The sixth annual U.S. Intellectual History Conference in Indianapolis, Oct. 9-12th, 2014, will open with a special two-hour plenary session on THE IDEOLOGY PROBLEM IN TEACHING AND SCHOLARSHIP. This event will be free and open to the public.
We are also happy to announce that RICK PERLSTEIN will be joining our distinguished panel to discuss this subject. The suggestion to add Rick to this panel came from S-USIH’s own Mike O’Connor who noted, as any native Hoosier should, the close proximity of Chicago to Indy.
The panel will address a series of questions, including: Can the writer-educator avoid being “biased” in favor of a particular set of political or religious ideals? Are disciplinary norms of “objectivity” or “neutrality” themselves in service of partisan agendas? The “ideology problem” is one that has surfaced both explicitly and implicitly at the USIH Blog over the past few years, generating a lot of commentary. For example, see Andrew Hartman’s post of entitled Ideology and Teaching. Or a post by Ben Alpers called,“Disrespect and the Teaching of Intellectual History.” Or L.D. Burnett’s The Reluctant Historian.
The conference chairs thought it would make a great subject for a plenary to integrate questions of pedagogy as well as research, writing, and the historian’s public role in the debate over ideology and the practice of history. Presenters plan to ask if ideology really is out-of-place in the classroom and to take up some practical questions such as various efforts to ban Howard Zinn’s writings in Indiana schools. You can learn more about our panelists below.
Andrew Hartman is an associate professor of history at Illinois State University, and was the 2013-14 Danish Distinguished Fulbright Chair in American Studies. He is the author of Education and the Cold War: The Battle for the American School (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), and A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars (University of Chicago Press, 2015). Hartman is the founding president of S-USIH, one of the original USIH bloggers, and is chairing the 2015 S-USIH Conference to be held in Washington, DC.
David Sehat is associate professor of history at Georgia State University. His first book, The Myth of American Religious Freedom, won the Frederick Jackson Turner Award from the Organization of American Historians. His second book, The Jefferson Rule: Why We Think the Founding Fathers Have All the Answers, will be published in May of next year.
Rick Perlstein is the author of Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America, and The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan. A frequent blogger and essayist for publications including the Nation, Rolling Stone, and the New Republic, he lives in Chicago.
Michael J. Kramer holds a visiting assistant professorship at Northwestern University, where he teaches history, American studies, digital humanities, and civic engagement and works an editor in the Design, Publications, and New Media Department at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. His book, The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture, was published by Oxford University Press in 2013. He is the co-founder of the Northwestern University Digital Humanities Laboratory and is currently developing a multimedia project about the Berkeley Folk Music Festival (1958-1970) and the history of technology and culture in the US folk revival. Additionally, he serves as director of the Chicago Dance History Project, a large-scale oral history and archival digital documentation of dance in the Chicago region, and he is the dramaturg for The Seldoms Contemporary Dance Company. He blogs about art, culture, and politics at Culture Rover.
Christopher Shannon is associate professor of history at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia. He is the author of two book in the field of U.S. Intellectual History, Conspicuous Criticism: Tradition, the Individual and Culture in Modern American Social Thought (Johns Hopkins, 1996) and A World Made Safe for Differences: Cold War Intellectuals and the Politics of Identity (Rowman and Littlefield, 2001). His forthcoming work, The Past as Pilgrimage: Narrative, Tradition and the Renewal of Catholic History (Christendom Press, 2014), co-authored with Christopher Blum, addresses the relation between faith traditions and the ideology of secularism in the writing of history.
Susan Curtis is Professor of History and American Studies at Purdue University. She is the author of A Consuming Faith(1991), Dancing to a Black Man’s Tune (1994), The First Black Actors on the Great White Way (1998), Colored Memories(2008), and the co-author of a letter to Purdue President Mitch Daniels challenging his support for efforts to ban the work of Howard Zinn from Indiana public schools (2013).