On Friday, April 9, 2010, the National Heritage Museum will host an academic symposium, “New Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism,” presenting the newest research on American fraternal groups from the past to the present day. As the repository of one of the largest collections of American Masonic and fraternal objects, books and manuscripts in the United States, the Museum is proud to foster innovative research on American fraternalism.
Our keynote speaker will be Jessica Harland-Jacobs, Associate Professor of History at the University of Florida and author of Builders of Empire: Freemasonry and British Imperialism, 1717-1927. Ms. Harland-Jacobs has chosen to speak on “Worlds of Brothers”, emphasizing how many fraternities, and Freemasonry especially, are conceived and operate as global institutions. While fraternalism has, by and large, been investigated from the perspective of the nation state, the talk will demonstrate how framing the history of modern-era Freemasonry on a world scale pays great dividends for our understanding of the phenomenon. In fact, as the speaker will explain, taking a global perspective can benefit contemporary American brotherhoods.
In addition to the keynote speaker, six scholars have been selected to present their research at the symposium. Look for an upcoming blog post that will describe the full program. Mark your calendars for a day of new discoveries and unexpected conclusions about how we interpret the history of American society and culture.
Photo courtesy of Jessica Harland-Jacobs.