Bertoti Conference

The Brian Bertoti Innovative Perspectives in History Graduate Research Conference

View the Tentative Conference Program Here

Since 1998 HGSA has organized a conference annually for graduates students in history from VT and from other MA and PhD programs.Our conference is an opportunity to share graduate research projects in a supportive, professional environment, and a chance to network with your future colleagues

The conference is named after a former student who sparked interest among his peers to create a venue for public presentation of student research. Brian Bertoti died before planning for the first conference was completed. The conference name acknowledges his interest in studying the past and his commitment to sharing that study with others.

The conference is a major undertaking and all HGSA members play a role – hosting invited keynote speakers; inviting papers and creating conference panels; attending to local arrangements; advertising the events; and soliciting funds to cover conference expenses.


Our 20th Anniversary Conference:  March 17-18, 2017

The 20th Annual Brian Bertoti Innovative Perspectives in History Graduate Conference will be March 17-18, 2017. An emphasis for this year’s conference will be topics surrounding material culture and public history, but we invite proposals on any aspect of history.  View the Call for Papers here.

Join Us

The application deadline has passed, but we welcome alumni, partners, and other interested observers. The attendance fee for observers is $10, which covers refreshments Friday night and lunch Saturday. Please email vthgsa@gmail.com and fill out this form if you are interested in joining us for the conference.

Our 2017 Speakers

Jackson Lears, the Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of History at Rutgers University, will deliver the keynote address Friday evening following the conference welcome reception. Dr. Lears is one of the most strikingly original voices in American cultural and intellectual history. His most recent book, Rebirth of A Nation: the Making of Modern America, 1877-1920 (Harper Perennial, 2009) was called one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The tentative title of Dr. Lears talk is “Beyond Creative Destruction: Animal Spirits and the Emotional History of Capitalism.”


Jeffrey Reznick
, the Chief of the History of Medicine Division at the National Library of Medicine, will open the conference Friday afternoon with a public history talk informed by his years of service in the national nonprofit sector. Dr. Reznick has had an extensive and accomplished career in the intersection of the public humanities and medical history at numerous institutions, including the NLM, the American Occupational Therapy Foundation, and the National Museum of Health and Medicine. Dr. Reznick publishes widely as both academic historian and an expert in the public humanities.

Wendy Woloson, Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University–Camden, will be our Saturday lunch speaker. Dr. Woloson’s research interests include the history of consumer culture, material culture, and underground economies. She is the co-editor of the recently published collection Capitalism by Gaslight: Illuminating the Economy of 19th-Century America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015). Dr. Woloson worked for over a decade as the Curator of Printed Books at the Library Company of Philadelphia and has consulted on numerous digital archives projects. Her lunch presentation, “Talking Crap: What We Can Learn from Cheap Goods,” will explore the surprisingly long history of poorly-made, shoddy, disposable products and what they can tell us about the material, social, and emotional lives of Americans through time.

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