American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

ASHP Newsletter: April 2020

ASHP Teaching Resources: Help for Remote Teaching in the Time of COVID-19

As COVID-19 requires educators and parents to move classes online and adjust to social distancing, the American Social History Project wants to remind you of some of the resources we have available. We hope that you will encourage your colleagues, friends, family, students, and others to explore these and other materials through our website.

If you are looking for historical parallels or materials to help better contextualize the national and local responses to the current pandemic, check out:

  • Epidemics in U.S. History, a curated collection of documents and online resources on topics from the 1918 flu epidemic, AIDS, to the history of medicine in the U.S. more broadly, complete with questions for discussion and reflection
  •  Virtual New York City, an online exhibit about the ways that disasters – storms, riots, fires, and disease – have shaped the city’s policies, politics, and the lives of people since the 19th century.

Many ASHP resources were developed in collaboration with teachers and can be incorporated into learning exercises for students from middle school through college.

  • HERB this extensive collection of primary source materials, along with classroom activities geared toward middle and high school students
  • Picturing U.S. History is particularly useful for high school and college teachers hoping to enliven online teaching with visual evidence
  • Investigating U.S. History offers interactive lessons designed for use in college-level U.S. history classes.  A great way to encourage students to ‘do’ history by analyzing and interpreting primary source materials on topics including strikes during the Great Depression, Emancipation, and women’s suffrage
  • History Matters offers over one thousand primary source documents with contextual headnotes, annotated links to web resources, interpretive guides and other resources to help high school and college-level students actively interpret evidence about the lives of ordinary Americans  
  • Mission US features five games that give players the chance to experience history and confront the choices that young people might have faced at critical moments in the past.  If you want a more robust learning experience, educators’ guides and supplementary materials also are available.

Documentary films: a great source of education and entertainment for students, teachers, and restless family members.  These 30-minute programs cover a range of topics including African American migration from the South, U.S. Imperialism and the Spanish American War, and the Great Uprising of railroad workers to protest corporate greed and pitiful working conditions. All stream online for free.  A teaching guide and relevant HERB lessons are linked to each video.

Lost Museum:  if you are feeling stuck inside and want to wander through an 1860s museum and learn about antebellum New York for a few hours, check out this online three-dimensional re-creation of P. T. Barnum’s American Museum and solve the mystery.

Finally, ASHP’s collection of podcasts presents lectures and panels featuring some of the country’s leading scholars.  Going back to 2009, the collection is searchable by topics and is particularly strong on themes related to the Visual Culture of the Civil War, U.S. Immigration history, and Latino/a history. The most recent episode draws from the series “Monuments of the Future: Alternative Approaches."

A New Collection Available at CUNY Digital History Archive

The Fight for Asian American Studies at Hunter College Collection documents the history and activism surrounding the Asian American Studies Program (AASP). The program was established in response to years of student and faculty demand dating back to 1970 when Dr. Betty Lee Sung taught the first Asian American studies courses at City College. For years, students, faculty, staff, and community members agitated for classes and programs and sought to raise the visibility of Asian American Studies at CUNY and in NY.  Finally in 1993 Hunter established an Asian American Studies program and named Peter Kwong its inaugural director. As items from the collection show, many of the AASP’s early projects and programming were dedicated to amplifying Asian American artists and writers, women’s and feminist issues, and issues of labor and migration. 

The CUNY Digital History Archive presents online access to hundreds of primary documents in over twenty collections related to the history of CUNY. These collections explore a wide range of topics, from the convening of CCNY’s Rapp-Coudert Committee in the 1940s, which resulted in the firing of over fifty faculty members, to the activities of Occupy CUNY as they confronted rising tuition costs, education debt, and police violence in the 2010s. 

All of ASHP’s Work Goes On . . .

Fortunately, all of our staff are able to work fully from home. So writing, designing, and programming continues on Who Built America? Open Educational Resource, which is scheduled to be completed in 2021. Two Mission US projects are also in production. Mission 6, Prisoner in My Homeland on the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II is nearing completion.  It will be released by the end of April and introduced to teachers with a webinar shortly thereafter. Mission 7, No Turning Back, on the 1960s voting rights struggle in Mississippi is currently being scripted. We recently began working with a group of scholars and educators on contract with the New York City Department of Education to assist in developing K-12 teaching materials on LGBTQ+ history. Work on our NEH summer institute, Visual Culture of the Civil War and Its Aftermath, has been progressing and we are currently awaiting guidance from NEH on if and how we can host the two-week seminar this summer. The New Media Lab continues to assist students with their projects and hold virtual meetings. 

In These Extraordinary Times

We are interested in learning more about ASHP/CML’s supporters and the programs and resources that engage you. Our mission is to make social history resources available to students and teachers, so if you can’t find something please let us know.  Share, like, and tweet our resources with others; and download, rate, and review the podcasts for other potential listeners. Please give us feedback on your use of ASHP resources by completing this brief survey. Your responses will help us to better serve you.