American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

March 2015

Join Us April 30th for a Talk by Martha Biondi on Her Book The Black Revolution on Campus

The Black Revolution on Campus cover
Historian Martha Biondi of Northwestern University will discuss her work on the Black Power movements on campuses across the country and the rise of African-American Studies programs. Her research includes case studies of several universities, including CUNY’s Brooklyn College. Thursday, April 30, 2015 6 – 8 pm, Skylight Room, 9th Floor of The Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY.

City of Immigrants—New Mission US Game Premiers

February 11, 2015 marked the launch of the fourth Mission US digital role-playing game. This series of free online games is created to engage middle and high school students in the exploration and understanding of U.S. history. “City of Immigrants” supports the study of immigration, the labor movement, and cultural identity in the American History curriculum. Players take on the role of Lena Brodsky, a Russian Jewish teen who has immigrated to New York City in 1907. As Lena makes the Lower East Side her home, she struggles to help support her family and finds herself in the middle of the growing labor movement.

City of Immigrants Mission US 4 screenshot
As young people play “City of Immigrants,” they gain important insights into the struggle for safe working conditions, fair wages, and the right to bargain collectively. At the same time, they experience the challenges of cultural differences, assimilation, and prejudice. Players will interact with a variety of characters, from factory supervisors to family and religious leaders, who all had roles in creating America’s labor movement and strong communities in New York. As they assume the role of Lena, players must decide: Does she dare speak up and stand up for workers’ rights? Can she continue to support her family? Players will make choices and experience the consequences of those choices – the same choices immigrants grappled with as they made their way in the United States.

Register Now: Bridging Historias Conference

Bridging Historias: Latino/a History and Culture in the Community College Classroom
Friday, May 8, 2015 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Elebash Recital Hall, The Graduate Center, CUNY 365 Fifth Avenue, NYC

Since fall 2013, ASHP-CML has been working with thirty-eight community college faculty and administrators to assist them in incorporating material on Latino history and culture into their community college curricula. This project has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Join us for an exciting culminating full-day conference, in which we will hear from top scholars in the field, further our learning, and share classroom approaches and activities on this important topic. The keynote speaker will be Vicki Ruiz, Dean, School of Humanities, University of California, Irvine. Faculty participants will offer panels, roundtable discussions, workshops, and poster sessions. Bring your lessons, your curiosity, your creativity and join in this conversation.
Click here for full program and registration.

Zoom In is recruiting History Teachers

Zoom In Logo

ASHP-CML has been partnering with the Education Development Center to develop Zoom In, an online platform to support literacy-rich instruction in history classrooms. For its first large-scale field study this school year, Zoom In is recruiting and building cohorts of teachers throughout the country and is interested in enrolling history teachers who would like to incorporate new technologies into their classrooms.

For more information on Zoom In, and if you are interested in piloting the program, visit or contact Noah Goodman at

CUNY Digital History Archive

CUNY Digital History Archive (CDHA) Logo
The CUNY Digital History Archive (CDHA) is an open, participatory, digital repository and portal that gives the CUNY community and the broader public online access to a range of archival materials related to the history of the City University of New York. This effort involves coordination and collaboration with college libraries and archives that house significant historical collections. The CDHA will conduct and collect oral history interviews as well as accept historical materials and records held by individuals who have, in diverse ways, contributed to CUNY. The project involves faculty, staff, students, activists, archivists, librarians, retirees, and alumni. One collection currently being built is on Civil Rights and Open Admissions on CUNY campuses, 1960s – 1970s so let us know if you or your CUNY college have relevant material on the subject. CDHA is conducted under the auspices of the American Social History Project-Center for Media and Learning at the CUNY Graduate Center. Sign up to get involved!

Visualizing the American Civil War—An NEH Summer Institute

During two weeks in July, the American Social History Project-Center for Media and Learning hosted a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on “The Visual Culture of the American Civil War” at the CUNY Graduate Center and cultural institutions in the New York area. The 2014 institute built on the work established in our 2012 NEH Civil War Summer Institute.

Attended by thirty NEH Summer Scholars from colleges and universities across the country, the institute featured presentations, discussions, visits to local archives and museums, and hands-on workshops that focused on the era’s visual media to assess how information and opinion about the war were recorded and disseminated, and to consider ways visual media expressed and shaped Americans’ understanding on both sides of the conflict.

NEH summer scholars and faculty at the CUNY Graduate Center.

The institute featured talks by fourteen noted historians, art historians, and archivists representing the range of current work in the field. The topics included Civil War photography of the home front and war front, interdisciplinary methods for researching and teaching the Civil War, the illustrated press, images of slavery and antislavery, political cartoons, the paintings of Winslow Homer, the vision of total war, and public monuments (the full schedule of activities and speakers is available here). Building on the information and resources discussed and viewed at the institute, the participants also worked independently on their own research and teaching projects utilizing visual evidence to enhance understanding of the history of the war.

Teaching American History: The End of an Era

Cake baked by TAH teacher Eve Creary for final TAH seminar on August 19, 2014

On August 19, 2014, ASHP-CML led its final Teaching American History (TAH) professional development workshop, hosted by the Museum of the City of New York. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the TAH program directed significant resources toward professional development for K-12 teachers of U.S. History around the country. This funding enabled ASHP-CML and many other cultural and university partners to work with local school districts and teachers.

Our first TAH workshop took place in Staten Island on March 5, 2004, and TAH-funded professional development programs have had a major impact on ASHP-CML over the past decade. In all, 11 current and former ASHP-CML staff members (Ellen Noonan, Frank Poje, Leah Potter, Isa Vasquez, Donna Thompson Ray, Madeleine Lopez, Abigail Lewis, Leah Nahmias, Ellen Zitani, Michele James, and Peter Mabli) worked independently and with seven partner organizations (Education Development Center, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Historical Society, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Queens College Program in Social Studies Education, Paley Center for Media, Museum of the City of New York) to plan and present a whopping 286 seminar and summer institute days for more than 500 New York City teachers (and a few in Pennsylvania). Beyond the prodigious human effort those numbers represent, TAH programs stretched ASHP-CML’s professional development work in new directions. We learned a great deal from our partners and teachers, and worked with large groups of middle school and elementary level educators for the first time. We also adapted our materials and approaches to the needs of English Language Learners (ELLs), special education students, and, eventually, to align with the Common Core standards. From TAH work grew the impetus and resources to create HERB: Social History for Every Classroom. So we raise a toast to TAH and await the next chapter in ASHP-CML’s K-12 professional development programs.

Staff Changes

In May 2014, Leah Potter departed ASHP-CML to begin work at Electric Funstuff, our game design partners on the Mission US series of online games. Leah made substantial contributions to ASHP-CML’s history education and professional development work, playing a central role in the design and implementation of our Teaching American History professional development programs, HERB: Social History for Every Classroom website, and Who Built America Badges for History Education online professional development program. She will be sorely missed, though we are glad to continue our collaboration with her on Mission U.S.

Peter Mabli
In June, we welcomed Peter Mabli to our staff as Assistant Director of Online Professional Development. Peter brings with him extensive online teaching experience and an interest in public humanities. He has worked as both a high school social studies teacher and an adjunct professor of history at Fairleigh Dickinson University and the College of Saint Elizabeth. He is currently working on a Ph.D. in U.S. History at Drew University, specializing in food and American identity in the early national period. Peter works on the Zoom In, and Badges faculty development projects.