Call for Papers: The Influence of American Freemasonry and Fraternalism on 20th Century Politics, Society and Culture, 3 October 2020

University College Roosevelt (UCR) will host a multidisciplenary conference on the United States as a "fraternal society."

At the start of the 20th century, the USA still lived in what some have qualified as the “golden age of fraternity”. Indeed, joining fraternal societies such as the Freemasons, the Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and many hundreds like them was an essential feature of social and cultural life in the country. Freemasonry and other similar orders have always proclaimed an apolitical stance, yet their political influence cannot be dismissed. This is not a concession to conspiracy: America was not secretively run by the lodges. But that does not imply that fraternal societies could not have more modest political objectives or that politicians did not try to mobilize support within their ranks. Even within apolitical societies, men running for public office did not hesitate to approach their brethren to obtain their votes. Was this still the case in 20th-century America? Did fraternal societies intervene in the electoral process? What fields of decision making were prone to see fraternal societies use lobbying tactics to foster their interests or values? How much were sectional, religious, ethnical, gender and racial divisions relevant to the issue? 

University College Roosevelt (UCR) will host an international and interdisciplinary conference to explore these matters. The conference will focus on the political influence of fraternal societies and the wider social and cultural significance of this.  The conference will also include an undergraduate research session, where students from UCR and other liberal arts colleges can present their undergraduate research theses.

Interested participants should send an abstract (250-500 words) to the local organizer of the conference, by e-mail: b.mosselmans@ucr.nl. The deadline for submitting the abstract is 1 November 2018.  Participants will be informed before 1 February 2019 whether their proposal was accepted.  The final paper must be submitted before 1 February 2020.  A discussant will be assigned to each paper.  At the conference, the author of the paper should present a summary in 20 minutes.  Then the discussant will have 5 minutes to provide comments, and another 5 minutes will be reserved for questions from the audience.  Selected papers will be peer-reviewed and published in a special issue of Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism.