Spring 2017 Schedule
Cultivating Students' Philosophical Thinking
CANCELED ~ Rescheduled for Fall 2017

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

The Machine and The Republic: The Dynamic Interplay of Technology and Political Values
CANCELED ~ Reschedule date TBD
A collaboration with

Since colonial times America has had a complex love affair with technology. While it is easy to assume that technological choices are guided largely by scientific and economic constraints, America's affair also reflects the challenges and values of sustaining a republican culture. Like Hamilton and Jefferson, Americans have looked at technology as a means to balance excesses of power and liberty. In this webinar we will look at specific examples of these choices over the last two centuries, including the patent system, ultimately revealing the continuous challenge of aligning our machines with our republican values.

This is part 2 of a 3-part series on the role of technology in American history presented in collaboration with NCHE under a grant from the Library of Congress.

Leader: W. Bernard Carlson, Joseph L. Vaughan Professor of Humanities, University of Virginia

A History of Violence: Mexico and the United States
NEW DATE ~ Thursday, April 27, 2017
A collaboration with
American Historical Association

In the recent presidential election, Mexico as a country of violence became a campaign issue. The United States and Mexico share a two thousand mile border; both countries are major trading partners; and U.S.-Mexican relations have long and complicated histories. This webinar explores this complex relationship through key historical moments from the Mexican Revolution to the contemporary drug wars by focusing on violence and policing on both side of the Rio Grande (Río Bravo).

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

#fakenews: Teaching Historical Understanding in the Digital Age
Tuesday, May 2, 2017 from 4:00 - 5:30 PM EDT

We all know the phrase, but what does it have to do with history teaching? More importantly, how might history classrooms help to inoculate students against the worst effects of fake news? Kevin Levin (historian and educator) and Ben Walsh (Historical Association UK) explore the origins and anatomy of fake news, some of its manifestations in history and history teaching, and possible ways in which we might be able to tame this phenomenon.

Leaders: Kevin Levin, Independent Historian
Ben Walsh, Vice President, The Historical Association (England)

Teaching John Steinbeck's 'The Grapes of Wrath'
RESCHEDULED ~ Thursday, May 4, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EDT
A collaboration with

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

Rock and Roll Music Across the Humanities
Tuesday, May 9, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EDT
A collaboration with Rock and Roll Forever Foundation

Warren Zanes will explore the Sonic Highways project and provide theory, as well as concrete examples, on the role music can play in teaching history, geography and more.

Leader: Warren Zanes, Executive Director, Rock and Roll Forever Foundation

Using Museum Objects to Drive Inquiry with the Smithsonian Learning Lab
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EDT
A collaboration with
Smithsonian Learning Lab

A visit to the museum inspires wonder, curiosity, and questions, and as such is the perfect place to begin an inquiry-based lesson. The Smithsonian Learning Lab allows anyone to access the rich resources of the Smithsonian Institution through a web-based platform. Discover how to create and adapt inquiry-based lessons that bridge art, history, and literature as students investigate artifacts, images, and archival materials from the Smithsonian's collections. Former high school history teacher and current Learning Lab coordinator in Pittsburgh, Kate Harris, will introduce the tool and existing collections as well as help teachers build their own collections that get students thinking deeply about the past and how it is remembered.

Leader: Kate Harris, Smithsonian Learning Lab

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