Critical Pedagogy & Experiential Learning: Experiments in Active Learning in the History Classroom

Endorsed by the OAH Committee on Teaching

Saturday, April 4, 2020, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Digital History; Public History and Memory; Teaching and Pedagogy


Experiential learning exercises offer endless opportunities to push the traditional boundaries of U.S. history by bridging the divides between academia and the public, centering marginalized voices within the historical narrative and teaching students to produce knowledge within the field. Our panel will use five brief case studies of project-based hands-on learning to ignite a conversation with audience members about nontraditional methods of teaching and learning in the history classroom. With the conference theme’s focus on inequalities, our case studies will highlight different methods (from sensory-driven to service-oriented) of engaging students in discussions of identity and power in the past.

Session Participants

Chair and Panelist: Kera Lovell, University of Utah, Asia Campus
Dr. Kera Lovell specializes in twentieth-century U.S. social and cultural history, and her research and teaching focus on the relationship between power, the body, and place in American visual and material culture. She is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Utah’s Asia Campus in Incheon, South Korea where she teaches courses on US history and global citizenship. In the fall of 2017 she defended her dissertation to complete her Ph.D. in American Studies at Purdue University. Dr. Lovell received my Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Agnes Scott College in 2009 and Master of Arts degree in American Studies from Purdue University in 2011. She has published in American Studies, Women's Studies Quarterly, and Black Perspectives, and her research is supported by the Purdue Research Foundation, the Graham Foundation, the Hoover Institution, and other sources. Dr. Lovell is currently working on a book project, titled The People’s Park: Work, the Body, and the Environment in Radical Postwar Placemaking which is under review.

Panelist: Seth Blumenthal, Boston University
Seth Blumenthal is a Senior Lecturer in Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Blumenthal recently completed his first book, Children of the Silent Majority: Youth Politics and the Rise of the Republican Party, 1968-1980 with the University Press of Kansas. His research focuses on the intersection of conservatism, youth culture and politics in the 20th century. In addition, Blumenthal is a contributing editor to the Points Blog (Alcohol and Drug Historical Society) and has written for The Washington Post; Process: A Blog for American History (Organization of American Historians); The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture; Journal of Policy History.)

Panelist: Julian Carlos Chambliss, Michigan State University
Julian C. Chambliss is Professor of English with a Joint Appointment in History at Michigan State University. In addition, he is a core participant in the MSU College of Arts & Letters’ Consortium for Critical Diversity in a Digital Age Research (CEDAR). His research interests focus on the race, identity, and power in real and imagined urban spaces. His recent writing has appeared in Frieze, Rhetoric Review, Boston Review, Florida Historical Quarterly, Journal of Urban History and Studies in American. An interdisciplinary scholar he has designed museum exhibitions, curated art shows, and created public digital history projects that trace community, identity, and power in the American South. In addition, he has published opinion and commentary in popular forums such as the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio (NPR), and Orlando Sentinel. He is a co-recipient of an Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) Mellon Foundation Faculty Renewal Grant for Project Mosaic: Zora Neale Hurston: A Multidisciplinary Exploration of African-American Culture, a project exploring African-American experience through the work and life of Zora Neale Hurston, ACS Faculty Advancement Grant for Urban Dreams and Urban Disruptions: Transforming Travel Study and Undergraduate Archival Research with Collaborative Interdisciplinary Digital Tools and ACS/R1 Grant for designing a Digital Literacy and Collaborative Learning workshop. He is co-editor and contributor for Ages of Heroes, Eras of Men: Superheroes and the American Experience, a book examining the relationship between superheroes and the American Experience (2013). His newest books, Assembling the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Essays on the Social, Cultural and Geopolitical Domain (2018) explore questions of culture, identity, and politics in the MCU and Cities Imagined: The African Diaspora in Media and History (2018) is a thematic reader that documents the African-American imaginary through primary and secondary sources focus on media and culture.

Twitter: @JulianChambliss

Panelist: Ansley T. Erickson, Teachers College, Columbia University
Ansley T. Erickson is a U.S. historian who focuses on educational inequality, segregation, and the interactions between schooling, urban and metropolitan space, racism, and capitalism. Her first book, Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2016 and won the History of Education Society’s Outstanding Book Award in 2017. Her work has also been awarded the History of Education Society Prize (2016), the Bancroft Dissertation Prize (2010), and the Claude A. Eggertsen Dissertation Prize (2011). Her research has been supported by an NAE/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, an Eisenhower Institute fellowship, and a Spencer Dissertation Fellowship.

Erickson co-directs the Harlem Education History Project (HEHP) with Ernest Morrell, Coyle Professor of Literacy Education at the University of Notre Dame. HEHP supports a digital history project and collaborations with local schools. The project has produced an edited volume on the history of education in twentieth century Harlem that will be published by Columbia University Press in 2020.

In the fall of 2017, Erickson was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library, where she began research for a narrative history of 20th century African American urban education via Harlem’s Wadleigh High School.

Panelist: Walter D. Greason Ph.D., Monmouth University
Walter D. Greason is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Counseling and Leadership at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey. His most recent two books are Cities Imagined and Industrial Segregation. Cities Imagined traces the history of African American architectural designs in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in both history and media, challenging the boundaries between real and imagined experiences of space, place, and race. Industrial Segregation is a grounded historical exploration of the ways racial segregation intensified as industrial phenomena, justified by both religion and science between 1880 and 1940. Greason has emerged as one of the leading voices of digital history through the work he shares on social media, particularly the "worldprofessor" platform on Twitter. In 2017, his thread on racial violence galvanized an international movement to condemn white supremacy after the right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 2018, the Wakanda Syllabus inspired a global outpouring of acclaim for Marvel Studios' film "Black Panther", energizing worldwide support for the Black Speculative Arts Movement led by Jordan Peele, Tananarive Due, John Jennings, Sheena Howard, and Ryan Coogler. Over the last decade, Greason has led the restoration of the T. Thomas Fortune National Historic Landmark in Red Bank, New Jersey. A unique partnership between a private developer and a local non-profit organization, the T. Thomas Fortune Foundation and the Fortune Square project managed a $2 million restoration of this cultural heritage site over the last two years. The model created and implemented in this case represents a groundbreaking model for historic preservation projects around the world. Greason also serves on the board of the Ranney School in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, and the Urban History Association. For a decade, he has managed the Society of American City and Regional Planning History as Treasurer, coordinating the publication of a professional journal on a quarterly basis and providing financial oversight to a biennial national conference. He is also the principal for the International Center for Metropolitan Growth, a consulting firm that has generated over $10 billion in new assets for hundreds of projects in North America since 2012.