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Dr. Holly Shulman
Monday, 15 January 2007
“The Dolley Madison Project”

Dr. Holly Shulman
of the University of Virginia explored the legacy of Dolley Madison in order to reveal a clearer understanding of the world in which she and other leading women of this era lived. This talk featured the Dolley Madison Digital Edition and how these (actual and potential) web resources help us understand not only contemporary politics but a wide range of other issues such as slavery, death and mourning, health/sickness and death, families, war on the home front, or travel.
Dr. Marc Selverstone
Tuesday, 02 January 2007
"War and the Modern Presidency"

Image Between 1940 and 1973, six American presidents from both political parties secretly recorded just under 5,000 hours of conversations they had in the White House and on the phone. These recordings constitute an extremely rich historical resource, but one that cannot be unlocked without considerable time and experience in working with the tapes. Once unlocked, the tapes can, are, and will make significant contributions to our understanding of recent political history and how the U.S. government works.

On December 7, Dr. Marc Selverstone of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at University of Virginia shared select audio clips from these collections in the last fall workshop of the Teaching American History Speaker Series in a session titled "War and the Modern Presidency". Important questions addressed through the words and voices of Presidents Roosevelt, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon included: "What factors led President John F. Kennedy to initiate a draw-down of U.S. forces from Vietnam? Why did President Lyndon B. Johnson decide to escalate U.S. military involvement in Vietnam? What was the relationship between the 1972 presidential election and Americašs withdrawal from Vietnam?"

Jeff Chidester
Thursday, 21 December 2006
ImageOn December 12th the Teaching Fellows gathered at the Miller Center for Public Affairs to learn about their Presidential Oral History Program.  Jeff Chidester, Research Director for Presidential and Special Projects was the group's host and guest presenter.  Mr. Chidester's presentation included: the process the Miller Center takes to capture the reflections and thoughts from members of former presidential staffs; recordings and background information from "Ronald Reagan Oral History Project"; and a discussion on ways teachers can conduct oral history projects in their own classroom.

Richmond Field Experience
Friday, 17 November 2006
ImageOn November 9th, the Teaching Fellows Program journeyed to Richmond for an all-day field experience that focused on the Civil War and historical research.

The first stop on the excursion was to the newly opened American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar.  Recently open to the public in October, the center explores the war’s causes, course, and legacy from three perspectives – Union, Confederate, and African-American.  Highlights included a “coffee talk” and welcome with Sara Poore, Director of Education, experiencing the center’s exhibits, and learning about the evolution of the center from a mere idea to reality with the center’s President, H. Alexander Wise.

During the afternoon the group visited the Virginia Historical Society and the Library of Virginia.  While at the Virginia Historical Society, the group was hosted by Bill Obrochta, Director of Education.  Mr. Obrochta shared examples of Civil War letters housed at the society, and provided an overview of how teachers can access and use their library. 

The day concluded at the Library of Virginia’s Special Collections with Tom Camden (Director of Special Collections) and Katie Gillespie (Education Coordinator).  During their presentation the Teaching Fellows were able to view some of the rarest of rare primary sources owned and housed at Virginia’a state library.

Click on the links below to learn more about each of the organizations mentioned above.

American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar
The Virginia Historical Society
The Library of Virginia 
Dr. Gary Gallagher
Thursday, 02 November 2006
"Coming to Terms with the Civil War"

Often teachers and students bemoan the memorization of dates in history. Out of context, they seem like factoids that can be looked up rather than necessary pieces of information to master. Perhaps dates aren't as important as sequence, and understanding major historical topics should center around a discussion concerning cause and effect.

Gary Gallagher of the University of Virginia explored one of these iconic topics in our last Teaching American History speaker series workshops titled "Teaching the United States during the Era of the Civil War: Themes and Strategies". This discussion probed into several key questions of the period, including "Why did the North and South come to violent blows? Which side won the battle for historical memory - and what has that meant?" 

Scott Nesbit
Friday, 27 October 2006
ImageAs a natural extension to October's speaker series topic, "The Geography of Slavery" the Teaching Fellows Program was treated to a presentation by Scott Nesbit, co-author of the "The Emancipation Project" on October 17th at the Virginia Center for Digital History.  In addition to sharing the progress of the project, Mr. Nesbit shared numerous ways historians "map" events and/or time periods to help people better visualize history.  These techniques include mapping vocabulary-usage against a timeline using a line-graph, plotting relationships between people and events using concept maps, and using Geographical Information Systems to digitally study spatial and temporal patterns.
Dr. Tom Costa
Sunday, 15 October 2006

Image“The Geography of Slavery”

Teaching emotional, sophisticated content themes like the role of slavery in American history can be a very difficult subject for teachers and students alike. By humanizing these iconic topics with primary source documents, the material can become more accessible than the easy stereotypes and (mis)understandings of this legacy.

On October 12, Dr. Tom Costa of the University of Virginia-Wise, lead author of "The Geography of Slavery in Virginia" project hosted by the Virginia Center for Digital History, shared his work and discussed these provocative questions from the point of view of both a scholar and a teacher.  This digital collection of advertisements for runaway and captured slaves and servants in 18th- and 19th-century Virginia newspapers allows users to build on the rich descriptions of individual slaves and servants in the ads. The project offers a personal, geographical and documentary context for the study of slavery in Virginia, from colonial times to the Civil War. You can access this archive here:

Podcast Part 1 - Part 2

Karenne Wood
Tuesday, 17 October 2006
ImageThe Jamestown Commemoration 
Historical Perspective with Karenne Wood

On September 12th the Teaching Fellows met on the campus of UVa at Aldermann Library.  Karenne Wood (Virginia Council on Indians) spoke to the teaching fellows about historical perspective and contemporary identity. Ms. Wood discussed the history of Indians in Virginia, the commemoration, not celebration of Jamestown, inaccurate portrayals of American Indians in text, film, and the SOL (American Indians are often treated as people of the past, but are part today’s American society).  She also discussed the role the Virginia Indians have had advising the 400th commemoration of Jamestown.  She concluded by providing an overview of methods teachers can use to respectfully teach about Native Americans.  For more information about instructional methods and future Virginia Indian events click on the link below.

Dr. Karen Kupperman
Saturday, 09 September 2006
"Why is Jamestown so controversial?"

Image Dr. Karen Kupperman of New York University focused on two questions during this engaging lecture.  The first is the way the Chesapeake Algonquians viewed the English and the founding of Jamestown, and the English interpretation of American Indian cultures.  Out of these views, all parties created varying visions of what relationships would be, and these visions were modified and adapted as events unfolded and experience accrued. 

The second topic was the early history of Jamestown itself and its problems. Through trial and error, leaders in America and Virginia Company members in England attempted to solve these problems, and ultimately did so in an innovative and important way.

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