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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Atlanta Closing Plenary - Follow-Up

Here are the notes from the Closing Plenary--sorry so late!
These contain some follow-up suggestions that are FANTASTIC, so I hope this adds to the discussion.

Jeri
****
Note: There were approximately 30 at the Closing Plenary. We broke into 4 groups at the Closing Plenary on Sunday. Each group discussed for 20 minutes, approximately, their reactions to the conference, ideas for future conferences, and where they thought HAW should next be putting its energies. Here are the lists they came up with. Where there was overlap, I tried to indicate the popularity without redundancy.
---

Group 1:

Conference suggestions: Great conference! Some suggestions:
--Advertise the list of workshops the first night, to the LARGEST crowd, & invite folks back
--Too many talks at once (this was a frequent comment)
--Raise the fee (in order to be able to do more)
--Subcategories may help (i.e. use sub-fields within History to organize the talks so that people don't miss talks they will most likely be interested in)
--Non-white representation lacking; need for better organizing on this score
--Some feeling that having the conference closer to or in the hotel would have been good

HAW suggestions:
--Textbook reviews (by committee)
--Economists: more are needed
--Media Education Section/Committee--we need one to develop things like YouTube videos, audiorecordings of lectures, making use of web/tech that will make us more accessible
--Teacher training and introduction to the field: make sure that teachers of history get this training in peace studies on the *ground level*, as they are preparing to teach
--Protecting academic freedom/tenure fights
--Regional conferences: we should have some
--Encouraging professors on campuses to hold speak-outs, organize & help organize students in political actions & groups--this has not been done enough by the professoriate

Group 2:
--Mixing of academic & non-academic speakers at the plenaries would have been good (Klein/Fletcher were both non-academic, for instance; perhaps pair an academic with a non-academic each time)
--Collaboration with other groups: having HAW sessions at other professional conferences
--Inviting speaker from the "right" in order to expand the dialogue (acknowledging that some may oppose the war for other reasons, as some conservative think-tankers do)
--Follow-up on conference by talking to others: everyone should be encouraged to take the ideas and tools from the conference back to their institutions and "spread the word," expand/continue the discussion

Group 3:
--Longer-term vision for HAW's anti-war/imperialist education is important; we should develop a long-term plan for expanding this area of our work, into high schools for instance
--Electronic/media development (similar to Group 1's suggestion above): use YouTube, FaceBook, audio, wikipedia, whatever else is out there to
--contextualize the war in Iraq: get out more historical analysis grounded in understanding of the region that makes people realize that 9/11 did NOT come "out of the blue," that there IS a history of US imperialist involvement in the region--counter the journalistic approaches that have been emphasizing the "uniqueness" of the war
--discuss/expand materials (media) available for teaching & outreach/education efforts
--Networking with schools, organizations:
-increase awareness of HAW's existence
-partner to develop material (e.g. a Mark Twain pamphlet, curricula that are *accessible* and *usable* by teachers in HS and other settings--accessibility should be emphasized, instead of raw informational content--more work on actual lesson plans, for instance, and less summarizing of notes, etc.)
--encourage members to become advisors on campus to campus groups, political and other
--develop materials for workshops: e.g. the "1968" session ideas, and the cards and talking-points, and timelines, developed for Ian's and his grad students' session; put these on-line

Group 4:

Organizational Identity:
--Name: Historians vs THE War? Historians against War? revisit for accuracy/PR reasons
--particular critical perspective as historians? or we just happen to be historians who are activists against the war? (this was a suggestion for a discussion, but it was also recognized by everyone that we intend the FIRST, so it turned into a somewhat more rhetorical point: how are we living up to this intention?)

Recruitment:
--tapping more into youth, 6-12 teachers
--building bridges between schools/colleges
--larger numbers--people of color--development of membership is necessary; there are many historians who oppose the Iraq war who are not members of HAW: why?
--wikipedia.org entry--expand?

Educational Outreach:
--teach-in kit (develop one that is always available for long-term use)
--YouTube videos, cartoons, mini-documentaries
--Committee should be formed to respond quickly/immediately to new events with editorials that are sent to major newspapers and outlets, press releases, etc.

Group 5:

Teaching:
--Collaboration with HS teachers (this was a general comment by almost all groups)
--lesson plans: see above, Group 3
--larger context materials: see above
--organize workshops/groups with different titles, to help HS teachers (there are sometimes funding/organizational laws for public school teachers that prevent them from getting funding or support to attend a conference that offers a political slant; we could help them out by making the title more neutral-sounding)

Activism:
--Student activism: help with organizing (a general comment)
--At end of conferences, have a DEMO/RALLY/MARCH Event, to get everyone actually into the streets, and let the city in which we're meeting know that we're here! (Atlanta was unaware, for the most part, that we were holding a conference there!)

Public Activism & Exposure:
--clear goals: develop Talking Points (who we are, what we do, etc.) so that members can represent HAW in public more easily
--Forum: basic points of war, primer info on Iraq war; we should make developing a basic primer a priority, and distribute it with suggestions for holding forums/outreach gatherings on campuses & beyond; teach-in materials, essentially
--Help starting caucuses, discussion groups regionally/locally

GENERAL DISCUSSION points:

--Help with caucuses would be good; archivists are interested in starting a list for becoming a support/subsidiary HAW "branch" of specialists; this type of "branching" could be a useful organizing strategy for sub-fields of History
--Organized materials for teaching curriculum; it's not that there aren't some materials on-line (although there could be more) on the website, but that our collection isn't organized for use; we should do that; use the Rethinking Schools model, for instance
--Develop our membership! International effort welcome, but also within US
--Is our definition of membership artificially confining? (non-"historians," "friends of historians," etc. might be mentioned in our statement a little more prominently--this was brought up by a non-historian who is a very strong supporter of the organization, helper with the conference, etc., but who doesn't feel comfortable (yet) joining the group as a member or claiming to be a member; wording such as "led by historians" or a redefinition of "historian" to make it more all-encompassing ("everyone is a historian... ") might help
--Platform hearings: Democrats--contact them, try to give input from HAW, make sure it comes up when the platform hearings commence

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1 Comments:

Blogger suzie said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

5:53 AM  

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