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NEH Summer Institute for School Teachers

2017 NEH Summer Institute for School Teachers
“American Women at War”
July 16-August 4, 2017
New-York Historical Society

Application deadline: March 1, 2017
Notification date: March 31, 2017

We invite you to apply to participate in our exciting, rigorous three-week summer institute for school teachers “American Women at War.” We will convene 30 educators, 24 of the nation’s most renowned historians, and the vast treasures of the New-York Historical Society’s collections for a three-week summer institute from July 16 – August 2, 2017. The Institute will engage you in groundbreaking new scholarship, dialogue with leaders in the field, deep primary source research, and meaningful curriculum projects to examine how  American women experienced and participated in wartime—politically, socially, and militarily; how military conflict shaped women’s roles in the nation; and how women’s histories enrich the classroom.

Despite widespread recognition that women are integral to considerations of the nation’s past, they still remain relatively absent from the popular American historical narrative. History is predominantly told from a male perspective in Social Studies textbooks, with notable women such as Susan B. Anthony and Eleanor Roosevelt peppered throughout.

In American Women at War, we will use the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II as case studies to provide a framework and materials for integrating women’s perspectives and experiences into classroom instruction. These historical episodes remain predominantly male narratives, particularly because they were military conflicts, with only token nods to contributions by and consequences for women. By applying a case study approach to these three critical turning points in American history, we ultimately aim to:

  • highlight women's centrality to broad historical developments;
  • explore how incorporating these histories into the larger narrative requires us to reconsider our understanding of the past;
  • help participants understand that notions about women's rights and roles are not timeless and universal but are always the product of particular historical circumstances; and
  • emphasize that there is no single “women’s history” but rather women’s histories that are influenced by contingencies such as race, class, marital status, and geography.

We will dedicate one week of the Institute to each conflict, progressing chronologically. This will enable us to achieve an appropriate balance of depth and breadth–one week will provide time to delve into each time period without being overwhelming given the limited amount of time the average curriculum allows for each topic. Further, focusing on a conflict from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries will allow us to reflect on changes over time.

The Institute is built upon the core of the New-York Historical Society (N-YHS)’s pedagogical methodology—the simple guiding premise that objects tell stories. Institute participants will enjoy direct access to original primary sources and will learn to lead object-based inquiry to leverage artifacts to communicate rich and complex American history content in the classroom.

In addition, we will greatly benefit from N-YHS’s groundbreaking new Center for Women’s History (opening March 2017), a unique, unprecedented initiative that will situate the diverse experiences of women in the American historical narrative writ large. Throughout the Institute, participants will visit the Center’s galleries and installations while learning how to use objects as interpretive historical tools that deepen and enliven the teaching and learning of history and incorporate women’s history into the classroom.

The Institute is further informed by N-YHS’s experience developing standards-based curriculum materials and helping teachers of all grade levels grow as educators and scholars. We will draw from rich curriculum materials developed in conjunction with major exhibitions and installations such as New York Divided: Slavery and the Civil War (2006), WWII & NYC (2012), and The Battle of Brooklyn (2016).

“Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.”

Creative: Tronvig Group