), a chilling investigation of a remarkable incident of antisemitism in the upstate town of Massena, New York in 1928. After a 4-year-old girl, Barbara Griffiths, vanished in the woods, townspeople and police accused local Jews of committing “ritual murder,” a popular slander against the Jews of Europe during the Middle Ages. A featured public event of the University at Albany History Department’s annual Researching New York Conference. Cosponsored by the New York State Museum, Archives Partnership Trust, and the New York State Writers Institute.

Friday 11/22.  7 PM Page Hall, Downtown CampusDriving While Black with Ric Burns and Gretchen Sullivan Sorin. Film screening and discussion. This is an advance screening of Driving While Black,  a feature-length documentary film slated for broadcast on PBS in 2020. From Steeplechase Films:  “The film explores the role of the automobile in the lives of African Americans in the early twentieth century, chronicling a crucial and transformative period in American racial, cultural, and social history. Based on over a decade of research by acclaimed African American historian Dr. Gretchen Sorin, the film draws on a rich archive of material from the period – including photographs, advertisements, road signs, maps, letters, and legal records – along with riveting oral histories and on-camera insights of scholars, writers, musicians, artists, religious leaders and ordinary American travelers. The film will be structured by the emergence, flourishing and eventual obsolescence of a new genre of travel literature aimed at facilitating black automobile travel during the period; including The Negro Motorist Green Book – “the bible of black travel during Jim Crow” – published by a Harlem-based businessman named Victor H. Green, and his wife, Alma.”

Saturday 11/23.  1 PM NYS Woodstock in History and MemoryA panel discussion looking at some of the lesser known history of Woodstock and how it is remembered today by those who were there. With Gerald Zahavi, UAlbany History Professor and 1969 Festival attendee; Julia Fell, Assistant Curator, the Museum at Bethel Woods; Mark Berger, 1969 Festival attendee and author of the book Something’s Happening Here: A Sixties Odyssey from Brooklyn to Woodstock; and Julie Lomoe, creator of some of the original artwork associated with the festival, and 1969 Festival attendee.

The conference is sponsored by the University at Albany Department of History & History Graduate Student Assn., University at Albany M.E. Grenander Special Collections & Archives, and the New York State Archives Partnership Trust with additional support from New York State Museum, Humanities NY, and the University at Albany College of Arts & Sciences, Office for Research, and University Auxiliary Services. Additional support for featured public events from the New York State Writers Institute.

For further information, questions or comments, please contact us at