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Indiana University Bloomington
Social Movements in Modern America: Labor, Civil Rights, and Feminism
NEH Summer Institute for School Teachers, July 11-31, 2010
Dear Colleague Letter
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Dear Colleague:

We invite you to participate in “Social Movements in Modern America: Labor, Civil Rights, and Feminism,” a three-week summer institute on teaching the history and cultural impact of these important collective movements in the twentieth century, to be held from July 11 to July 31, 2010 at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

Our Institute’s Subject and Goals

For many Americans, social movements are seen as unwelcome intrusions into the peaceful functioning of American society.  Strikes, demonstrations, riots, boycotts, and radical demands all seem unnecessary.  Our representative system of government provides for change through elections.  If people are discontented with public policy as it applies to labor, civil rights, or gender issues, they can vote new decision-makers into office.  And yet, America was born through a massive social movement known as the American Revolution.  The nation’s founding document and its ringing declaration that “all men are created equal” have inspired social movements to hold America to its revolutionary promise since that time.  In their own distinctive ways, the labor, civil rights, and feminist movements reformulated this slogan to meet changing times and social needs.
Over the past several decades, state history/social studies teaching standards have also changed to reflect the role that these movements played in transforming the country. Teachers are now regularly required to teach students about the history of civil rights, the women’s movement of the 1960s and 70s, and the labor movements of workers and farmers during the twentieth century.  Rather than attributing social change solely to established political leaders, these standards encourage students to recognize that ordinary people marching in the streets and forming picket lines can make history.  At the same time, resistance to emphasizing these social movements in the curriculum continues, most likely because the topic can be painful and divisive.

Our NEH summer institute will enhance your teaching curriculum with respect to modern American social movements in a number of ways.  Most fundamentally, the institute will help you understand the pivotal role that social movements have played in changing public policy in the United States over the last century.  Moreover, the institute will acquaint you with the latest scholarship on these three social movements—labor, civil rights, and feminism—which you are unlikely to have encountered in your teacher training.  Recent historical scholarship reveals at least three general ways to enhance these topics for your secondary school students.  First, historians now emphasize the diversity and complexity of each of these movements.  In each case, a variety of sometimes conflicting organizations, perspectives, and leaders made up each movement.  And yet teaching tends to focus only on the dominant current within each movement.  Second, the interconnections between these three movements have received renewed attention.  Historians are finding more and more ways in which these movements cross-fertilized each other, but the connections are often missed by teachers.  For instance, recent scholarship on Betty Friedan, the central founder of the National Organization for Women has found that her work for CIO unions like the United Electrical Workers during the 1940s was a formative experience for the development of her feminist ideas. Third, social movement scholarship has taken note of the extent to which each of these movements faced organized resistance.  It is easy for young people today to forget that as reasonable as Martin Luther King, Jr. may seem to us today, in his own day he was viewed as a dangerous agitator.

Our Institute’s Faculty

The institute will be co-directed by Edward G. Carmines, the Warner O. Chapman Professor and Rudy Professor of political science and research director for the Center on Congress at Indiana University Bloomington, and John Bodnar, Chancellor's Professor of history and co-director of the Center for the Study of History and Memory at IU Bloomington. Bodnar is also director of IU's Institute of Advanced Study.  Four core faculty will join Carmines and Bodnar in conducting the institute: Carl Weinberg, labor history scholar and editor of the Organization of American Historians Magazine, one of the premier publications on the teaching of history on both the secondary and university levels; Jennifer Maher, senior lecturer in the Department of Gender Studies at IU Bloomington and author of numerous articles, essays and reviews that deal with the women's movement; Jeffrey Ogbonna Green Ogbar, an IU graduate who is now associate professor of history and director of the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Connecticut; and Purdue University Professor Lynn Nelson, a specialist on the teaching of history and civic education on the secondary level.

Our Institute’s Format

The institute will open with a working meal session on Sunday, July 11, focusing on the nature, history, and impact of social movements in the United States.  This session is organized as a roundtable with our institute faculty led by co-directors John Bodnar and Edward Carmines.   We will then devote one week to each of the social movements: week one to labor, week two to civil rights, and week three to feminism.  Each week of the institute will have a master teacher in residence who will have primary responsibility for organizing and directing all teaching and related activities associated with that particular social movement.  If you are recruited for this institute, you will attend lectures, participate in classroom discussions, analyze essential primary sources, complete reading assignments, watch documentary films, visit historic sites, and develop curricular materials focusing on these social movements.  In the latter part of each week, when you have a grasp of the sources and themes of the social movement under study, Professor Nelson will work closely with you to discuss strategies for teaching that social movement and recommend approaches for developing your curricular materials.  The institute will conclude on July 31 with another working meal roundtable led by Professors Carmines and Bodnar, where you will discuss the themes of the institute with the core faculty and share your ideas for bringing what you have learned back to the classroom.  Following the institute, you will be able to stay in touch with the other teachers via an Institute website.  You will be able to post lesson plans you have developed and continue the conversation about strategies for using them effectively in the classroom.

Our Institute’s Requirements and Resources

Our three-week summer institute will accommodate 25 participants and provides a stipend of $2,700 to offset travel and living expenses.  You will be expected to attend all institute classes and events, and to complete all readings and projects assigned by institute faculty.  Three institute spaces are available for full-time graduate students who intend to pursue careers in K-12 teaching.  If qualified graduate students cannot be found, those spaces will be filled by teachers selected from the applicant pool.  This NEH Summer Institute invites applications from school teachers in social studies or related disciplines (i.e., government, history, or other fields where the topic of this institute would be relevant to your teaching) in grades 9 through 12.  Full-time teachers in schools, whether public, private, or church-affiliated, are eligible to apply.   For more information on eligibility, see the application information and instructions included with this letter.

The intellectually rigorous agenda of our institute will be supported by Indiana University’s outstanding collection of resources, enhanced by easy access to Web-based information.  On the Bloomington campus, in addition to our outstanding research library system, sites of particular relevance to the institute are the Archives of African American Music & Culture, the Black Film Center/Archive, the School of Education Library, the Law Library, the Lilly rare books Library, the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Library, the Kinsey Institute library, and the oral history archive of the Center for the Study of History and Memory.  These collections include extensive resources in manuscripts, journals, maps, films, art, and sound recordings.  You will be provided a guest account that will enable you to use the university libraries and the IU computer system.  You will also receive a pre-paid printing allotment of 300 pages at the library, and a core set of texts for the institute.  The cost of additional copies and any other required texts will be your responsibility.

During the institute, you will live on the IU-Bloomington campus, cited as one of the five most beautiful university campuses in the nation.  You will be housed in Willkie Quad, a newly renovated dormitory with air-conditioned, fully furnished, spartan but functional rooms with both Ethernet and wireless Internet access.  The two-bedroom suites share a common bathroom.  Bed linens and towels are included in the cost, which has not been finalized at this writing, but will be approximately $48 per person per night.  The campus offers a variety of dining options, and there are many off-campus restaurants within reach on foot or by means of the excellent bus system.

Upon successful completion of the summer institute “Social Movements in Modern America: Labor, Civil Rights, and Feminism,” you will earn professional development points (PDPs or CEUs) according to the guidelines of your own school districts.   An easy, online form will be available so that you can print your certificate.  If needed, Indiana University also will provide a letter to your school district stating that you successfully earned credits.

Our Institute’s Application Procedures

Complete application information and instructions are included with this letter.  The application consists of three copies each of the following: a completed cover sheet, filled out online and printed out from www.neh.gov/online/education/participants; a resume or brief biography; two letters of recommendation; and a four-page, double-spaced essay.  Perhaps the most important part of the application is the essay.  This essay should include your reasons for applying to the institute; your relevant personal and academic information; your qualifications to do the work of the institute and make a contribution to it; what you hope to accomplish; and the relation of the study to your teaching.  You may also submit your application in PDF format—one cover sheet, resume/biography, and essay—instead of by post.  Electronically submitted recommendation letters should be sent separately by their writers in PDF format on letterhead.

Your completed application should be postmarked no later than March 2, 2010, and should be addressed as follows:

Dr. Barbara Truesdell
Center for the Study of History and Memory
400 North Sunrise Drive
Weatherly Hall North, Room 122
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405

Electronic submissions must be received as email attachments to barbara@indiana.edu by midnight of March 2, 2010; incomplete applications will not be considered.  Please consult our website at www.indiana.edu/~inst2010 for more detailed information about the schedule of events, our faculty, accommodations, and travel.  You can direct any additional questions to Dr. Truesdell by emailing barbara@indiana.edu or calling 812/855-2856.

We look forward to meeting you and studying these pivotal social movements with you.



John Bodnar
Edward Carmines

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Indiana University

107 S. Indiana Ave. Bloomington, IN 47405-7000
Phone: (812) 855-4848

Last updated: 02 February 2010
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