Programs > Academic Programs

Conference on the War of 1812

Saturday, October 13, 2012
8 a.m. - 3 p.m.



8:00-9:00 - Registration and Coffee

9:00-9:15 - Plenary Session with Donald C. Carleton, Jr.

9:15-10:15 - Plenary Session with William Fowler

10:15-10:45 - Break

10:45-12:15 - Concurrent Breakout Sessions

12:15-1:00 - Lunch

1:00-2:30 - Concurrent Breakout Sessions

2:30-3:00 - Reception and performance by David Hildebrand

**A small exhibition of American Antiquarian Society artifacts relating to the War of 1812 will be on display in Reading Room throughout the day.


-Session Descriptions and Presenter Biographies-
Note: Concurrent session order is subject to change.



Concurrent Session A: The War at Sea

Presenters 1: Lauren McCormack and Rebecca Crawford of the USS Constitution Museum, "Life at Sea during the War of 1812: A Research and Programmatic Approach"

During the War of 1812, USS Constitution's diverse crew, separated from family and friends, lived disciplined lives in a shipboard world at war, threatened by nature and man. What they did together changed the nation, changed them as individuals, and contributed to Americans. sense of national identity. For over a decade, researchers from the USS Constitution Museum have studied the individuals who served on board Constitution during the War of 1812. Using the research as a jumping off point, the museum completely updated its educational programming in 2011. Our interactive, hands-on programs and tours for students (Grades PreK - 12th) bring to life the diverse crew on board USS Constitution and encourage students to make personal connections with history. Members of the USS Constitution Museum's Museum Learning team will discuss their research goals, as well as how the results were used to develop highly successful school programs.

Presenter 2: Capt. Michael Rutstein of the Privateer Fame, "The American Privateering Campaign as Waged by Salem"

Capt. Rustein will talk about the history behind his book, The Privateering Stroke. It is the most comprehensive look at American privateering in 35 years. Highly readable and full of thrilling sea-stories, it is also the first book to examine the overall impact of Salem's privateering campaign and the profits and losses of individual privateers, ventures, and investors. Salem, like the nation as a whole, was deeply divided over politics and the war. It was home to both Republicans and Federalists, privateers and smugglers. Salem commissioned 43 cruisers, from great ships owned by merchant princes to open boats manned by unemployed sailors. Her privateers prowled the seas from Norway to Brazil . and also patrolled the harbors of Massachusetts and Maine, searching out smugglers. Here are tales of heroism and cowardice, generosity and greed, astonishing luck and deep personal tragedy.

Lauren McCormack is the Bicentennial Programs Coordinator at the USS Constitution Museum. She holds a M.A. in American History from Brandeis University and a M.A. in American & New England Studies from Boston University. Lauren has worn many hats at the USS Constitution Museum, including Research Coordinator, Scholar in Residence, and Interpreter. Other museum experience includes Assistant Director of Education and Coordinator of Program Development at Old Sturbridge Village and Executive Director of the Howard County Historical Society in Maryland.

Rebecca Crawford is the Manager of Academic and Family Programs at the USS Constitution Museum. She holds a M.A. in Museum Education from the Rhode Island School of Design. Rebecca has been designing creative experiences for students and families of all ages for ten years. She served as Teaching Fellow and Campus Director for Citizen Schools prior to receiving her M.A. in Museum Education. She has been at the USS Constitution Museum for five years and was responsible for creating all new school programs for the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.

Captain Michael Rutstein is the owner & operator of Fame, a full-scale representation of the first American privateer to send in a prize during the War of 1812. He is also the author of The Privateering Stroke, the most comprehensive look at American privateering in 35 years. The schooner sails May-October out of Salem. For more information on the schooner, visit


Concurrent Session B: Ever Since: the War of 1812 in Canadian Popular Culture

Presenter: Andrew Holman, Bridgewater State

It is a truism that the legacy of the War of 1812 has always meant more to Canadians than it has to their American cousins, but exactly what has it meant and how have those meanings been expressed in the years since the end of the war in 1814? This session will examine those questions, looking at the war in popular memory in poetry, prose and song; statuary, commemorations and reenactments; and in heroes (Isaac Brock, Laura Secord, Charles de Salaberry) and heroization. The session will conclude with a section (including video clips and newspaper documents) that looks at the ambivalence and difficulty that Canadians and the current Canadian government have experienced in trying to "co-celebrate" the war's bicentennial with their one-time American foes (now their best friends).

Dr. Andrew C. Holman is a professor of North American history and the Director of the Canadian Studies Program at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, where he has been teaching since 1996. A native of St Catharines, Ontario, a city located in War of 1812 borderlands, his upbringing was marked by visits to Fort George, Queenston Heights, Lundy's Lane and Fort Erie and the lore of Isaac Brock and Laura Secord. The author of three books and several articles and reviews of scholarly history, his current research examines the War of 1812 in juvenile series fiction in the years 1890-1939.


Concurrent Session C: Visual Culture in the War of 1812

Presenters: Allison Stagg and AAS Staff

The War of 1812 prompted many to engrave satirical renderings of battles and important figures prominent during the War. Popular caricaturists such as William Charles took advantage of the War to sell subscriptions of new visual satires, while the respected Connecticut engraver Amos Doolittle published caricatures during this period, in an attempt to balance out the imagery from Charles. The period marked a burst in American caricature activity, not seen previously. With newspapers advertising these prints for sale and publishing long descriptions of them, these images had a wide influence. This hands-on session will give participants an opportunity to work directly with AAS materials. It will consider caricature prints by Charles and Doolittle in the AAS graphic arts collection alongside newspaper advertisements and notices, and will focus on their impact on New England and the mid-Atlantic states. It will also discuss strategies for approaching visual analysis with your students by examining images from different aspects of the war.

Allison StaggAllison Stagg received her PhD in 2011 in Art History from University College London. She is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she is revising her dissertation on caricatures published in America between 1780 and 1830 for publication. She has held fellowships at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the American Antiquarian Society, the New-York Public Library, and the New-York Historical Society, amongst others. In addition, she has worked at numerous museums, including, the British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Most recently, she has been a speaker for the New York State Council for the Humanities, presenting lectures on caricatures published during the War of 1812.


Concurrent Session D: Music and the War of 1812

Presenter: David Hildebrand

The War of 1812 spawned a huge variety of songs in America. From the early stirrings of party politics under President Adams, the traumatic effect of Jefferson's Embargo in 1807, through the triumph at Fort McHenry and the last battle in New Orleans, Americans took pen to paper to tear at political opponents, to dramatize the great sea battles between huge frigates in full sail and to laud battle heroes like Hull and Perry. In addition, songs of ridicule, sentimental ballads of love and separation and songs encouraging enlistments were sung at home, on the streets and in theaters. This session uses live musical selections accompanied by relevant images to explore these events and climaxes in the true telling of the birth of the Star-Spangled Banner in September, 1814, dispelling several lingering myths along the way. Visit for more information about Dr. Hildebrand's work.

David HildebrandDr. David Hildebrand has been performing professionally since 1980, mostly in duet with his wife Ginger, focusing on American music of the Colonial era, Federal period, and now especially the War of 1812 period. David holds a B.S. from Dickinson College, an M.A. from George Washington University, and a Ph.D. in Musicology from Catholic University. He presents concerts and educational programs throughout the country, consults in the field, and teaches American music history at the Peabody Conservatory. His book on the history of music in Maryland is to be published soon by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

David is especially active in using music to teach American history at a variety of levels. He presents at scholarly conferences, writes articles and reviews for academic journals, performs for students of all ages, and gives teacher workshops regularly sponsored by the National Gallery of Art and Mount Vernon. He is creating a documentary film, Anthem, together with brother Mark Hildebrand, about the story behind "The Star-Spangled Banner." He produced a one-hour radio special, in conjunction with WWFM, entitled " Broadside to Anthem: Music of the War of 1812." David appeared this summer on the PBS series "History Detectives."

The Hildebrands' music enlivens the soundtracks of public television documentaries like "Rediscovering George Washington," and "Liberty! -- the American Revolution." David and Ginger have released six full-length CD recordings.


Concurrent Session E: Choices Program War of 1812 Curriculum Unit

Presenter: Caitlin Moore

In this break out session, Choices Teaching Fellow, Caitlin Moore will introduce teachers to two short lessons and an 'options role play' about the War of 1812 for use with students in grades 6-12. These high quality lessons are an excellent way to engage students in the study of the War of 1812 in a way that asks them to examine sources as well as evaluate and debate. During this interactive presentation, you will be able to learn new lessons, as well as have the opportunity to discuss techniques to adapt them to the specific learning needs of your students.

An American history major at Bowdoin College, Caitlin Moore taught 7th and 8th grade Social Studies for 6 years at charters schools in Fitchburg and East Boston, and for the last 5 years at Excel Academy Charter School. She has published articles on the impact of rigorous project-based learning in the online edition of ASCD's publication, Educational Leadership, and in The Leader Journal, the publication of the National Social Studies Supervisors Association. In 2011-12 she was a Choices Teaching Fellow, through which she has written and provided training on how to implement Choices materials, especially with middle school students. In the summer of 2012, she created a supporting teachers guide for teaching 21st-Century Skills through preparation for a Model UN conference and wrote the foundation of a three week classroom unit on food security while consulting with the United Nations Association of Greater Boston. She is currently pursuing her masters at Harvard's Instructional Leadership program.

In this break out session, Choices Teaching Fellow, Caitlin Moore will introduce teachers to two short lessons and an 'options role play' about the War of 1812 for use with students in grades 6-12. These high quality lessons are an excellent way to engage students in the study of the War of 1812 in a way that asks them to examine sources as well as evaluate and debate. During this interactive presentation, you will be able to learn new lessons, as well as have the opportunity to discuss techniques to adapt them to the specific learning needs of your students.


Concurrent Session F: The War of 1812 in World History

Chair/Commentator: Christoph Strobel, University of Lowell

Lincoln Paine, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands, "Globalizing the War of 1812: Americans abroad in "Mr. Madison's War"

James A. Diskant, John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, "Teaching About the Aftermath of the War in the Americas, Asia, and Europe"

This presentation will consider the role played by Americans who, cut off from trade with traditional transatlantic and Caribbean partners, cultivated new commercial relationships that opened new areas of interest to the nation's merchants and, in time, policy-makers, as well as ideas for future research on these topics. It will also provide ideas to teach about the shifting balance of power of the British empire in its colonies and at home, the changed role of the United States as an emerging nation, and the effect that these developments had on British subjects and United States citizens through documents and maps. It will provide a lesson plan and hand outs that can be used in the classroom.

Christoph Strobel is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He teaches courses in world, Native American, and African History. He is currently working on a book that situates the Atlantic in a world historical context. He is the author of The Testing Grounds of Modern Empire and co-author, with Alice Nash, of Daily Life of Native Americans from Post-Columbian through Nineteenth Century America. He has also published three books on immigration.

James A. Diskant is a history and government teacher at the John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, Boston. He teaches courses in Integrated United States and World History and AP United States Government and Politics. He is currently working on a book that demonstrates theoretical, practical, and pedagogical ways to create a genuine world history course. He is Chair of the World History Association's Teaching Committee and writes regularly for World History Connected.

Lincoln Paine is a world and maritime historian whose books include Ships of the World: An Historical Encyclopedia, Down East: A Maritime History of Maine, and the forthcoming Beyond the Sea: A Maritime History of the World (2013). He is also a doctoral candidate at Leiden University in the Netherlands whose dissertation focuses on maritime connections in greater Eurasia from the seventh to twelfth centuries.

Concurrent Session G: The Politics of War in the Early Republic, 1791-1821

Presenters: Andrew Fagal, PhD Candidate, Binghamton University

In this breakout session Andrew Fagal will show the effects of war upon politics (and vice versa) during the Early American Republic. This 30 year period saw extensive American military commitments, both on the Frontier as white settlement expanded into the Northwest Territory, and on the Atlantic against France, the Barbary Pirates and, eventually, the British during the War of 1812. Likewise, over the course of this period, there were multiple war scares with the major European powers of Britain, France and Spain. The weak American military that Alexis de Tocqueville described in Democracy in America only came about in 1821 when Congress demobilized the army and navy in response to economic crisis and international peace. Fagal's talk will show how the Federalist and Jeffersonian Republican Parties responded to these various international crises and how war had a transformative effect upon the political sphere of the early republic.

Andrew Fagal is currently a PhD Candidate in American History at Binghamton University (State University of New York), and a Fellow at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies in Philadelphia, PA. His research focuses on the problem of Jefferson and the State. Fagal's dissertation project - "The Political Economy of War in the Early Republic, 1775-1821" - examines how a country obsessed with the dangers of a permanent military establishment creates an effective military force that can protect their own interests. Fagal argues that the concept of "political economy" can show how it was not paradoxical, or hypocritical, for Jeffersonian Republicans to establish an autonomous and centralized military-bureaucracy with the express purpose of fostering domestic manufacturing, but rather that these outcomes were part of their long-standing vision for the state which dated back to the American Revolution.


All programs take place at the American Antiquarian Society, 185 Salisbury Street, Worcester, Massachusetts.



Friday Night at 7:00
Alan Taylor Keynote Speaker

Alan Taylor A special keynote address will be delivered by the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Alan Taylor, author of The Civil War of 1812. This will take place the previous evening, Friday, October 12, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. This program is free and open to the public. A special NEHTA reception will follow the lecture.