Last year I joined the board of directors of the National Council for History Education. My first exposure to the organization and its members was the annual meeting that took place in Atlanta, Georgia. It has been a couple of years since I last attended an academic conference, but this one was right up my alley. NCHE brings together serious historians, public historians, and educators from all different levels and backgrounds. The emphasis, not surprisingly, is on education. The conference is free of the stuffiness and posturing that you find at many academic gatherings.
This year our annual meeting will take place in San Antonio, Texas between April 19-21. The theme is “Myth, Memory, and Monuments” which was chosen months before the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. This is an opportunity for educators to learn about the current debate about Confederate monuments as well as other controversies, but most importantly, it will be an opportunity to learn approaches for bringing these public discussions to the classroom.
As you might imagine I am incredibly excited for this conference, even more so having been selected as one of four keynote speakers. I will speak on the first night about the Confederate monument debate. The other three speakers include Douglas Brinkley, Sam Mihara, and Alan Taylor. It is certainly an honor to be included among such talented historians and public speakers. I will also likely help facilitate one of the individual sessions.
The deadline is October 18 so there are a few weeks left to propose a session. I can’t think of a more important to address at a NCHE meeting. Educators and public historians will certainly benefit from the conference, but I suspect that anyone with an interest in monuments and historical memory will enjoy the experience.
For those of you unfamiliar with NCHE I hope you will take some time to check us out and consider becoming a member.