Oct. 21, 2016: Annual History and Social Studies Teachers Conference

Please join us at an upcoming professional development event at Eastern Illinois University!  On October 21, 2016 we will have our annual History and Social Studies Teachers conference, and this year we will also offer a concurrent workshop from the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago. Nisan Chavkin did a session at our summer PD, and he will be reimbursing registration costs for teachers who attend his strand of workshops. For more information, please visit the conference webpage here.


To read about the opportunity for practicing secondary teachers to get your registration fee reimbursed and attend a special “Empowered Civics” strand of workshops, please click here, and click here to register for the conference.

Questions? Contact Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz, Associate Professor of History & Social Science Teaching Coordinator, blaughlinschul@eiu.edu, 217-581-6362.

We hope to see you in October!


History Professor Presents at Symposium

Bailey Young, Distinguished Professor of History, was one of five international scholars invited to present a paper on October 10, 2015 a Memorial Symposium for Fredric L. Cheyette: “Land, Law and Lordship in Medieval France” held at Amherst College (Amherst, MA), co-sponsored by the Trustees of Amherst College, the History Department, and the Harvard Interdisciplinary Committee on Medieval Studies.

symposium amherst

Professor Young’s presentation, entitled “Fred and Archaeology” was focused on Fred’s last scholarly project, an investigation of the possible role of climate change into the fall of the Roman Empire and the development of a distinctive landscape and economy in Medieval Europe that foreshadowed the emergence of the modern world.  One of America’s most distinguished medieval scholars, a Fellow of the Medieval Academy and Professor of History at Amherst 1963-2005, Cheyette had invited Young’s collaboration in assessing recent archaeological evidence in France over the past decade and, when too weakened by cancer to continue, turned over to him his notes with an invitation to carry it on.

The Medieval Academy of America has accepted Dr. Young’s proposal to include a session featuring three prominent French medieval archaeologists presenting recent developments in environmental archaeology at the its upcoming Annual Meeting to be held in Boston in February, 2016.

2014-2015 Historical Administration Class Awarded at Illinois Association of Museums Conference

From the desk of M.J. Rymsza-Pawlowska

On Friday, September 25th, at the annual conference of the Illinois Association of Museums (IAM) held this year in Springfield, Illinois, the 2014-2015 Historical Administration class received an Award of Merit for their permanent exhibit: Mission, Method, Memory: The Lab School at EIU, which was created during my two-semester course, History Exhibits I and II. Students worked with Dean Diane Jackman and Assistant to the Dean Mary Bower from the College of Education and Professional Studies to create an exhibit about the history of the Laboratory School at Eastern.

This exhibition is the inaugural exhibit of the Lab School Museum and is located in Buzzard Hall, home to the Buzzard Lab School. Mission, Method, Memory explores the long and vibrant history of teacher training at Eastern. Between 1899 and 1957, Eastern student-teachers participated in an on-campus “Model School,” where local students attended first grade through high school. In 1958, Eastern President Robert Guy Buzzard inaugurated the Buzzard Laboratory School, which remained open until 1974.

Historical Administration students researched the history of the Lab School, collected artifacts and memories from Lab School alumni living in the Charleston area and beyond, and designed, built, and programmed the exhibit, which opened in April of 2015.

H.A. students on opening night.

H.A. students on opening night.

Dean Jackman and Ms. Bower traveled to the awards dinner, and were on hand as H.A. student Brian Failing accepted the award on behalf of the whole class.

Dean Diane Jackman, H.A. student Brian Failing, and Assistant to the Dean Mary Bower at the Illinois Association of Museums ceremony.

Dean Diane Jackman, H.A. student Brian Failing, and Assistant to the Dean Mary Bower at the Illinois Association of Museums ceremony.

The exhibit is located at Buzzard Hall and is open daily. You can also check out the website here.

History Faculty Present at EurHo Rural History Conference in Girona, Spain

From the desk of Bailey Young:
Among the roughly 450 participants in the bi-annual EurHo Rural History conference held in Girona, Spain last week (September 7-10, 2015) were not one but two dauntless members of the EIU History Department, Drs. Deb Reid and B.K. Young, taking the scholarly partnership they launched with a successful Presidential Fund for Research and Creative Activity (PFRCA) in 2014 to a new level.  Though the Eur (for Europe) in EurHo accurately reflects its origins and continuing leadership, the scope of this prestigious meeting of  scholars of rural studies is truly global, with scholars attending from all over, and case studies from every continent featured.  

Dr. Deb Reid and Dr. B.K. Young at the EurHo Rural History conference held in Girona, Spain.

Dr. Deb Reid and Dr. B.K. Young at the EurHo Rural History conference held in Girona, Spain.

Dr. Reid was particularly active at this, her third EurHo conference:  presenting a paper on Race in a terrific panel devoted to the American South and West in the 19th and 20th centuries, and serving as one of three museum experts (the other two were from Spain and England) invited to offer, as the very last event of the conference, a keynote on the problems and potential of museums in preserving the rural heritage in the 21st century.  It was also at her initiative that an entire panel devoted the Walhain project was organized, with Dr. Young sketching the preliminary conclusions to be drawn from the first 15 years of excavation, while she drew attention to their implications for the long-term study of rural landscape, economy and social history in the heart of northwest Europe’s fertile farmlands.  

Finally Adam and Annie Tock Morrissette, both recent EIU MA  here making their international scholarly debut, presented a paper discussing the exciting new perspectives GIS can bring to this study.  An unexpected bonus: our visit to this very picturesque medieval Catalan town (narrow winding cobblestone streets, soaring Gothic cathedral, the old town huddled within lofty ramparts) coincided with the filming of Game of Thrones, the
absolute favorite of our student excavators at Walhain!

Historical Administration Attends Conference in Louisville

From the desk of Dr. M.J. Rymsza-Pawlowska:

From September 16th to 19th, the Historical Administration M.A. students, accompanied by Debra Reid, Pat Miller, and myself, traveled to the annual meeting of the American Association for State and Local History in Louisville, Kentucky. This conference was an excellent opportunity for students to learn about new developments within the museum and public history fields, meet practitioners, and reconnect with H.A. alumni who were attending and presenting.

Historical Administration on the move

Historical Administration on the move

Highlights of the conference included a keynote by Sam Wineburg, author of Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching The Past (2001), as well as panel presentations from staff at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Ohio History Connection (where Dr. Terry Barnhart worked as curator before coming to Eastern), and the September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York City. We also caught up with Tim Grove, Chief of Education at the National Air and Space Museum, who was the keynote at last year’s Historical Administration Program Association Symposium and whose book, A Grizzly in the Mail and Other Adventures in American History we read and discussed during Orientation.

But it wasn’t all work and no play: H.A. students, faculty and alumni relax at dinner

But it wasn’t all work and no play: H.A. students, faculty and alumni relax at dinner

The H.A.’s were given the opportunity to volunteer at the conference: they monitored sessions, helped with registration, and oversaw a 5K run, among other tasks. Throughout the conference, everyone I met kept telling me how much they enjoyed meeting and talking with the students!

Some volunteers in action

Some volunteers in action

But the H.A.’s distinguished themselves in another way as well: a highlight of the conference was the annual Battledecks improv challenge, in which participants must provide interpretation for a slideshow of random images. Both Brian Failing (HA ’15) and current student Mary Challman threw their hats in the ring. Cheered on by her classmates, Mary won the competition (and several business cards from admirers who offered her internships on the spot!).

Mary Challman with her Battledecks trophy

Mary Challman with her Battledecks trophy

Reacting to the Past

From the desk of Sace Elder:

This June I spent four days playing role-playing games with other professors in New York City. The event was the Reacting to the Past (RTTP) Annual Faculty Institute at Barnard College, where more than 200 faculty members from across the country and abroad gathered to play-test games, discuss pedagogy, and network with others who are using RTTP in their classrooms.


Reacting to the Past is a game-based, role-playing curriculum in which students adopt the personae of specific historical figures and work together to solve specific historical problems. The games ask students to put themselves in their characters’ shoes (sometimes literally, since dress codes are a part of many RTTP games) and engage the ideas that motivated their historical actors while confronting the interests and ideas of others. RTTP creates an entirely student-centered classroom, in which the instructor (or “gamemaster”) observes, quietly advises students, enforces the rules, evaluates student performance, and at times makes critical game-play decisions.

I went to New York having already run two RTTP games over the last couple of years: in my history of human rights class, a game that simulates the 1992 Rwandan crisis and the United Nation’s difficult decision regarding intervention; and a game for the intro to Women’s Studies about the 1993 University of Michigan Affirmative Action cases. Both games are currently in development, written by RTTP colleagues at other institutions. It is truly exciting to see students giving passionate speeches and arguing with each other about ideas they had never even considered before entering the course. The game also gives students the opportunity to use skills they may not have occasion to apply in more traditional classrooms, such as print design, newspaper editing, and extemporaneous public speaking. RTTP is more work for me, but it is well worth it. (For the record, when I prefer to call myself the “game manager,” for what I hope are obvious reasons.)

At the conference, I played the role of a delegate to the National Assembly during the French Revolution. Alas! In this revolution, the Conservatives gained the upper hand and put an end to the revolution before the first Constitution was even approved. In another game, the year was 1993 and I was the captain of the men’s wrestling team that was threatening to cut my and other men’s sports in the interest of complying with Title IX. (My coach and I managed to save wrestling, but not men’s volleyball or swimming. On the other hand, the Board of Trustees of our university was persuaded to increase the funds available for women’s sports.)

This Fall I will put my experience in New York to good use. I have adopted the French Revolution game (“Rousseau, Burke, and the Revolution in France”) in my honors section of HIS 1597G: Human Rights in History. I’m excited to see how the students enjoy the clash between the Jacobins and Feuillants, and am eager to see whom I might cast as Louis XVI and the Marquis de Lafayette!

My conference travel was supported with grants from EIU’s Interdisciplinary Center for Global Diversity and Faculty Development. Many thanks to both units for making the trip possible.

Organization of American Historians (OAH) in STL: Gen Ed in the Morning; Cardinals at Night

From the desk of Dr. Debra Reid:

I had the pleasure of participating on a panel on designing general education courses at the Organization of American Historians conference in St. Louis, Missouri, April 17. The OAH Programsession brought together veterans who shared their perspectives on a process that people seem to love to hate – general education. I talked about the philosophy of general education, about differences between top-down and department-driven curriculum reform, and about methods that can engage students in the U.S. History survey since 1876. Other panelists talked about incorporating ethical conundrums (Robert Sampson, Millikin University) and about maintaining high standards (Maureen Nutting, North Seattle Community College).

Between sessions I met Lea VanderVelde (University of Iowa), author of Mrs. Dred Scott: A Life on Slavery’s Frontier (Oxford, 2010). I wish she could have met Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz who was at the conference but not in the room at the time. I am sure that the OAHlogowomen of John Brown’s family, the subject of Laughlin-Schultz’ award-winning,  The Ties that Bound Us: The Women of John Brown’s Family and the Legacy of Radical Feminism (Cornell, 2014) would have plenty of things to talk about with Mrs. Dred Scott. It sounds like an interesting possibility in light of the upcoming 150th anniversary of Reconstruction. Malgorzata Rymsza-Pawlowska presented at the OAH as well, in a session entitled “Working across Spaces of History Pedagogy: Classroom, Exhibit, Community.” She met David Thelen at her session. He co-wrote The Presence of the Past:  Popular Uses of History in American Life (Columbia, 1998), a book that the Historical Administration graduate students were assigned as summer reading last year.

In between all this stimulation, I took a break and went to the ball game. The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds on runs batted in by Yadier Molina. How sweet it is!

cards box


Notes from the Front: Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association

From the desk of Dr. M.J. Rymsza-Pawlowska:

This past week I had the opportunity to attend the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in New York City. Conferences are always great fun: you get to visit another city, catch up with friends and colleagues from all over the country, and peruse the newest offerings from the academic presses at the book fair.

AHA logo

But most importantly, the annual meeting is a lens on the state of the field—new perspectives, new approaches, and new topics, all of which inform and shape my work as a teacher, a researcher, and a professional historian. This year’s conference theme was “History and the Other Disciplines,” a topic that is extremely important to my own work as a cultural historian and interdisciplinary humanities scholar. I had the opportunity to attend panels on several interesting topics: history museums, media history, and digital scholarship.

I also organized and presented on a roundtable on history pedagogy entitled “Making History “Popular”: Challenges and Opportunities in the College Classroom.” We had a fantastic group–Kathleen Casey of Virginia Wesleyan College discussed her experiences teaching the history of leisure, while Charles Baraw of Southern Connecticut State University explained his interdisciplinary approach to teaching comics. Polly Beals, also of SCSU provided commentary and moderation.

My own paper was about my teaching here at Eastern, in HIS2020: U.S. History, 1877-present, in which I use popular culture to help students think about the relationships between historical developments in social, political, economic, and cultural spheres, and about the “work” of history in general. This approach closely reflects my research interests in popular culture, in the course of the class, we examine and discuss such topics as world’s fairs, television, the birth of advertising, and fashion, as a way of looking at and evaluating other changes during the period. I greatly enjoy teaching this class, and had a wonderful time reflecting on some of my classroom experiences, as well as comparing approaches and ideas with my co-panelists and with the audience. The panel was written up in Inside Higher Ed, so you can read more about it here.


I’m already looking forward to the Spring semester, and to incorporating many of the topics and ideas that were introduced on my panel and others into this semester’s courses!

35th Annual History Teachers Conference Coming On Friday, October 10, 2014


We are excited to announce that the 35th Annual History Teachers Conference will take place on Friday, October 10, 2014, here at Eastern Illinois University. The theme of this year’s conference is “Supporting the Common Core,” and we will feature a day of presentations focused on how social studies teachers can and are supporting Common Core reading, writing, and historical/social studies literacy in their classrooms. The conference offers a wonderful opportunity for teachers to earn CPDUs, network with other Illinois teachers, and return to school refreshed with a handful of strategies to apply as they implement new learning based on the Common Core standards in their own classrooms.

Lee Ann Potter, Director of Educational Outreach at the Library of Congress will make the opening keynote address, “Deep Admiration, Communication, & the Power of Primary Sources.” We are also very excited to announce morning session topics such as:

  • Introduction to Literacy Strategies for Preservice Teachers
  • Annotating Informational Texts in the Social Studies Classroom
  • Incorporating Atlantic History into World and U.S. History
  • Using Primary Sources & Technology to Create Engaging Civil War Lessons
  • Teaching Social Studies Units Aligned to Common Core Standards
  • Civic Learning – A Gateway to Common Core, Danielson, and the 5 Essentials
  • Latin America: Growth, Democracy, Reform and Revolution
  • Engaging Learners through Classroom Museum Gallery Walks Presenters
  • Literacy Strategies That Work for Practicing Teachers

The day concludes with a luncheon where teachers will be joined by Associate Dean of CEPS Doug Bower, Chair of Early Childhood, Elementary, and Middle Level Education Joy Russell, and Chair of Secondary Foundations Stephen Lucas. During this time there will be a discussion on the Common Core & Higher Education as well as an opportunity to network and continue to share strategies and ideas with other Illinois teachers.

conference flyer

  • For download the full version of the above flyer, click here.

MA History Graduate Students Present Research at Symposium

Two of our MA graduate students, Kara Batts and Aaron Psujek, recently presented papers at the 2014 Graduate Student Symposium held at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, IN. Kara and Aaron presented alongside graduate history students from Indiana State and the University of Illinois-Springfield. The annual symposium is held on a rotating basis between the campuses of ISU, UI-S, and EIU.

During the first panel session, Kara Batts presented her paper, “90 Days in Quincy: An Illinois Bordertown Faces Civil War, April-July 1861,” which she wrote for the HIS 5390: Civil War seminar under the direction of Professor Mark Hubbard.

2014-04-19 19.19.52

During the afternoon panel session, Aaron Psujek presented a paper, “Anglo-American Relations in the Middle East from the Iranian Coup to the Suez Crisis,” based on his forthcoming MA thesis which he is completing under the direction of Professor Brian Mann.

2014-04-20 12.27.40