American Studies Summer Institute

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Photo courtesy of Tom Fitzsimmons/Kennedy Library Foundation

A Polarized Society: Understanding America’s Fault Lines and Their Historical Roots

An annual program co-sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Boston and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Join us this summer for an intensive two-week program of thought-provoking lectures and discussions led by distinguished scholars and guests from a variety of disciplines and with diverse perspectives. The American Studies Summer Institute, an annual program co-sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Boston American Studies Department and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, offers educators and graduate students the opportunity to explore in depth a topic drawn from American history, politics, culture, or social policy.

This year’s program, held at the Kennedy Library, will focus on the origins and meanings of contemporary rifts in the U.S. polity. For more than two centuries, Americans have sought to reconcile the civic ideal of E Pluribus Unum – out of many, one – with challenges to national unity posed by an increasingly pluralistic society.

The institute will ask the following questions:

  • What explains contemporary divisions in the body politic?
  • How has a nation dedicated to building civic cohesion become so fragmented and tendentious?
  • How should we make sense of and mend the fences that divide us?
  • What can the past teach us about these matters?

These questions will serve as the guiding framework for consideration of issues such as congressional deadlock, money in political campaigns, immigration reform/restriction, refugee crises, terrorism, religious intolerance, racism and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, American military interventionism abroad, “family values” debates, gun control, and the growing disparities between the rich and poor.

Graduate Credit or PDP

Participants may earn three graduate credits in American Studies. Part of the American Studies master’s program, it fulfills professional licensure requirements in history and humanities. For those who wish to receive graduate credit, the fee for this grant-supported course is $460. For teachers taking the course for PDPs only, a non-credit option is available for $150.

Schedule and Fee

Program runs: July 11-22, 2016
Days: Monday - Friday
Time: 8:30 am-12:30 pm
Credit Fee: $460
Non-credit Fee: $150

To Apply

Please download the brochure/application form, fill out application section and return as soon as possible, but no later than May 27, 2016.

«Brochure/Application Form »

In the event that registration requests exceed the available capacity, preference will be given to graduate students enrolled in the UMass Boston American Studies Program and to middle school and high school teachers.

For More Information

Kennedy Library Department of Education and Public Programs

Nina Tisch
Education Specialist
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Columbia Point
Boston, MA 02125