Academics

American Studies Summer Institute

Nature and Nation Transformed: Rethinking the Role of the Environment in America’s Past and Present

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. The American Studies Summer Institute 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 ask the questions:

  • How have the environment, geography, and climate shaped American lives and thought and, in turn, how have Americans transformed the physical world around them?
  • How does investigating the interdependence of nature and human activity and its effects deepen our understanding of American history?

We will consider how the natural landscape and climate have contributed to America’s growth and contraction, as seen by westward expansion and the dust bowls of the Great Depression. We will also explore the environmental effects of the nation’s harvesting of natural resources and construction of the built world, as seen during urbanization and industrialization. Additionally, we will discuss the conflicting ideas about man’s relationship to nature that have animated American arts and literature, philosophy, and the sciences.

Drawing upon experts from a variety of disciplines and with diverse perspectives, the Institute will be directed by Patricia A. Reeve, Associate Professor of History at Suffolk University, and Education Specialist Nina Tisch at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Graduate Credit or PDP

Participants may earn three graduate credits in American Studies. For those who wish to receive graduate credit, the fee for this grant-supported course is $450. For teachers taking the course for PDPs only, a non-credit option is available for $150.


Schedule and Fee

Program runs: July 6-17, 2015
Days: Monday - Friday
Time: 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Credit Fee: $400
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 29, 2015.

«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
617.514.1581

Nina Tisch
Education Specialist
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Columbia Point
Boston, MA 02125
nina.tisch@nara.gov