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Symposium on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism - Call for Papers


Symposium on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism

National Heritage Museum, Lexington, Massachusetts


Call for Papers


New Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism – Friday, April 9, 2010


The National Heritage Museum announces a call for papers for its first biannual symposium, “New Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism,” to be held on Friday, April 9, 2010 at the Museum in Lexington, Massachusetts.


The National Heritage Museum is an American history museum founded and supported by Scottish Rite Freemasons in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States.  As the repository of the largest collection of American Masonic and fraternal objects, books and manuscripts in the United States, the Museum aims to foster new research on American fraternalism and to encourage the use of its scholarly resources.


The symposium seeks to present the newest research on American fraternal groups from the past through the present day.  By 1900, over 250 American fraternal groups existed, numbering six million members.  The study of their activities and influence in the United States, past and present, offers the potential for new interpretations of American society and culture.  Diverse perspectives on this topic are sought; proposals are invited from a broad range of research areas, including history, material and visual culture, anthropology, sociology, literary studies and criticism, gender studies, political science, African American studies, art history, economics, or any combination of disciplines.  Perspectives on and interpretations of all time periods are welcome.


Possible topics include:


  • Comparative studies of American fraternalism and European or other international forms of fraternalism

  • Prince Hall Freemasonry and other African-American fraternal groups

  • Ethnically- and religiously-based fraternal groups

  • Fraternal groups for women or teens

  • Role of fraternal groups in social movements

  • The material culture of Freemasonry and fraternalism

  • Anti-Masonry and anti-fraternal movements, issues and groups

  • Fraternal symbolism and ritual

  • The expression of Freemasonry and fraternalism through art, music, and literature

  • Approaches to Freemasonry – from disciplinary, interdisciplinary, or transnational perspectives; the historiography and methodology of the study of American fraternalism


Proposals should be for 30 minute research papers; the day’s schedule will allow for audience questions and feedback.


Proposal Format: Submit an abstract of 400 words or less with a resume or c.v. that is no more than two pages.  Be sure to include full contact information (name, address, email, phone, affiliation).


Send proposals to: Aimee E. Newell, Director of Collections, National Heritage Museum, by email at or by mail to 33 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA  02421. 


Deadline for proposals to be received is August 15, 2009.  For more information about the National Heritage Museum, see  For questions, contact Aimee E. Newell as above, or call 781-457-4144.


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