Explaining One’s Research to the Public

From the desk of Dr. Charles Foy:

A basic responsibility of EIU faculty is to create knowledge. For historians, this typically takes the form of monographs published by university press or articles in academic journals. Unfortunately, the readership for these works is generally not extensive. The public’s exposure to history often is limited to the History Channel (Hitler, Hitler and more Hitler!). How to ensure a wider audience for our interesting scholarship? Eastern’s historians are engaging the public on a number of non-traditional and digital medium, including blogs, Twitter, and online essays.

Where can one find EIU history faculty’s informal writing? Here are some examples:

Twitter: Dr. Laughlin-Schultz, a historian of 19th century reform movements and women’s history regularly tweets on these issues, political matters and her new book project on the reformer Lucy Stone at https://twitter.com/bls75.

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Dr. Newton Key tweets on 17th century British history at https://twitter.com/newton_key.

Blogs: Short form essays are a handy means to quickly describe one’s research. The longest-standing blog by a EIU historian is Dr. Key’s Early Modern England blog at http://earlymodernengland.blogspot.com/

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Online Articles: Recently, a plethora of websites have been developed that seek to explain historical issues to the general public. One of these, Red Hooks Water Stories, http://portsidenewyork.org/history-cultural-tourism/, has undertaken to explain New York City’s maritime history to the public.

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This Fall it will be publishing Dr. Charles Foy’s short essay, “Blacks on the New York Waterfront during the American Revolution.” This is essay is a condensed version of Dr. Foy’s recent scholarly article “The Royal Navy’s Employment of Black Mariners and Maritime Workers, 1754-1783,” published in the February 2016 edition of International Maritime History Journal.

Join us online!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Faculty Monograph Honored as a Kansas Notable Book

Dr. Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz’s recent book, The Tie That Bound Us: The Women of John Brown’s Family and the Legacy of Radical Abolitionism, has been selected for inclusion on the 2014 Kansas Notable Books List. The Kansas Notable Book List recognizes the literary richness of Kansas and is a project of the Kansas Center for the Book (KCFB) at the State Library of Kansas. The annual selection of 15 books reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Kansas features titles that are either written by Kansans or features a Kansas-related topic. A committee of KCFB Affiliates, Fellows, and authors of previous Notable Books identifies these titles from among those published the previous year, and the State Librarian makes the selection for the final list. Each year a reception and medal awards ceremony honor the books and their authors and illustrators.

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34th Annual History and Social Science Teachers Conference

On Thursday, October 24, 2013, upwards of eighty teachers gathered for the 34th Annual History and Social Science Teachers conference. The theme of this year’s conference was “Read All About It! Using Primary Documents, Library Resources, and Local History to Foster Social Studies Literacy.” Attendees heard a keynote from Dr. Catherine Denial, lead historian for the Bringing History Home program in Iowa, which worked to integrate primary sources into k-12 social studies education. After the keynote, attendees chose three of six professional development sessions, including three sessions on the Midwest during the Civil War by Dr. Terry Barnhart, Dr. Bob Sampson (Millikin), and Dr. Shannon Smith (The College of St. Benedict & St. John’s University); a session by Catherine Denial on the SOCC approach to primary source analysis; a session from Ann Brownson (Booth Library) and Dr. Jeanne Okrasinski (CEPS) on the Common Core, library, and media; and the traditional Swap Shop, where participants shared teaching ideas and learned from Penny Jones, veteran teacher at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Decatur.

Terry Barnhart leads teachers in discussing how they might teach about Copperheads and Peace Democrats in the north during the Civil War. (photo: Cathy Brachear)

Terry Barnhart leads teachers in discussing how they might teach about Copperheads and Peace Democrats in the north during the Civil War. (photo: Cathy Brachear)

Bob Sampson lectures on the story behind the Charleston Riot of 1864. (photo: Cathy Brachear)

Bob Sampson lectures on the story behind the Charleston Riot of 1864. (photo: Cathy Brachear)

The History department offered great support for the conference, with Dr. Barnhart offering a session on Copperheads and Drs. Ed Wehrle, Michael Shirley, and Charles Titus serving as facilitators for other sessions. History with Teacher Certification students Tom Griffith and Lucas Voudrie also served as facilitators. Dr. Anita Shelton welcomed conference attendees during the concluding luncheon (as did President William Perry), and many faculty members attended the conference.

Shannon Smith discusses rioting in the midwest during the Civil War and how teachers might incorporate discussion of riots (anti-draft and otherwise) into Civil War lessons. (photo: Cathy Brachear)

Shannon Smith discusses rioting in the midwest during the Civil War and how teachers might incorporate discussion of riots (anti-draft and otherwise) into Civil War lessons. (photo: Cathy Brachear)

Jeanne Okrasinski (pictured standing) and Ann Brownson (sitting at front) led a session on the use of library and media resources linked to the new Common Core state standards (photo: Cathy Brachear)

Jeanne Okrasinski (pictured standing) and Ann Brownson (sitting at front) led a session on the use of library and media resources linked to the new Common Core state standards (photo: Cathy Brachear)

Next year’s conference will take place in fall 2014. If anyone has ideas they would like to see covered—or presentations you might wish to make yourself!—please contact Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz.