American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

April 2004

On the Move…Again!

We are pleased to announce that the entire staff of the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning (ASHP/CML) and the New Media Lab is now located on the 7th floor of the CUNY Graduate Center.

After four years, the education programs of ASHP/CML have left its space in trendy Tribeca to join the rest of the project at 34th and Fifth. And if that wasn’t enough, the New Media Lab has relocated from our subterranean quarters on The Graduate Center’s C level to the 7th floor as well. We can all now be found in the neighborhood of room 7389, so please feel free to stop by!

Teaching Traditional American History Program: Historians and Teachers

Teachers from New York City’s Region 7 at a workshop
Teachers from New York City's Region 7 delving into workshop activities on the Civil War, on March 31, 2004 in Staten Island.
ASHP/CML’s Historians and Teachers faculty development program kicked off on March 5 with an enthusiastic group of 34 teachers from Region 7 of the New York City public schools. Professor Herbert Sloan of Barnard College lectured on “Was the Constitution a Democratic Document?” and the middle and high school teachers took part in lively analysis and discussion of documents from the ratification debates of 1787 and 1788.

The first in a series of five “retreats” designed to give teachers the opportunity to explore topics in U.S. history in the company of noted historians, this day-long session on the Constitution was followed by Long Island University professor Jeanie Attie, who spoke about ” The Civil War: From Secession to Gettysburg.” Future sessions of the program will include Professor Elizabeth Ewen on the Progressive Era (April 16), ASHP/CML Executive Director Joshua Brown on the Gilded Age (May 3), and Professor Komozi Woodard on the Civil Rights Movement (May 27). In late June, teachers will take part in a week-long summer institute where, guided by ASHP/CML staff, they will work in small groups to explore these topics in greater depth and develop lessons for use with their students.

Historians and Teachers is supported by the Teaching Traditional American History grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Young America: Experiences of Youth in U.S. History

ASHP/CML has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to fund full production of Young America: Experiences of Youth in U.S. History, an online teaching resource that will use the perspectives and experiences of children and youth to enhance the U.S. history survey taught in high school and college classrooms. Young America: Experiences of Youth in U.S. History, which will begin production this coming fall, will use the database and narrative strengths of digital media to present to teachers and students new scholarly work on the history of childhood and its relationship to major themes and eras in U.S. History. This online teaching and learning resource will present a wide range of evidence that highlights young people’s role in history as family members, students, workers, immigrants, pioneers, and activists. Young America: Experiences of Youth in U.S. History will also help students to understand the choices and methods that historians use when interpreting historical evidence and fashioning coherent and compelling historical narratives.

Learning to Look Faculty Development Program — Call for Participants

This summer a number of ASHP/CML Learning to Look (LtL) new media and pedagogy centers will conduct weeklong institutes on teaching with visual sources, followed by workshops and online communication throughout the year. As in previous summers, each LtL center will focus on ways that visual sources and new media pedagogy can enhance the teaching of various eras, subjects, and themes in U.S. history. Centers will also collaborate with local art and historical institutions to support broader goals and methods for teaching and learning about the past.

Learning to Look teachers participate in a workshop
Learning to Look teachers discuss visual art and object observation techniques for the humanities classroom.

Providing a mix of presentation, demonstration, and hands-on work, participants will engage with such topics as how to teach the Gilded Age using paintings and illustrations from the 1870s and looking at the Great Depression through New Deal murals. Interactive learner guides from ASHP/CML and the Center for History and New Media

(GMU)’s History Matters Web site will be introduced as teacher-friendly tools for interpreting evidence, featuring methods for examining photographs, letters and diaries, films, advertisements, and other online archival resources.

Launched in 2002 with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Learning to Look: Visual Evidence and the U.S. Past in the New Media Classroom involves a broad range of participants — teachers of U.S. history and culture, art historians, museum educators, and archivists — in an interdisciplinary conversation about visual evidence and the study, interpretation, and representation of the U.S. past.

Some centers are still accepting applications through June 2004. Go to for a list of center locations and contact information or email Donna Thompson Ray, project director:

Calendar: ASHP/CML Seminar, “Quagmire: The History of An Idea”

ASHP/CML, in cooperation with the Office of Continuing Education and Public Programs at The Graduate Center, will host a special seminar on Tuesday, April 27, 2004, on “Quagmire: The History of an Idea.” For more than a century, the U.S. military has marched off to engage in “splendid little wars” only to find itself mired in drawn-out occupations, contested by both the occupied populations and by critics at home. “Quagmire,”popularized as a metaphor during the war in Vietnam, has become a shorthand way to discuss recent imperial ventures gone awry. This public seminar will bring together historians and writers to explore the history of U.S. military intervention in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and its media representations at home, drawing links between past and present and providing historical context for the widely invoked idea of “quagmire.” Panelists will include Christian Appy, author of Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides; Mary A Renda, Associate Professor of History and Women’s Studies, Mount Holyoke College, and author of Taking Haiti: Military Occupation an the Culture of U.S. Imperialism; Marilyn Young, Professor of History, New York University, and author of The Vietnam Wars, 1945–1990; and Pennee Bender (Moderator), Associate Director, ASHP/CML. The event is free, and will take place from 6 to 8 pm in Room C-201 at The Graduate Center.