Spring 2017 Schedule
Islam in America: A Cultural History
Thursday, January 26, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST

This webinar will pose the question, "What does it mean to be a Muslim American?" by addressing local and global, national and transnational identities. Through an introduction of a brief history of Islam in America, teachers will gain foundational knowledge necessary for understanding the contemporary cultural life of Muslim Americans. The webinar will then examine civic and religious roles of Muslim Americans as they converge in shared spaces and various community institutions. This webinar will explore the diversity of the Muslim American community, differing concepts of gender roles, and emergent forms of cultural expression. Examining Durham, North Carolina as a case study will provide examples of the diverse spaces, practices, and ethnicities of one Muslim American community as it establishes its identity.

Leader: Ellen McLarney, Associate Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University

Modern Art Comes to America: The Armory Show, 1913
Thursday, February 9, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST

In February 1913, the American public was introduced to modern art through a massive presentation of over 1300 works in The International Exhibition of Modern Art. On view inside the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue in New York and popularly known as The Armory Show, the exhibition included well known modern pioneers such as Paul Cézanne, Vincent Van Gogh, and Paul Gaugin, as well as more radical Fauvist, Cubist, Futurist, and Dada works by artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Wassily Kandinsky, and many others. The exhibition was organized by a small group of American artists and underscored the disparity of innovation between the visual arts in the United States and Europe. The Armory Show caused a sensation among the general public, was savagely derided in the press, and forever changed the course of American art. This seminar will detail the genesis of the exhibition, explore some of the significant works included in it, examine reactions by the press and the public, and reveal how its legacy is still felt today.

Leader: Marshall Price, Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nasher Museum

Hidden Photos: A New Picture of the Black Struggle for Civil Rights
Thursday, February 16, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST

Photographers shot millions of pictures of the black civil rights struggle between the close of World War II and the early 1970s, yet most Americans today can recall just a handful of images that look remarkably similar. In the popular imagination, the civil rights movement is remembered in dramatic photographs of protestors attacked with police dogs and fire hoses, firebombs and shotguns, tear gas and billy clubs. The most famous images of the era show black activists victimized by violent Southern whites. But there are other stories to be told. Blacks changed America through their action, not their suffering. This webinar reveals that we have inherited a photographic canon--and a picture of history--shaped by whites' comfort with unthreatening images of victimized blacks. And it illustrates how and why particular people, events, and issues have been edited out of the photographic story we tell about our past. By considering the different values promoted in the forgotten photographs, participants will gain an understanding of African Americans' role in rewriting U.S. history and the high stakes involved in selecting images with which to narrate our collective past.

Leader: Martin A. Berger, Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture, University of California, Santa Cruz

Teaching Langston Hughes
Thursday, February 23, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST

Black, broke, bereft of parental encouragement and love, the baby born James Langston Hughes on February 1, 1902 had his life set on a bleak, terribly troubled road, primarily because it ran right through America. In 1953 the Permanent Standing House Sub-Committee on Un-American Activities labeled Langston Hughes's work as "un-American." Hughes responded, "To give a full interpretation of any piece of literary work, one has to consider not only when and how it was written, but what brought it into being. The emotional and physical background that brought it into being. I, sir, was born in Joplin, Missouri. I was born a Negro. From my earliest childhood memories, I have encountered very serious and very hurtful problems." This webinar will examine Hughes's poetry collection in an effort to advance an understanding of the genesis of his work.

Leader: Carmella Williams, author of Langston Hughes in the Classroom: "Do Nothin' till You Hear from Me"

JFK: The First Television President
Thursday, March 2, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST
A collaboration with
JFK Library

Mass media has transformed not only presidential politics but the American presidency itself. This webinar focuses on John F. Kennedy, the nation's first television president. In 1950, only 11% of U.S. households owned a television; by 1960, when Kennedy campaigned for the presidency, that number had reached nearly 90%. Had all the forces of nature conspired, it is hard to imagine they could have created a candidate and president better suited to emerge in this new era than JFK. He understood the power of television, made masterful use of the medium and was ideally suited to it. From his campaign for the White House, throughout his presidency, and even in his tragic death, Kennedy would define the medium that made him president even as it deeply etched the nation's 35th president into our national memory. This webinar will explore the impact of television on Kennedy's presidency and on the country in a tumultuous and defining era in modern political history. It is presented as part of the JFK Centennial.

Leader: Ellen Fitzpatrick, Professor of History, University of New Hampshire

Rushmore Series: Roosevelt at Rushmore
Thursday, March 9, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST

Why was Teddy Roosevelt chosen as the fourth and last face to be sculpted into the southeastern face of Mount Rushmore? This webinar will take a closer look at Gutzon Borglum's political support for Roosevelt in order to analyze the aspects of his personality and ideas that the Rushmore monument dramatizes. We will discuss Roosevelt's views on nature and the strenuous life, and we will explore his application of those concepts to public issues of race and war. Join us for a re-examination of Borglum's effort to depict in granite one of the liveliest and most intellectually vigorous American presidents.

Leader: Thomas Brown, Professor of History, University of South Carolina

Black Lives Matter in Historical Context
Thursday, March 16, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EDT
A collaboration with NCHE

Leader: Yohoru Williams, Professor of History, Fairfield University

A History of Immigration Control: Contesting Nation, Citizenship and Race in America
Thursday, March 30, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EDT
A collaboration with Primary Source

The issue of immigration control has become a lightning rod in American political discourse. At stake is how we define ourselves in relation to each other and to the state, which is perhaps why many Americans across the political spectrum feel so passionately about the issue. Join us as Professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) unravels the complicated history of immigration control in the United States, and in doing so sheds light on 20th-century contests over identity and belonging.

Leader: Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Associate Professor of History, UCLA

A History of Violence: Mexico and the United States
Thursday, April 6, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EDT
A collaboration with

Leader: Elaine Carey, Professor and Chair, Department of History, St. Johns University

Teaching John Steinbeck's 'The Grapes of Wrath'
Thursday, April 13, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EDT
A collaboration with OAH

While working on his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1939 novel, Steinbeck wrote to a friend: "I'm trying to write history while it is happening and I don't want to be wrong." Upon publication, Steinbeck's controversial book met with a vehement and coordinated response from California's corporate farming interests who labeled its author a Communist and a liar for his portrayal of their mistreatment of migrant agricultural workers and their families. However, Steinbeck received validation from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and from Philip LaFollette's Senate Committee on Education and Labor, which held hearings in California in 1940. Yet, unlike so many literary works set in the present, The Grapes of Wrath has endured as a classic. This webinar explores both the contemporary conditions that gave rise to the novel, and its multi-layered nature, including its emphasis on human dignity, its biblical dimension, and its charting of a shift in social consciousness from individualism to group-centeredness--from "I to We”--that help explain its continuing popularity and relevance.

Leader: David Wrobel, Professor, Merrick Chair of Western History, Oklahoma University

Cultivating Students' Philosophical Thinking
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EDT

This interactive webinar will explore how introducing philosophy in the classroom can enrich student learning, and will provide ideas and resources for encouraging deep and well-reasoned thinking about some of life's "big questions.” Participants will learn about some of the methods of pre-college philosophy, and will engage in philosophical discussions and activities on topics such as: "What can we know? What makes something right or wrong? Are we free? What is a mind? How do we define happiness?”

Leader: Dr. Jana Mohr Lone, Director, University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children

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