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UMass Sesquicentennial

University of Massachusetts Amherst

History Department

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Contact us:

History Dept., Herter Hall Room 612
University of Massachusetts
161 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003-9312

Tel. 413.545.1330
Fax. 413.545.6137


History Institute

Since 1994, the UMass Amherst History Department has hosted events, workshops and in-service trainings for K-12 teachers in western Massachusetts. The Department's signature offering is "The History Institute". A joint endeavor with the Collaborative for Educational Services in Northampton, Massachusetts, the History Institute is an annual series of workshops organized around a central theme.

This year, the History Institute is partnering with the Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series to focus on the theme, “Migration Matters: Rethinking Immigration in the Modern Americas.” Teachers who participate in the 2014-2015 History Institute will learn about immigration history and develop strategies and materials for bringing these histories into their classrooms.

There are two parts to this year’s History Institute:

1. The Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series at UMass Amherst featuring lectures by internationally recognized scholars of immigration and migration history. The series runs from September 2014 through April 2015, with most events taking place during the fall of 2014. History Institute participants must attend at least two lectures from the series. Full schedule of events here. *Update* The upcoming lecture by University of Massachusetts Provost and Professor of Sociology Katherine Newman has been added to the approved list of events that count toward the successful completion of the UMass History Institute for K-12 teachers.

    • Provost Katherine Newman: "Migration, Forced Migration and Displacement in South Africa"
      March 25, 2015, 4:30pm, Smith College, Neilson Library Browsing Room, 7 Neilson Drive, Northampton, MA
      Drawing on fieldwork from 2007-2010, Provost Newman will reflect on the ways in which the problems of internal, “economically inspired” migration and forced migration across international borders to South Africa were intertwined with a history of apartheid era “safe havens” for ANC militants and the unleashing of rural to urban (or underdeveloped to developed) regions within the country once apartheid restrictions were lifted. Sponsored by the Lewis Global Studies Center at Smith College. Poster.

2. Teacher Workshops at the Collaborative for Educational Services in January and February with UMass Amherst immigration historians Jennifer Fronc, Julio Capó, Jr. and Jessica Johnson and teacher-educators Rich Cairn and Catherine Glennon.

  • Professor Jennifer Fronc: “Picturing Immigration: Teaching U.S. Immigration History with Visual Sources”
    January 22, 2015, 4:30-7pm, 97 Hawley St, Northampton, MA
    “Picturing Immigration” will explore U.S. immigration history from the late 19th century to the present through analyses of visual sources. Topics will include political cartoons that depict anti-immigration sentiment from the Chinese Exclusion Era and late 20th century anti-Muslim sentiment; photographs of immigrants and the urban conditions in which they lived and worked, as documented by Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine; and the rise of "ethnic" Americans, as depicted in contemporary television programs.
  • Professor Julio Capó, Jr. and Dr. Jessica Johnson: “Rethinking Immigration History in the Classroom”
    February 26, 2015, 4:30-7pm, 97 Hawley St, Northampton, MA
    In the past two decades, scholarly understandings of U.S. immigration history have changed dramatically. This lecture and workshop explores these shifts, with a focus on how these new approaches can be integrated into K-12 classroom teaching. Topics and themes will include: teaching U.S. immigration history from a global perspective; American exceptionalism; the relationship between immigration and U.S. foreign policy; connections between immigration history and domestic social formations such as race, class, ethnicity, gender, religion, and national identities; and new ways of thinking about why understanding immigration is critical to understanding the history of this nation.
  • Following both talks, teachers and scholars will work together with Rich Cairn (Director of the Collaborative for Educational Services Emerging America Program) and Catherine Glennon (Chair of the Pathfinder Vocational and Technical High School Social Studies Department) to develop strategies for applying the content to the classroom.

Participants who complete the series will earn 10PDPs and a $50 gift card. For more information and to register for the 2014-2015 History Institute, click here. Video lectures from previous History Institute sessions are available online here.

Jessica Johnson, UMass History Department Outreach Director:, 413.545.6760
Jill Robinson, Collaborative for Educational Services Events Manager,, 413-586-4900 x183

The 2014-2015 History Institute is sponsored by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Program at the Collaborative for Educational Services, the UMass Amherst History Department, and the Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series.