Teaching American History in Uncertain Times

Thursday, March 30, 2023, 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Type: Plenary Session

Tags: Education; Professional Development; Teaching and Pedagogy


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.

Session Participants

Chair: Erika Lee, University of Minnesota

Panelist: Daina Ramey Berry, University of Texas at Austin
Professor and Chair of the History Department; Oliver H. Radkey Regents Professorship in History; Fellow of Walter Prescott Webb Chair in History; Fellow of George W. Littlefield Professorship in American History, University of Texas at Austin

Panelist: Julio Capó Jr., Florida International University
Associate Professor of History, Florida International University

Panelist: Jean M. O'Brien, University of Minnesota
 (White Earth Ojibwe) is the Distinguished McKnight University Professor of History at the University of Minnesota

Panelist: Mariana E. Ramírez, UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies Division of Urban Schooling
PhD Student UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information StudiesDivision of Urban Schooling

Panelist: Alexandra Minna Stern, University of Michigan/UCLA
Humanities Dean, UCLA

Panelist: Renee Tajima-Peña, Documentary film, UCLA Asian American Studies
Professor of Asian American StudiesDirector of the Center for EthnoCommunications Endowed Chair in Japanese American StudiesUniversity of California at Los Angeles