Maine Statehood and Bicentennial Conference


Conference Dates: Thursday, May 30 to Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Maine State Bicentennial Committee at the University of Maine seeks proposals for individual papers, complete panels, as well as other formats (e.g., workshops, poster sessions, websites, films, performances) that explore the Maine statehood process and/or the commemoration of statehood.

The conference will primarily be held on the University of Maine campus in Orono with a field trip to the State House Capitol Complex in Augusta. This scholarly conference is open to the public for a nominal fee, and we seek participation from local cultural organizations as well as pre-college Maine teachers and students.

A majority of voters in the District of Maine cast votes to separate from Massachusetts in July 1819, and Maine became the twenty-third state in the U.S. in March 1820. The conference organizers seek to take advantage of how the bicentennial moment can encourage public reflection and a deeper understanding of the meaning of the relatively distant past for the present and future of the state of Maine and its people.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Alan Taylor (Thomas Jefferson Foundation Chair, University of Virginia)
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (300th Anniversary University Professor, Harvard University)

Anticipated Conference Themes

Without precluding other approaches to the statehood process and bicentennial commemoration, we anticipate attention to: Separation Votes, Partisan Politics, and the “Two Maines,” ca. 1785-1820s; the Maine-Missouri Crisis and National Racial Politics; Wabanaki Sovereignty, Statehood, and the Maine Constitution (Native American Programs, UMaine, organizer); Mapping and Statehood (Osher Map Library, Univ. of Southern Maine, organizer); Acadian and Cross-Border Ambiguities in the St. John Valley (Acadian Archives acadiennes, UMaine Fort Kent and Franco American Programs, UMaine, organizers); Maine Land Use, Settlement, and Conservation.


Individuals should submit a 500-word proposal and a short CV of the presenter. Proposed panels should provide the same for each presenter along with a 250-word rationale for the panel. Alternate formats should be explained in a 500-word proposal with a short CV for each lead participant and/or organizer. To facilitate discussion and intellectual exchange at the conference, short paper abstracts (5 pp. max.) for accepted conference presentations will be made available to the public and should be submitted no later than May 1, 2019. After the conference our goal is to publish a volume of selected essays related to Maine statehood and the bicentennial.

Submit proposals by email no later than July 15, 2018 to You should receive confirmation of receipt of your proposal within 48 hours.

The conference will pay for two nights lodging in Orono as well as most conference meals. Presenters will need to arrange their own travel to the area. Orono is 20-minutes from Bangor, and we will provide ground transportation to-and-from Bangor airport (BGR) and the Concord Coach Lines bus station in Bangor. Concord Coach provides excellent bus service from Portland and South Station in Boston. Participants will not need access to a private car during the conference.

Additional Resources:

Call for Proposals in PDF format.

Additional Conference Information and Schedule in PDF format.

View Liam Riordan YouTube lecture on ME@200, "What's so Funny 'Bout Commemoration? Past and Present Perspectives on Maine's Bicentennial"