Summer 2017 History and Literature Seminar 

On May 23, 2017

This July, introduces a new program for teachers of American history and American literature. Our three-day History & Literature seminars will examine key themes in American history through study of both historical documents and literary texts. Each cross-curricular seminar is open to both social studies and English/language arts teachers at any level, and each will be co-taught by a literary scholar and a historian or political scientist.

The program addresses two needs spoken of by teachers in our programs: the social studies teacher’s need of fiction and poetry to bring historical issues alive; and the language arts teacher’s need to understand the historical context of fiction and verse. Since we are hearing that secondary schools increasingly use cross-curricular methods, even pairing social studies and language arts teachers in related courses, we hope to encourage conversation between the two disciplines. Part of that dialogue necessarily includes teaching strategies. Hence, two high school teachers experienced in integrating history and government content with literature will help to facilitate our first course in the interdisciplinary program.

Our first course in the series is:

Equality and Liberty in American History & Literature

Tuesday evening, July 11, 2017 to Friday, July 14, 2017

 Lucas Morel, Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University in Virginia will co-teach the seminar with Kathleen Pfeiffer, Professor of English at Oakland University in Michigan.  Morel, a long-time Visiting Professor in the Master of Arts in American History and Government program at Ashland University, specializes in American government, political theory, Abraham Lincoln, and black American politics. His publications include Lincoln’s Sacred Effort: Defining Religion’s Role in American Self-Government as well as Ralph Ellison and the Raft of Hope: A Political Companion to Invisible Man. Pfeiffer teaches and researches African-American literature (especially that of the Harlem Renaissance), as well as the biography as a genre. Her publications include Brother Mine: The Correspondence of Jean Toomer and Waldo Frank and Race Passing and American Individualism

This seminar will be held on the campus of Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. For information on fees, on-campus room and board, and to register for the course, please visit our website.

To show how a thoughtful political theorist can shed light on a literary text, we offer an interview with Lucas Morel, speaking about the novel that last month won the Pulitzer: Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. Morel has already taught the novel at Washington and Lee.


Lucas Morel on Teaching Colson Whitehead’s "The Underground Railroad"


Minnesota Teacher of the Year Constantly Builds Her Content Knowledge

Join your fellow teachers in exploring America’s history.