2018 Program & Featured Events

SCHEDULE UPDATE FOR FRIDAY NOVEMBER 16.  Due to the snowstorm, registration will open in the Science Library at 9:30 rather than 8:45 as originally scheduled.  Session I will now run from 9:45-11 AM  and Session II from 11:15-12:30.  Lunch will now begin at 12:30.  To allow for the weather delay, each session is somewhat shortened rather than cancelling any one session in its entirety.  Please adjust your presentations accordingly.  Any further updates will be posted here if needed.

The full  2018  Researching New York Conference  program is  available  to download at  RSNY2018. The program includes more than 25 panels, workshops, and featured public events..

Just added–Working With Data for Small Institutions, Public Historians, and Independent Researchers, Maeve Kane, University at Albany, SUNY–  a free workshop with conference registration (advance sign up requested). No experience necessary.  See program for more details and instructions.

Friday November 16 Lunch Keynote (requires conference registration) .    The Al Smith Decade in New York History: the Making of the Revolution of ’28.  Robert Chiles, University of Maryland.  Historically the Al Smith decade is what made the Smith campaign of 1928 particularly meaningful in a longer context.  The  story and the process:  a decade of researching Al Smith’s New York history and the making of the The Revolution of ‘28.

The Revolution of ‘28: Al Smith, American Progressivism, and the Coming of the New Deal, was published in 2018 by Cornell University Press. Robert Chiles earned his PhD in History from the University of Maryland. His articles have appeared in Environmental History, The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, New York History, and North Dakota History.  He was awarded the New York State Library Cunningham Research Residency and  the New York State Archives Partnership Trust Hackman Residency, for his work on Governor Alfred E. Smith.  Dr. Chiles has taught at Loyola University Maryland and Goucher College, and is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Maryland.

Featured Events:  These Researching New York public events, noted below,  represent our commitment to public history and community engagement.  They are  free and open to the public as well as conference attendees. We invite everyone to attend!.

Thursday, November 15  7 PM , New York State Museum.  POSSESSING HARRIET   By Kyle Bass

A staged reading of POSSESSING HARRIET, a new play by Kyle Bass, commissioned by the Onondaga Historical Association and directed by Tazewell Thompson.  (For more information on the history, http://www.urbancny.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Fair-Fugitive-HH-article-1.pdf.)   POSSESSING HARRIET will have its world premiere production at Syracuse Stage, October 17-November 4, 2018, https://syracusestage.org/showinfo.php?id=83)

In 1839, Harriet Powell, a young, mixed-race, enslaved woman slips away from a hotel in Syracuse, New York, and escapes from the Southerner who owns her. With the aid of a mysterious free black man named Thomas Leonard, Harriet finds temporary safe harbor in an attic room at the home of impassioned abolitionist Gerrit Smith. With the slave catchers in pursuit, Harriet spends the hours before her nighttime departure on the dangerous journey to Canada in the company of Smith’s young cousin Elizabeth Cady, an outspoken advocate for women’s equality. Confronted with new and difficult ideas about race, identity, and equality, and with confusion, fear, and desperation multiplying, Harriet is forced to the precipice of radical self-re-imagination and a reckoning with the heartrending cost of freedom. 

This reading of POSSESSING HARRIET is a featured public event of the annual Researching NY Conference, cosponsored by the UAlbany History Department and the NYS Archives Partnership Trust with support from Humanities NY. Additional support for POSSESSING HARRIET from the NYS Museum, NYS Writers Institute, the UAlbany Graduate Program in Public History, the Department of Africana Studies, and the Department of Music and Theatre.

Friday, November 16, 4:00 PM   University at Albany, Standish Room, Science Library.   Writing History: How to Bring the Past to the Present.   Michael Doyle, Geoff Wisner and Robert W. Snyder

In a moderated conversation, two authors explore how the write history that is soundly researched, compellingly written, and aimed at the general reader. Geoff Wisner, essayist and book reviewer, will discuss his current project: two volumes selected from the diaries of George Templeton Strong. Michael Doyle, a Washington, DC reporter since 1988, will discuss his most recent book: The Ministers’ War: John W. Mears, the Oneida Community and the Crusade for Public Morality. In our conversation and an open discussion to follow, attendees can explore everything from finding a good topic to uncovering sources to shaping a narrative. Moderator: Robert W. Snyder, professor of Journalism and American Studies at Rutgers, and author of Crossing Broadway: Washington Heights and the Promise of New York.

Michael Doyle is a reporter for E&E News in Washington, D.C. and a professorial lecturer in journalism at The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.  The author of The Ministers’ War, Radical Chapters and The Forestport Breaks, all published by Syracuse University Press, he has  contributed as a freelancer to myriad magazines. A graduate of Oberlin College, he earned master’s degrees from Yale Law School and The Johns Hopkins University.

Geoff Wisner, based in New York City, is the editor of Thoreau’s Animals (Yale University Press, 2017), Thoreau’s Wildflowers (Yale University Press, 2016), and African Lives: An Anthology of Memoirs and Autobiographies (Lynne Rienner, 2013). He is the author of A Basket of Leaves: 99 Books That Capture the Spirit of Africa (Jacana Media, 2007). His essays and book reviews have appeared in publications including Asymptote, the Christian Science MonitorThe Quarterly ConversationTransition, and the Wall Street Journal.

Robert W. Snyder, professor of Journalism and American Studies at Rutgers-University-Newark, is the author of Crossing Broadway: Washington Heights and the Promise of New York City (Cornell, 2015) and co-author of a revised edition of All the Nations Under Heaven: Immigrants, Migrants and the Making of New York, to be published by Columbia University Press in 2019. He is a fellow of the New York Academy of History and was a Fulbright lecturer in South Korea in 2016. Formerly the editor of Media Studies Journal, he has written for the New York Times, the Daily News, The Conversation, and the History News Network.

Saturday November 17,  1 PM New York State Museum.  Film Screening & Discussion.  Harnessing Nature: Building the Great Sacandaga.   Lauren Roberts, Saratoga County Historian 

When the need for water regulation of the upper Hudson River became obvious, building a reservoir in the Sacandaga Valley was an unpopular solution. This film chronicles the incredible journey of this undertaking including first-hand accounts of valley residents.