Homemaking: Race, Place, and Ethnicity in the New England Household

Martha McNamara's picture
March 4, 2023
Massachusetts, Massachusetts, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Architecture and Architectural History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Race / Ethnic Studies, African American History / Studies

The 2023 Wellesley/Deerfield Symposium

Homemaking: Race, Place, and Ethnicity in the New England Household

March 4, 2023

Collins Cinema, Wellesley College

This one-day symposium will explore the visual and material cultures of race and ethnicity in New England’s domestic sphere from the 17th to the 20th centuries.  Cultural and racial diversity have long characterized New England’s domestic environments and symposium participants will present research on the varied ways in which the region’s households were shaped by perceptions of, ideas about, and attitudes toward race and ethnicity. 

Free and open to the public; registration required.  The symposium will be hosted in-person in the Collins Cinema at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA and will be live streamed via Zoom Webinar platform. 

To register and to receive a link to the livestream (if needed) please complete the form at:


The symposium is made possible by the generous support of the Barra Foundation.


Saturday, March 4, 2023

Collins Cinema, Wellesley College

9:00   Welcome – Martha McNamara, Dir. New England Arts & Architecture Program, Department of Art, Wellesley College and Barbara Mathews, Public Historian and Director of Academic Programs, Historic Deerfield, Inc.

9:15 Keynote – Marla Miller, Distinguished Professor of History, Department of History, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

               “Race, Place, & Entangled Homemaking: Views from Hadley, Massachusetts”

10:00 Break

10:15 Panel 1: Contested Household Space: 17th & 18th Centuries

Annie Powell, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA

            “The Domestic Geography of Captivity and Dissent: Pequot Survivors in the Massachusetts Bay Antinomian Controversy of 1637”

Caylin Carbonell, Interim Book Review Editor, William and Mary Quarterly, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, VA

“Households of Unfreedom in Colonial New England”

Cornelia Dayton, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of History, University of Connecticut, Storrs

                        “John and Phillis Peters Move to a Middleton Farmstead”

11:30 Panel 2: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Colonial Revival Movement

Lisa Botshon, Professor of English, Humanities Department, University of Maine at Augusta

           “Mid-Century Maine Rustication Narratives and the Making of the White Middle Class”

Alexandra Peck, Audain Chair in Historical Indigenous Art & Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, Visual Art, & Theory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

                        “Pueblo Pottery at Nonotuck? Smith College’s Female Collectors Bring the American Southwest to New England”

Megan Horn, Curatorial Assistant, The Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI

            “Negotiating Identity and Visualizing Regional Imagination in Harriette Merrifield Forbes’ Photographs of Early New England Houses”

12:45 Lunch Break

Poster Session:  Courtney Garrity, Research Historian, with Catherine Zipf, Eleanor Langham, and Lynn Smith, Bristol Historical & Preservation Society

 “‘Negro Child, est £43’: Revising the History of Enslavement in Bristol, RI”

2:00 Panel 3: Extending the Household, Creating Community

Mary Freeman, Assistant Professor of History, University of Maine, Orono

             “The Abyssinian Meeting House and the Politics of Domestic Space in Nineteenth-Century Portland, Maine”

Psyche Williams-Forson, Professor and Chair, Department of American Studies, University of Maryland, College Park

            “‘When I visit Ma Smith’s Lodging House...’ Black Material Culture, Domestic Performance, and U.S. Citizenship”  

Mia Michael, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, Boston College

            “Defying the Status Quo: Domestic Workers’ Mobilization in Boston, Massachusetts,1960s-1970s”

3:15 Panel 4: Visualizing Home, Constructing Legacies

Mariah Kupfner, Assistant Professor of American Studies & Public Heritage, Penn State Harrisburg

            “‘Silent Companion’: Searching for Phyllis and Finding Enslavement in the New England Domestic Interior”

Jennifer Thorn, Professor, Department of English, Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH

            “‘As if she alone was heir’: The Domestic Spaces of Phebe Ann Jacobs”

Sonia Pacheco, Librarian, Claire T. Carney Library, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

          “When a Calendar Isn’t Just a Calendar: The Varied Role of Calendars in Portuguese American Households in the Early 20th Century”

Contact Info: 

Martha J. McNamara

Director, New England Arts & Architecture Program

Department of Art, Wellesley College

106 Central Street

Wellesley, MA 02481


Contact Email: