History Institute

The History Institute is the UMass History Department’s signature offering for teachers. Since 1994, this annual institute has offered local educators a valuable opportunity to explore historical themes in depth, to make meaningful connections with historians at UMass and beyond, and to stay abreast of current scholarship in the field. Each year, the institute consists of a series of lectures and workshops with local scholars and teacher trainers.

Recent themes include "Im/migration in the Modern Americas," “The 1960s and Beyond in Historical Perspective: Social Justice and Equality in Local Context" and "Contemporary Events in Historical Perspective." This series is offered with the Collaborative for Educational Services.

Prior institutes have been supported by the Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series, a Teaching American History grant from the U.S. Department of Education, and the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program at the Collaborative for Educational Services.

2016-2017 Institute: Teaching in the Age of Mass Incarceration

Using sociohistorical and interdisciplinary perspectives to understand mass incarceration in the United States, this free yearlong professional development series for K12 educators will explore concepts and practical examples for the classroom. Teaching in the Age of Mass Incarceration is offered in conjunction with the Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series, an event series exploring the ways that state violence, mass incarceration, and mass criminalization have transformed the U.S. economy, culture and society. 

Participating teachers will:

  • Attend three or more Feinberg events of their choosing from the full schedule of events. With more than a dozen events to choose from – including lectures and panels with some of the nation’s leading experts on these issues, many of whom have direct experience with incarceration – participants can tailor their learning to their own specific areas of interest and teaching. These events cover a range of themes from police brutality, immigration detention, and the historical origins of mass incarceration to the consequences of incarceration for women, young people, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals. 
  • Participate in four 90-minute teacher seminars facilitated by award-winning educator Dr. Antonio Nieves Martinez (UMass Amherst School of Education). These seminars will be limited to 15 participants, and they will involve small and larger group discussions and learning from other practitioners about ways to engage young people with these concepts. 
  • Engage with readings and curricular resources, which will be selected based on teacher interest.
  • Develop a simple lesson plan for their classroom and present this lesson at the final seminar, which will be open to the public.

Dates, Times, and Locations

  • Lecture Options: Choose three or more Feinberg events. These events take place from September 2016-April 2017 in Amherst, Northampton, Holyoke, and Springfield, MA. 
  • Teacher Seminars: Four Tuesdays, October 18, November 8, December 6 and February 7. Session I: 4:30pm-6pm, Session II: 6:15pm-7:45pm. Holyoke High School, 500 Beech St, Holyoke, MA 01040.

This series is designed for educators across content areas, including social studies, humanities, and beyond. Open to all educators and aspiring educators in Massachusetts. 

Costs, PDPs and Graduate Credit:
All Feinberg lectures are free and open to all with no registration required. An application is required for the teacher sessions, which are limited to 15 participants. 12 PDPs OR 1 graduate credit in history from the UMass Amherst History Department are available to teachers who complete all components. Participation and PDPs are FREE. There is a $145 fee to receive graduate credit.


  • Apply here
  • Application Deadline: September 6
  • Notification: September 9


Antonio Nieves Martinez, PhD
Antonio Nieves Martinez is an assistant professor in the Social Justice Education concentration in the College of Education at UMass Amherst. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in cultural studies, community organizing, and social justice education. His research interests include addressing issues of equity and access in urban contexts for youth of color, creating teacher-led spaces for learning, critical pedagogy, and youth participatory action research. Driven by these interests, Antonio's research draws on cultural studies to examine how teachers create, implement, evaluate, and transform spaces for teacher learning as they develop classroom practices that meet the needs of students who historically underperform in schools. Toward this end, both his research and community work challenge dominant paradigms that reify unequal outcomes for minoritized communities and continuously explores how teachers and teacher educators can create learning spaces that develop humanizing, critical, and community responsive pedagogies.About the History Institute