RCUCH Clusters: Each of the first four clusters began as a symposium series or conference theme. During the first year and a half of the Center’s existence it became clear that these are defining themes for RCUCH activities. The final cluster was initiated in spring 2008, and draws in Boston’s urban identity as participating in the development of the Atlantic world.
- Urban Spaces: This cluster is perhaps the most developed one because the topic of urban space is integral to urban planning, urban experience, and urban identity. The most important event held for this cluster was the “Built Spaces: Museums and Their Publics,” in which five Boston-area museum directors or assistant directors gave talks on the remodeling or additions to their institutions. A noted scholar on museum space gave a response. Other events in this cluster have focused on archeological investigations into communities that have been left out of standard histories; social activism projects in urban communities; walking tours of cities; the intentional erasure of communities from urban sites.
- Urban Documentation: This cluster is the first to develop and has the broadest appeal to UMB faculty whose research and/or teaching involves the documentation or mapping of cities in some way, whether visual, through archival records, statistical data, etc. A working group has begun meeting to create a forward direction for planning future events in a more carefully shaped manner. This cluster was inaugurated with the “Documenting Cities Hypermedia Conference” in April 2007, also the first RCUCH conference.
- Urban Ecohistory: As a counter to the Urban Spaces cluster, this cluster focuses on the green spaces in and around cities. It began with a symposium on garden cemetaries and urban parks, "Urban Green Spaces, Buried Memory," with talks by the president of Mt. Auburn Cemetery, a scholar of the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, a representative from the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, a scholar of a national park near Rome, and a team that created a GIS map of important burials in the Cambridge Cemetery. This cluster also treats environmental writing, urban gardening, and similar considerations of the incorporation of nature into the urban fabric.
- Urban Populations and Mobility: This cluster allows the RCUCH to develop events focused on discrete urban populations, interactions and intersections between urban populations, the ways in which populations move, shift and redistribute, and how individual groups of people accommodate urban experience to their needs. This cluster has been the most useful for examining East-West exchanges such as the "Gender, Trade, and Western Interventions in China" symposium held in November 2008.
- Atlantic Cities: This cluster comes out of the Atlantic Studies Research Initiative that was begun in Spring 2009 and at the end of the semester housed in RCUCH. Tentatively, the cluster will focus on the networks, urban innovations, and cultural exchange that characterized the Atlantic World from the early modern period through to the 20 th century. This year’s five Atlantic Studies seminars will determine the shape of this cluster and a long-range plan.