American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

June 2003

Learning To Look Launches National Network of Summer Institutes

How might illustrations by Frederic Remington, paintings by Alfred Bierstadt, and sculptures by Edmonia Lewis help advance our understanding of the frontier past? What can students learn from a nineteenth-century slave narrative set alongside J. T. Zealy’s 1850 photographic portraits of Columbia, South Carolina, slaves “Delia” and “Jack”? And what questions about the past does such evidence leave unanswered?

The study of visual sources has advanced in significant ways in recent years due in large part to the development of multimedia technologies such as the Internet. Simultaneously, cross-disciplinary collaborations among scholars studying and educators teaching American history and culture have improved students’ ability to interpret and contextualize visual sources. This summer, ASHP/CML’s national network of new media and pedagogy centers will undertake a promising course of study for improving teaching about the past through the use of visual sources.

With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Learning to Look: Visual Evidence and the U.S. Past in the New Media Classroom is engaging a broad range of participants — teachers of U.S. history and culture, art historians, museum educators, and archivists — in an interdisciplinary dialogue that provides participating faculty with: 1) a sense of the scope and nature of visual sources available on the World Wide Web, including illustration, painting, public art, photography, advertising, and film; 2) an understanding of the interpretive questions scholars ask of visual sources; and 3) models for how to use visual sources to enhance students’ understanding of American history and culture.

Located on ten high school and college/university campuses around the country, Learning to Look (LtL) centers will conduct weeklong summer seminars on teaching with visual sources, followed by workshops and online communication throughout the year. Each center will address the theme of visual sources and new media pedagogy through various themes in American history, including life and culture in the 1920s and 30s, multicultural studies, African/African American history, and regional history. Each LtL center will also consult with local art, historical, and cultural institutions to add a new collaborative aspect to this program, combining LtL’s broad goals with its own particular regional and/or thematic focus.

Providing a mix of presentation, demonstration, and hands-on work, participants will engage with such topics as how to teach slavery using paintings and illustrations from the antebellum period and looking at the early national period through portraits of George Washington. 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 source materials.

Some centers are still accepting applications for summer institutes through June 2003. Go to for a list of center locations and contact information or email Donna Thompson Ray, project director:

The September 11 Digital Archive Makes History!

In May, 2003 the Library of Congress announced that The September 11 Digital Archive — a joint project of ASHP/CML and CHNM funded by the Sloan Foundation — will become the first digital acquisition in the Library’s history. This unprecedented accession to the institution’s holdings, scheduled for December 2003, will ensure both the long-term stability and future accessibility of the Archive’s collection. Based on a recognition that the “historical record” is no longer purely made of paper, but also of email, Web sites, digital photos, online discussion forums, and other electronic forms of communication, The September 11 Digital Archive uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the history of the attacks and the outpouring of public responses to them. The September 11 Digital Archive addresses not only the history of the event itself, but larger questions of how the emergence of new electronic media and networks will change the collection, preservation, and writing of history. The Archive’s far-reaching collection of over 200,000 digital object has received extensive coverage in a variety of media outlets, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, and NPR.

Making Connections Funded to Work With New Small Schools

JPMorganChase awarded ASHP/CML a $10,000 grant to support our teacher professional development work with new small schools in New York City. This one-year grant for the 2003 calendar year is enabling us to provide support to humanities teachers in the areas of content, pedagogy, and curriculum development at a July 2003 Summer Institute.

Grant Enriches The September 11 Digital Archive

ASHP — in collaboration with the Museum of Chinese in the Americas, the Columbia University Oral History Research Office, and NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program and Institute — is pleased to announce the receipt of a $150,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation for the Chinatown Documentation Project (CDP). The CDP aims, through facilitated dialogues and recorded oral histories, to foster thoughtful community conversations and reflections on the consequences of September 11 for Chinatown and its residents. The CDP will present these dialogues and oral histories over the Internet so that they might serve as a resource for the community’s articulation of its identity and defining of its future. The materials gathered will extend the mission of The September 11 Digital Archive and enrich its already broad collection.

New Jersey Turnpike Web Site Gets Honorable Mention

New Jersey Turnpike Web Site

In 2002 The New Jersey Historical Society commissioned ASHP/CML to create a Web site based on its popular What Exit: New Jersey and Its Turnpike exhibit. The American Association of Museums recently awarded the site an honorable mention.

Calendar: Upcoming Conference: Innovations in Collaboration: A School-University Model to Enhance History Teaching

On June 26-28, 2003 The American Historical Association, National Council for the Social Studies, and Organization of American Historians will co-sponsor the Innovations in Collaboration conference to showcase model programs where K-12 and university educators are working together in innovative ways to enhance the teaching of history. 130 individuals from elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, and museums are expected to present at this conference, including Eric Foner of Columbia University, a long-time advisor and Board member of ASHP.

For more than a decade, ASHP/CML has nurtured collaborations between college faculty and secondary school history teachers, helping them incorporate new scholarship and active learning methods into their classrooms. ASHP/CML will be presenting a session called Critical Inquiry and Collaborative Professional Development: Models from the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning, where we will illustrate the approach we have taken to building successful partnerships and strengthening teaching and learning in American history classrooms.

Panel Presenters: Eliza Fabillar, Education Co-Director, ASHP/CML; William Friedheim, Associate Professor of History, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY; Angela Darrenkamp, Social Studies Teacher, Phoenixville Area Middle School, Pennsylvania.

Calendar: Labor at The Crossroads Summer Schedule

After fifteen years Labor at the Crossroads, New York’s only monthly labor program about issues affecting working people, is discontinuing production. Labor at the Crossroads, better known as LABOR X, began in 1988 as a collaboration between ASHP/CML and the CUNY Association for Worker Education. Over its fifteen years, succeeding LABOR X producers Liz Sheehan, Tami Gold, and Simin Farkhondeh and executive producer Steve Brier produced more than seventy programs on topics such as immigrant and gay and lesbian worker rights, racism on the job, NAFTA and GATT, various union organizing drives, prison labor, and sweatshops. Although we are unable to continue to produce the series, LABOR X programs will remain available for sale and distribution.

This summer Labor at the Crossroads will air several documentaries by a range of labor media producers. See program descriptions and airdates for the New York area below:

“Chicago Muzahaira: Stop Attacks on Immigrants.” On February 15, 2003, a significant anti-war demonstration took place in Chicago¹s Pakistani neighborhood in tandem with international actions. A coalition of 100 organizations planned the event, which significantly differed from earlier protests because it took place where working people and immigrants live. The “muzahaira” on Devon Avenue showed the grassroots basis of the Chicago movement against the war. Produced by Labor Beat, 2003.

In all five New York boroughs on CUNY-TV (Cable Channel 75) are
Wednesday, June 18 at 10:00 AM, 3:00PM, 8:00PM
Saturday, June 21 at 8:00 PM and
Sunday, June 22 at 10:00 AM

“Labor and the New Imperialism.” Chicago trade unionists discuss their opposition to the Iraq war. With Steve Edwards, President of AFSCME 2858; Mark Position, Recording Secretary. Teamsters Local 705; Cynthia Rodriguez, Vice President, SEIU Local 73; Barry Romo, National Coordinator VVAW and Shop Steward, National Postal Mailhandlers Union; James Thwinda, Executive Director, Chicago Jobs with Justice; and Katie Jordan. Produced by Labor Beat, 2003.

In all five New York boroughs on CUNY-TV (Cable Channel 75)
Wednesday, July 16 at 10:00 AM, 3:00PM, 8:00PM
Saturday, July 19 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, July 20 at 10:00 AM

“Italy Stopped Italy Protest, Part I.” After the elections of summer of 2001 in Italy, the new government led by Silvio Berlusconi launched an attack on more than 50 years of gains achieved by Italian workers. The major focus of the attack was to abolish Article 18 of the Worker¹s Statute, which forces employers to take back any worker who has been fired without just cause. This two-part program looks at the massive struggle by trade unions to oppose the government. Produced by Stefano Stefani/Atelier Distribuzione in collaboration with l’Unitá of Italy.

Wednesday, August 20 at 10:00 AM, 3:00PM, 8:00PM
Saturday, August 23 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, August 24 at 10:00 AM