I planned on writing a new update once I found out if I would be presenting papers at the 2020 Congress. If you are aware of the conference cycle timeline, you know that presenters find out about their papers in March. And you know what happened in March...
In January of this year, I started a new video series "Imagining a New We," which was designed to help K-12 teachers think about their teaching more inclusive, meaningful, and transformative ways for their students.
When we went into quarantine in March 2020, I didn't know what to do with that series. What will history education look like when we are dealing with a global pandemic?
In asking this question, I started to get answers. Or at least, discussions around the question.
By asking this question on my little YouTube channel, I started the Pandemic Pedagogy video series where I have talked to almost 40 people in the history and history education fields about three things:
Whether their ideas about history changed during the pandemic
Whether they think teaching history will change after this pandemic
Whether they think we can 'imagine a new 'we'' - a concept I discuss in my new book - during or after this moment.
I've spoken with teachers from grade 2 to grade 10. I've spoken with academic and public historians. Archivists and creators. Social Studies and History educator educators from Canada, US, and Australia. History professors and museum curators.
The conversations are available on YouTube and as a podcast. They conversations have been so enriching during this time of confusion and anxiety. The connections I've made meant we have been able to talk about many of the issue of anti-Black racism that the Black Lives Matter protests have (re)affirmed before, during, and after the protests - because this work is long-term work, both before and after the protests.
I wrote about the series early on in a blog post for ActiveHistory.ca. At the end of the series, I talked about key themes at a virtual conference hosted the The Tattooed Historian. While the 35th video posted on June 30th will be the last, I am currently working with series' participants on an open eBook (and OER) with the transcripts. Stay tuned!
(I'm also working on a fall series! So stay tuned for that too!.)
If you've followed my work, you know that teaching and learning histories of Black people and experiences has been an underlying focus. You may also know my purpose of teaching history is to TRANSFORM - to make the world a better place because of the stories and ideas we learn from the past. These two things are inextricably interwoven because when you know history, especially the histories that have been marginalized, you WANT to change the world with the stories of resistance, resilience, and survival. Because, if you're not doing history to make change, then what the f*** are you doing it for? As was the case before this moment, this will continue to be the main thrust of my work moving into the future.
Keep an eye out for more blog posts, articles, and videos because nothing will be normal after this and we should get ahead of the curve to help plot the world we want.
I began this academic year signing another contract with the Office of the Vice Provost Academic at York University as a Program Development and Curriculum Innovation Specialist. This commitment has resulted in managing long-term projects curriculum projects that support departments and faculties with revisioning their curriculum to be innovative, student-centric, and future-focused. This new commitment also came with a new work space more constitutive for visual mapping and collaboration. I am looking forward to putting my personal stamp on in as we move further into fall!
In other news, the July 5th event at the Wilson Institute for Canadian History, McMaster University, about teaching history precarious times will result in an edited collection published by McGill-Queen's University Press. The collection will be edited by myself and Dr. Mary Chaktsiris. There is currently a call for papers and teaching reflections due in early-winter. I look forward to working with both teachers and academics on this collection.
Finally, I currently have submitted two papers, and am included in one symposium proposal, for the CSSE Annual Conference at Congress 2020. If accepted, these contributions will explore such themes as poststructuralism and commemoration, whiteness and history education, and visual literacy and graphic novels. I will also be proposing some research we have been doing at York on higher education curriculum revision, but CFPs for these works are not yet out.
Since January of this year, I’ve been working with the Associate Vice-President Teaching and Learning at York University on innovative Experiential Education curriculum. Of particular interest are the questions related to equity and access of EE opportunities for students who work part- (and full-) time along with their full-time studies.
I’ve also been continuing my work as a Curriculum Specialist in the Office of the Vice Provost Academic, York University, assisting departments and faculties with revisioning their curriculum to be more student-centric and learning objectives focused.
On June 19, I have the honour to close the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada symposium, "Commemorating Canada: The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada at 100" by sharing my thoughts on innovating commemoration in Canada for the next 100 years. You can RSVP to attend in person or online.
On July 5, I’ll also be talking at the Wilson Institute for Canadian History, McMaster University about teaching history, meaningfully, in "precarious times." Visit their website for more information.