If you are a high school history teacher or a citizen concerned about constraints on accurate history, read this:

Conference call for papers
“Teaching Uncomfortable Truths in Contested Spaces”
September 28th-30th, 2023
Flagler College
St. Augustine, Florida

The teaching of difficult historical topics, particularly those related to slavery and race, has become a flashpoint in the growing cultural divide over the role of education in contemporary America. For those who teach in contested spaces, the issue is especially challenging. This interdisciplinary conference seeks to bring classroom teachers together with scholars, journalists, and independent researchers to explore the context behind these conflicts, why K-12 classrooms have become contested spaces, and how affected teachers can best serve their students in such polarized times.

Conference organizers welcome individual papers or panel submissions from scholars who can provide context to the present crisis and share their research in the fields of educational history, the rise of political extremism, censorship movements, textbook development, white resistance, and moral panics, among other topics.

The conference will also host sessions that feature teachers and educational specialists to highlight their experiences teaching uncomfortable truths in contested spaces. We welcome individual and panel proposals that share strategies for teaching difficult history, the problems educators encounter, and the importance of their work.

Dr. Nancy MacLean, the William H. Chafe Distinguished Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University, will deliver the Conference Keynote Address. Dr. MacLean is an award-winning scholar of the twentieth-century U.S., whose most recent book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, provides context to the current attacks on American freedoms, including the war on uncomfortable historical truths in our public schools.

Submission guidelines:  

Individual paper submissions should consist of a 200-word abstract (maximum) and one-page vita, sent to mbutler1@flagler.edu in PDF or Word format by March 10, 2023.

Panel proposals on a common theme, especially from History teachers in our secondary schools, are particularly welcomed. Panel submissions should include a title and 200-word description of the theme, a 200-word abstract for each paper, and a one-page vita for each presenter. All potential panelists will be notified of their proposal’s status by or before March 27.

Conference Location: Flagler College, a private institution grounded in the Liberal Arts, will host “Teaching Uncomfortable Truths in Contested Spaces.” The College occupies the former Hotel Ponce de Leon and is located in scenic St. Augustine, the “Nation’s Oldest City.” In addition to its beautiful location on the Atlantic Coast location, St. Augustine was once home to writers Zora Neal Hurston, Stetson Kennedy, and Majorie Kinnan Rawlings, and played a crucial role in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The city is forty miles south of Jacksonville International Airport via I-95, and local accommodations feature a range of price options near Flagler College. More specific information regarding accommodations for conference participants will be provided in the coming weeks.

For more information on the event, please contact Dr. J. Michael Butler, Kenan Distinguished Professor of History at Flagler College (mbutler1@flagler.edu)