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All Submissions are due by September 27, 2021.
In June of 1827, the famed German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote a letter to a friend that included a poem entitled United States. The poem opens with the lines
“America, you are better off/ Than our ancient continent.” Goethe suggested that in America history could begin anew, unencumbered by the past and its “ruined
castles” and “useless memories.” Released from historical burdens, America contained the promise of freedom and democracy.
Not long after Goethe proclaimed America a beacon of hope, Frederick Douglass declared it a land of unfulfilled desires for millions of enslaved people. The country remained firmly within the grips of history. In his autobiography, Douglass asked, “Why am I a slave? Why are some people slaves and others masters? Was there ever a time when this was not so? How did this relation commence?” For Douglass, realizing the aspirations of the country demanded a political practice of agitation. Writing in 1857, he argued, “The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of struggle.” The American community was, in fact, several communities each operating within its own historical context.
How communities define themselves, interact with one another, and change over time has been a subject of examination for thousands of years. In ancient Athens, women and foreigners were inextricably woven into the fabric of daily life but barred from participating in the practice of political life. This tension was exposed in the plays of Aristophanes and Aeschylus as the people of Athens attempted to struggle with their own limitations and glimpse an alternative vision of community. In the 1960s, the struggles of Mexican laborers in the fields of California produced a worker’s rights movement and helped to forge a broader ethnic identity. Today, Hispanics make up nearly 1/5 of the U.S. population but this label fails to capture the complex political, cultural, and ethnic identities it purports to represent. Distinct communities exist within larger ones and form around a variety of factors: political, racial, ethnic, sexual, economic. These communities offer a sense of identity, recognition, and purpose but are never static or easy to define making this subject ripe for study.
The National Council for History Education invites proposals on the theme “Historical Communities of Promise and Practice” for the 2022 National Conference. All proposals will be evaluated by their intellectual content, their ability to engage the audience, and their overall contribution to the teaching of history.
Criteria for Program Selection:
Breakout Session topics are typically interactive “how to” sessions designed for the K-12 educator and are 50-minutes in length.
Mini Session topics range from teaching ideas to research reports. Presenters have 15 minutes to present information and answer questions. Each Mini Session typically includes three separate 15-minute presentations in the same room within a 50-minute time period.
Poster Session topics range from teaching ideas to research reports. Poster presenters display their information visually (ex. poster/display board) on a desktop and interact with interested attendees during the 50-minute session. Presenters remain with their posters. The Poster Session period may include 8-15 simultaneous presenters.