OAH Home Donate to OAH Join the OAH

Meetings & Events



Doing History Workshops
The 2018 OAH Conference will feature a series of "Doing History" workshops designed to help members engage broader audiences with high quality scholarship in a wide variety of settings. The Program Committee decided to feature these selected workshops as integral to the program and essential to the profession. How do we create new forms of history using different media? How do we tell stories in different formats? How do we learn about new ways of communicating the past? How do we involve students in doing history? How do we engage communities? To help us think differently about these questions, we recruited highly accomplished professionals from closely related fields as guest presenters to join in the workshops and lead participants in hands-on, fun, engaging experiments. Film producers, editors, podcasters, novelists, and animators will share their skills and experiences. We reserved a dedicated workshop space in the exhibit hall so that everyone has easy access to these dynamic, 90-minute sessions. You can sign up ahead of time for a specific workshop or you can join in on a whim when you arrive at the conference. The Doing History workshops are intended to be creative, collaborative, and practical. Join one!
Schedule Doing History Workshop

Friday, April 13

8am-9:30am The Graphic History: Where Form and Function Come Together
10am-11:30am Historians in the Twittersphere: Crafting Social Media Identities and History Publics
11:30am-1pm Teaching Historical Thinking Skills Part One: An Approach to Teaching with Secondary Sources
1pm-2:30pm Historians Writing for the Public
3pm-4:30 pm Bringing History Back to Life—Augmented Reality at Historic Sites

Saturday, April 14

8am-9:30am Animating History
10am-11:30am Family History for Historians, Historians for Family History
1pm--2:30 pm Digital Storytelling in Teaching History
3pm-4:30 pm Teaching Historical Thinking Skills Part Two: An Approach to Teaching with Primary Sources


The Graphic History: Where Form and Function Come Together

What can the testimony of a young, enslaved woman from nineteenth century West Africa teach us about the human experience and the world in which we live? Anyone who teaches history knows that it is not so much a case of following a recipe as it is finding ways to give
students vital content, plus the tools to understand it and finally the means to apply this content to their everyday lives. At the heart of this process is the balancing of global stories with local experiences, both to convey important stories and to help students hear the rarely heard voices of everyday people. Abina and the Important Men (Second Edition 2016) was written as one instructor's attempt at this difficult balancing act, by giving students the tools to enter into a conversation with Abina Mansah, a woman who appeared before a court in West Africa to demand her freedom in 1876.
The intended outcomes for students are a combination of critical skills, knowledge of historical content and the methods to get at it, and an understanding of what it is historians do and why the study of the past is personally, intellectually, emotionally and socially valuable.

• Trevor Getz, San Francisco State University
• Liz Clarke, Illustrator

Back to top

Historians in the Twittersphere: Crafting Social Media Identities and History Publics

With virtual audiences that range in the thousands, historians well known as public intellectuals in various social media platforms come together to discuss and demonstrate their approach to building online identities based on their professional work. How did they do it? How has it impacted their professional work? How has it changed their notion of what it means to be a historian? What implications or possibilities might social media yield for our profession?

Chair: Keisha N. Blain, University of Pittsburgh
• Erika Lee, University of Minnesota
• Adrian Burgos, University of Illinois
• Tyina Steptoe, University of Washington
• Joanne Freeman,
• Keisha N. Blain, University of Pittsburgh

Back to top

Teaching Historical Thinking Skills Part One: An Approach to Teaching with Secondary Sources

This workshop focuses on teaching Analyzing Secondary Sources as one key aspect of Disciplinary Practices and Reasoning Skills in the AP US History course. Addressing the unique challenges of implementing this practice, the workshop explores the mechanics of locating appropriate secondary sources, editing them, and framing them for classroom inquiry. The presentation provides concrete examples of the ways that historians’ conflicting interpretations hinge on disagreements about issues like the significance of varied causes and/or effects, the context that best explains a specific development, the relative similarity between specific historical phenomena, or the significance of particular developments in relation to larger historical patterns. In introducing their students to major historiographical debates, then, teachers can also help them grapple with Reasoning Skills like Causation, Contextualization, Comparison, and Continuity and Change. Tackling multiple issues simultaneously allows teachers to stay on track as they guide their students through the course’s complex curriculum.

• David Neumann, College of Education & Integrative Studies
Cal Poly Pomona

Back to top

Historians Writing for the Public

Newspaper op-ed pages, magazines, and digital publications are eager to publish work from scholars; many scholars are eager to be published in such outlets. This workshop is designed to help historians learn the mechanics of that process. We'll look at identifying a subject for an essay, matching it to the right outlet, writing a compelling pitch, and mastering the craft of rendering the past accessible to popular audiences.
Participants include Washington Bureau Chief of The Atlantic, Yoni Appelbaum, Op-Ed and Sunday Opinion Editor of the Los Angeles Times, Juliet Lapidos, and "Made by History" editor of The Washington Post, Nicole Hemmer.

• Yoni Appelbaum, The Atlantic
• Nicole Hemmer, Miller Center, University of Virginia
• Juliet Lapidos, The Los Angeles Times

Back to top

Bringing History Back to Life—Augmented Reality at Historic Sites

The National Park Service and its partners have begun using augmented reality technology to enhance the visitor experience at historical sites. These projects represent an innovative model for interpreting historical sites that have traditionally been difficult to interpret, particularly when there is an absence of remaining artifacts. The App challenges the notion of what kind of historical site is worth interpreting and what visitor experience is possible when there seems to be little that visually remains. This workshop will explore the type of research and collaboration required to produce such applications.

• Jonathan Amakawa, Studio Amakawa and Fitchburg State University
• Timothy Townsend, Lincoln Home National Historic Site

Back to top

Animating History

The Animating History workshop will bring together animation industry experts in various areas of story development and production and American historians to conduct a storyboarding session. Industry participants include directors, producers, writers, animators, art department staff, sound, story board, and effects areas alike. We will consider how and why historians might participate in producing high quality animated histories for wide audiences. First, working in teams as a design studio, we will develop a draft animation based on a selected historical event or person. Participants in the workshop will rapidly develop a storyboard and script introducing historians to the world of animation production. Participants will receive a packet on a specific event and will have some time to develop their ideas before coming to work with our industry professionals. After collaborating on these sketches, we will hold a final discussion on how a story is developed for film, television, and the web, and what design principles historians should consider in producing an animation.

• William G. Thomas III, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
• Michael Burton, University of Nebraska Lincoln
• Daniel Janke, Northern Town Films
• Steph Swope, Minnow Mountain
• Craig Staggs, Minnow Mountain

Back to top

Family History for Historians, Historians for Family History

With the popularity of online family history, DNA testing, and social media, historians have new tools and opportunities to enrich their research methods and to “make history come alive” for their audiences. This interactive workshop will provide approaches, resources, and examples of life-changing family history projects that engage students with acquisition and analysis of primary sources. Historians’ own research will benefit from techniques that provide and organize research materials to enliven biography, develop social history context, and expand cultural diversity. Learn the latest genealogical detective work to support students and others who are searching for their families. Discover new ways to work “hands-on” with material culture artifacts. Explore crossover writing approaches utilizing scholarship, historical inference, and creative nonfiction techniques. Family history provides a way to better articulate the value of history and humanities to people’s lives.    

• Keith Erekson, The University of Texas - El Paso
• Katherine Sturdevant, Pikes Peak Community College

Back to top

Digital Storytelling in Teaching History

This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to the ways in which digital storytelling can be utilized in the undergraduate classroom to engage students in historical thinking, archival exploration, and the process of constructing historical knowledge. We will explain key elements of effective digital storytelling and will provide specific examples of how digital storytelling can be effectively incorporated into the undergraduate history classroom as an integrative or creative project. Participants will leave with sample assignments, rubrics, and other teaching resources. Please come with questions and ideas about how you might integrate digital tools into your own classrooms and curriculums.

• Todd Gernes, Stonehill College
• Elizabeth Belanger, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Back to top

Teaching Historical Thinking Skills Part Two: An Approach to Teaching with Primary Sources

This workshop will focus on how to approach Advanced Placement Historical Thinking Skills (Analyzing Historical Sources and Evidence, Making Historical Connections, Chronological Reasoning, and Creating and Supporting a Historical Argument) when teaching with primary sources. The presenter offers a structure for deciding which historical thinking skill to highlight depending upon the source and task. For example, before answering a historical question or identifying the significance of a source, students need specific instruction around Making Historical Connections or Chronological Reasoning. After modeling how to identify teaching points, the group will construct a set of tasks to develop students’ ability to Analyze Historical Sources and Evidence. Then, she will take the features of complexity identified in the source to model a writing task that scaffolds the Creation and Support of a Historical Argument. After modeling a lesson, participants work together to identify possible teaching points in an additional document. To close the presentation, participants will share ideas about teaching students to think like historians and discuss points for clarification.

• Marika Manos, Long Beach Unified School District
Back to top