2023 OAH Conference on American History

Formal & Informal Networking Events
A gathering of 1,500 + U.S. historians
Make Professional Connections
160+ Sessions
Hear from 800+ Historians
Professional Development and Teaching Sessions

Plenary Session: Teaching American History in Uncertain Times

Archbishop Stephanic High School. Classroom, Library of Congress

CC - this session is CART Captioned

The teaching of American history is under assault by a spate of educational gag orders that restrict what can be taught in K-12 schools and in institutions of higher education. Laws across the country limit or ban teaching on systemic racism, sexism, gender and sexuality, and LGBTQ+ topics. In addition, the use and misuse of history and historical scholarship - most recently in the SCOTUS decision in Dobbs v. Jackson - raises important questions about the role of U.S. history in the classroom and beyond. This year’s in-person and virtual conference highlight many sessions and workshops related to K-12 and college/university teaching during these challenging times.

Building upon this theme, this plenary brings together leading scholars, teachers, and advocates in conversation to discuss the histories behind these efforts, how they threaten the teaching and practice of American history, what we can do to challenge them, and how we can support inclusive and social justice-oriented teaching and learning in all classrooms.



March 30, 2023 to April 2, 2023


Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Los Angeles
404 S Figueroa St,
Los Angeles, CA 90071


General Inquiries
812 855 7311

Sales Inquiries
812 855 5520

We live in uncertain times. Authoritarian rule, border walls, immigration bans, children  in cages, police killings, a global pandemic, hate crimes, and global warming are just some of the crises we’ve faced in recent years. They point to the possibility that we’re living in a state of permanent crisis as the new normal. Or, maybe constant crises have always shaped the lives of all but the fraction of people whose social status has offered them comforts and reprieve? Perhaps the only difference now is that COVID-19 has made even the privileged feel vulnerable. If or when the pandemic recedes, we’ll re-enter a world that will be different than the one we lived in on the eve of the shutdown. It is difficult to imagine, though, that the world to come will be rid of the precarity, instability, and inequities--in short, crises--that have plagued the past.  Los Angeles, the site of the 2023 in-person conference, is the perfect setting for our conversation about crises and how we might overcome them together. A settler city, sited on Tongva territory, Los Angeles is today home to the largest urban Indigenous population. It is also home to some of the largest immigrant, Latinx, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the country. The city is being devastated by climate change. Yet it is also the site of a dynamic environmental justice movement. Los Angeles has always been a key site of Black activism. Yet Los Angeles authorities have worked to impede Black social, economic, and political progress, building the largest jail system in the United States. Local activists are now engaged in one of the nation’s most active prison abolition movements. As it has been for more than a century, Los Angeles represents both the American crisis and the site of unusual creativity for people trying to create a more just and equal society.

The OAH Program and Local Reource Committee determine the conference content. The committees are assigned by the President of the OAH.

Program Committee

  • Cochair: Keisha N. Blain, Brown University
  • Cochair: Geraldo Cadava, Northwestern University
  • Cochair: Kelly Lytle-Hernández, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Kathleen Belew, University of Chicago
  • Tsekani Browne, Mt. San Antonio College
  • Julio Capó, Florida International University
  • Carly Goodman, Independent scholar
  • Monica Muñoz Martinez, University of Texas, Austin
  • Jean O'Brien, University of Minnesota
  • Carl Suddler, Emory University

Local Resource Committee

  • Cochair: Steve Aron, University of California, Los Angeles/Autry Museums
  • Cochair: George Sanchez, University of Southern California
  • Bill Deverell, University of Southern California/Huntington-USC Institute on California
  • Regina Freer, Occidental College
  • Jane Hong, Occidental College
  • David Igler, University of California, Irvine
  • Valerie P. Jiménez, Campbell Hall High School
  • Jessica Kim, Cal State Northridge

The Organization of American Historians acknowledges our presence on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Tongva people and their neighbors: (from North to South) the Chumash, Tataviam, Kitanemuk, Serrano, Cahuilla, Payomkawichum, Acjachemen, Ipai-Tipai, Kumeyaay, and Quechan peoples, whose ancestors lived in the region we now call Southern California for at least 9,000 years. Indigenous stewardship and rightful claims to these lands have never been voluntarily relinquished nor legally extinguished. We pay respects to the members and elders of these communities, past, present and future, who remain stewards, caretakers, and advocates of these lands, river systems, and the waters and islands of the Santa Barbara Channel.