2019-2020 Seminar Schedule

 The Rutgers Institute for High School Teachers is pleased to offer the seminars listed below for the 2019-2020 academic year.  All seminars will run from 9am--2:30pm.

*A printable PDF of the schedule is available by clicking here.
Please click here for important information on the Institute and its policies.

Fall Semester 2019

African American Young Women, Brown vs. Board of Education, and the Long Civil Rights Movement

October 11, 2019, 9am-2:30pm

Rachel Devlin, Associate Professor, Department of History, Rutgers University

Brown vs. Board of Education has been called “The Case of the Century” and “the finest hour of American law.”  This workshop will examine how and why African American young women and girls led the fight to bring Brown to fruition and then, in vastly disproportionate numbers, volunteered to desegregate historically white schools in the early nineteen sixties.  In the process we will examine the everyday lives of black girls at midcentury with an eye toward understanding the particular skills and commitment they brought to school desegregation in particular and the larger civil rights movement in general.   We will follow girls through the arduous process of filing desegregation law suites and into formerly all-white schools where they were met with daily violence, harassment and social ostracism.   We will consider their oral histories, keeping in mind how individual women chose to tell their stories of what was, by all accounts, a war inside American public schools.  We will also consider how girls and young women fought back against sexual harassment and violence, the outsized role women played in the Montgomery bus boycott and other landmark civil rights protests, and how their activism informed the civil rights movement as a whole from the 1940s through the 1960s.


The Pinelands: History, Geography, Culture, and The Legend of the Jersey Devil

October 25, 2019, 9am-2:30pm

Michael Orfe, Author, The True History of the Jersey Devil

The seminar will examine various aspects of this unique part of New Jersey and its people by discussing ecological, ethnological, and sociological perspectives. A focal point of the presentation will be to present some of the fact and fiction behind the Pineland's most famous "citizen," the Jersey Devil. Included will be a personal narrative about a chance encounter in the back roads of The Pines.

National Security and the Courts: Famous Trial from the McCarthy Era to the Present

November 1, 2019, 9am-2:30pm

Paul Clemens, Professor of History, Rutgers University

 In the post-World War II era, a number of high profile judicial cases highlighted the American government’s efforts to convict individuals identified by the FBI or congressional investigators as Communist Party spies. The outcome of these cases remains controversial today, as do the numerous less well remembered security hearings, firings, and prosecutions of other accused of disloyalty during “the McCarthy Era.” In the 1970s, and continuing to this day, the role of “whistle-blowers” in releasing classified government information to the public has occasioned an equally strong response, although one that differs significantly from that to the charges of communism in the 1950s. We will together examine three cases/trials, and in addition take a brief journey through Rutgers history to recall these issues. From the McCarthy period (which one can more accurately call the Second Red Scare or the J. Edgar Hoover era) we will look at the Alger Hiss (1949-1950) and the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (1951) cases; from the later period, we will examine the case of Daniel Ellsberg (1973) – something less than a full trial—and the release of the Pentagon Papers. I will also discuss Rutgers part in the politics of anti-communism in the 1950s, and the four cases that made the university known for rooting out “fifth-amendment communists”—a sad but now largely forgotten legacy of that era.

Disease in World History: Cholera in London, Yellow Fever in the Panama Canal, and Malaria in Liberia

November 15, 2019, 9am-2:30pm

Barbara Cooper, Professor of History, Rutgers University

Biomedicine is one of the triumphs of western technology. The conventional history of global health begins with the systematic sleuthing of physician and amateur epidemiologist John Snow as he sought to stop a cholera epidemic in London in the early decades of the 19th century. Another major breakthrough accompanied the engineering miracle of the Panama canal—the “conquest” of Yellow Fever. These successes contributed to a sense that western technology could tame the entire globe. However not all diseases have yielded to biomedical advances. Why do some public health efforts succeed where others fail? Why, after decades of struggle, does malaria continue to plague much of Africa? This seminar will explore the technological, epidemiological, political, and social factors that shape the history of public health by focusing on three case studies: cholera in 19th century London, Yellow Fever at the Panama Canal at the turn of the 20th century, and Malaria in Liberia in the post-World War II period.

Law, Society, and Culture in American History

November 22, 2019, 9am-2:30pm

Leslie Fishbein, Associate Professor of American Studies, Rutgers University

Law, Society, and Culture focuses not simply on the evolution of the law but instead on how the law has affected American society, politics, history, and culture. The seminar will examine the Alien and Sedition Acts; the laws governing women's right to work, suffrage, and ability to control their own bodies; Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policies; the laws regarding a national bank and currency regulation; Prohibition; the Scopes Trial, the regulation of vice; immigration restriction; censorship during war and peacetime; conscientious objection to war; and laws regarding sexual and gender identity and the public expression of sexual and gender identity, among other topics.

American Russophopbia: From Nicholas II to Vladimir Putin

December 6, 2019, 9am-2:30pm

David S. Foglesong, Professor of History, Rutgers University

The extreme fears in recent years that Russia has determined an American election outcome, made the U.S. president a puppet, and pursued a global design for aggressive expansion are part of a long history of Russophobia in the United States. Since the late nineteenth century there have been five major surges of American fear and loathing of Russia: (1) during the reign of the last tsar, Nicholas II; (2) in the Red Scare of 1919-1920; (3) during the early Cold War and McCarthyism; (4) in the new bout of the Cold War in the late 1970s and early 1980s; and (5) in the last decade, when Vladimir Putin has been relentlessly vilified as America’s enemy number one.