History and Community Engagement: Public History, Education, and Challenging Dominant Narratives of U.S. History

Endorsed by the OAH Committee on Teaching and the OAH Committee on National Park Service Collaboration

Friday, April 16, 2021, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

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


Historians, perhaps now more than ever, have a responsibility to interpret our collective past and make it accessible for the diverse communities we serve. From museums to K-16 learning spaces, this roundtable will explore how historians are engaging students and local communities to reshape dominant narratives in American history. Roundtable participants include public historians and educators from diverse areas of the profession. Their collective work decolonizes dominant narratives of U.S. history and uses history as a tool of civic engagement. Participants will discuss what impact historians can have on communities and in empowering minoritized students to claim citizenship.

Session Participants

Chair: Mireya Loza, New York University
Mireya Loza is an assistant professor in Food Studies at New York University. She received her doctorate in American Studies at Brown University. Her areas of research include Latinx Studies, Public History and Labor History. Her book, Defiant Braceros: How Migrant Workers Fought for Racial, Sexual and Political Freedom (UNC Press), examines the Bracero Program and how guest workers negotiated the intricacies of indigeneity, intimacy, and transnational organizing. Prior to joining the faculty at NYU she was a curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

Panelist: Elizabeth Ann Logan, Huntington–University of Southern California Institute on California and the West
Elizabeth Logan is Associate Director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West and the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Service Academy (LASA). She previously served as an Assistant Editor of Boom: A Journal of California. Her teaching and work explore the intersections of law, history and culture in the 19th- and early 20th-century United States and American West. She received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University in History with honors, her JD from the UCLA School of Law, and her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.

Panelist: Mark Anthony Ocegueda, Brown University
Mark Ocegueda is currently the César Chávez postdoctoral fellow in the Latin American, Latinx, and Caribbean Studies program at Dartmouth College and an assistant professor of United States and Mexican American History at California State University, Sacramento. His research and teaching specializations include U.S. Latinx, labor, immigration, race & ethnicity, sports & recreation, and urban history. Dr. Ocegueda also engages in the field of public history and is interested in how historians can bridge their academic work with historically marginalized communities.

Panelist: Julia Ornelas-Higdon, California State University Channel Islands
Julia Ornelas-Higdon is an Assistant Professor of History at California State University, Channel Islands where she teaches courses in U.S. and California history, as well as immigration history. Her research and teaching focuses on the intersections of race, agricultural and labor histories. She received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Southern California, where she received a USC Provost Fellowship and was a Smithsonian Institution Latino Studies Fellow at the National Museum of American History. She received a Faculty Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the 2018-2019 academic year. Her forthcoming manuscript explores California’s 19th century wine industry as a site of conquest, imperialism, and racialization.

Panelist: Monica Pelayo Lock, History San Jose
Monica Pelayo Lock is the Director of Education in History San Jose. She has also worked with the Chinese Historical Society of America, the Smithsonian’s Bracero Oral History Project, the Studio for Southern California History, and the University of Southern California’s History in a Box Project. In addition to her public history experience, she was an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she served as the Director of the Public History in the master's program and collaborated on several community history projects. Pelayo Lock received her Ph.D. and M.A. in History at the University of Southern California.