Bertoti Conference

The Brian Bertoti Innovative Perspectives in History Graduate Research Conference

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.

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25th Conference Anniversary Roundtable Discussion, March 2022

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 25th Anniversary Conference:  March 18-19, 2022

 On March 18-19, 2022, we will host the Bertoti Conference in-person and via Zoom. Our conference is an opportunity for graduates and advanced undergraduates to share research projects in a supportive, professional environment and a chance to network with future colleagues. Our conference values interdisciplinary approaches to the past, and we invite proposals from historians and students in related disciplines whose work represents “innovative perspectives in history.” Presentations on any aspect of history, time period, or world region are welcome.

2022 Conference schedule of events To be announced

Conference Speakers

Dr. Nimisha Barton will deliver the keynote address on Friday, March 18. She is a Visiting Scholar at UC Irvine and an Equity Consultant in education who develops and implements anti-racist programs, trainings, and curricula for students, faculty, and administrators. She focuses on gender, sexuality, and immigration studies in 20th century France as well as diversity, equality, and inclusion programs in institutions of higher education. Dr. Barton’s work has been published widely in journals such as French Politics, Culture and Society, and Journal of Women’s History. Her book Reproductive Citizens: Gender, Immigration, and the State in France, 1880-1945, appeared in 2020 with Cornell University Press. It recently won Honorable Mention for the Society of French Historical Studies’ David H. Pinkney Prize, which recognizes the most distinguished book in French history.

Dr. Tony Perry will deliver our luncheon address on Saturday, March 19. He is currently a curator of environmental history under the division of Work and Industry at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian. He was previously an assistant professor and scholar of slavery studies, African American Environmental History, and material culture at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. He was a predoctoral fellow in the Carter G. Woodson Institute, where he published an article focusing on his work on the environment history in Maryland titled, “In Bondage when Cold was King: The Frigid Terrain of Slavery in Antebellum Maryland,” in Slavery & Abolition. He is currently working on his first book based on this research.

Brian Bertoti Award

Each year, HGSA acknowledges the best paper presented at the conference with the Brian Bertoti Award for Outstanding Historical Scholarship. To be considered for this award, participants must also submit their paper at presentation length (3,000 words max. excluding bibliography and notes) to the Panels Committee by March 1, 2022. The paper selected for the best paper prize will represent exemplary scholarship, innovative methods, and unique perspectives in the historical discipline. Only graduate students are eligible for this award.

Publication in the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review

Outstanding undergraduate papers will also be considered for publication in the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review (VTUHR). If you would like your submission to be considered for publication, please send the paper to the Panels Committee by January 21, 2022.

For more information on VTUHR, please visit the website: https://vtuhr.org.