The National Humanities Center collaborates with partners, scholars, and subject matter experts to provide virtual courses that allow educators to explore a relevant topic over five to six weeks. Participants actively engage with course materials and colleagues, expand their own knowledge, skills, and dispositions, and develop customized educational resources.
About Our Instructors
Each course is developed with an established scholar in the field, who helps develop activities and provides resources for group discussions and individual research. Our goal is to facilitate a learning experience that will result in classroom-ready instructional materials. Our instructor pool is comprised of experienced, talented educators and scholars in humanities education.
The Oyster and the City: Environmental History in Turn-of-the-Century America
Food is a powerful way to enter environmental history. Food is always about stories: stories of family recipes and traditions; stories of hardship and survival; stories about blending traditions and creating new ones. And because food is produced in nature, it connects our most cultural stories to our dependence on the larger, nonhuman world. That is the essence of environmental history: locating humanity in the natural world. This course will use Library of Congress images as evidence, not merely as illustrations. Specifically, we will identify sources from the photo and written record created by the National Child Labor Committee Collection. Through Lewis Hine’s photographs of child laborers at work in canneries and oyster packinghouses, and in his written notes compiled in 30 reports held by the Library of Congress, we will emphasize links between city and country, between child labor and the nation’s cheapest and most abundant protein: oysters. Course Dates: January 13–February 25, 2020 Professional Development Hours: 30
Let’s Talk: Using the Humanities To Promote Civil Discourse In The Classroom
“Let’s Talk” provides disciplinary approaches to promoting civil discourse in the pre-collegiate course. Through this professional development course, teachers gain an understanding of the specific ways in which the humanities can open the conversation around civility and comity. The training draws from examples in history, philosophy, art history, literature, and politics. Teacher participants can create curricular connections and classroom activities that follow the same model. Course Dates: January 13–February 25, 2020 Professional Development Hours: 30
Cut The Bull! How the Humanities Can Help Develop Critical Media Literacy
In this five-week online course, educators will critically examine the ever-changing role of print, broadcast, and digital media through a humanities lens. Participants will investigate how media has evolved, how its messages shape our citizenry, and how it can be brought to life in a classroom setting. By using investigation, analysis, discussion, and reflection, participants will develop a classroom resource customized to their individual educational environments. The course content was inspired by and incorporates resources from “Calling Bull” by University of Washington professors Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West. Course Dates: January 13–February 25, 2020 Professional Development Hours: 30
From the Sixties to Now: Using Music to Explore Issues of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Contemporary American History
What do Gil Scott-Heron, Bikini Kill, and Beyonce all have in common? Their music offers a unique perspective on social movements and cultural revolutions during the second half of the twentieth century. The sounds they created—jazz, salsa, rock and roll, soul, hip hop—are a gateway into U.S. culture that represents multiple stakeholders and excites students in the process. This course will use music from the 1960s and to the near-present to explore issues of race, gender, and sexuality in twentieth-century America. “From The Sixties to Now” will feature content from the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation’s collaboration with the CNN Soundtracks series available free to participants at teachrock.org. Course Dates: March 9–April 21, 2020 Professional Development Hours: 30
The use of geospatial technologies allows the interactions of place, space, time, and scale to be more obvious to teachers and students. Often, when teaching about historical events, there is an over-emphasis on chronology without strong enough consideration given to geography. The use of geospatial technologies allows interactions of place, space, time, and scale to be more obvious, allowing students to develop the ability to answer not only “where?” but “why there?” “GIS in the Humanities Classroom” will introduce participants to the transformative power of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Over five weeks, the course will detail approaches to embedding geospatial technology in existing classroom instruction, as well as methods for using geography to enrich humanities narratives. By focusing on inquiry-based instruction, the course will provide insights into the ways that GIS tools contribute to a deeper understanding of humanities subjects. Course Dates: March 9–April 21, 2020 Professional Development Hours: 30