University News

WIU Hosts 36th Annual History Conference March 26

March 14, 2011

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University's 36th Annual History Conference, titled "The Stories We Tell," is scheduled for Saturday, March 26. The conference will feature Raymond Arsenault, the John Hope Franklin professor of Southern History at the University of South Florida–St. Petersburg, as the guest speaker.

A pre–conference showing of excerpts from the documentary "Freedom Riders," which will premiere on PBS in May, will be held from 7–8:15 p.m. Friday, March 25 in the University Union Sandburg Theatre. A reception will follow in the Sandburg Lounge. Friday's events are open to all conference registrants and participants, who will also receive a copy of Arsenault's book, "Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice."

Saturday's (March 26) sessions will be in Stipes Hall, beginning with registration at 8 a.m. in the elevator lobby (off of Western Ave.). A continental breakfast will be offered in Stipes Hall 501 until 8:45 a.m.

The first conference session from 8:45–9:45 a.m. will feature presentations from WIU history department faculty members, including Professor and Chair Virginia Boynton, "Working with WASPS: Using World War II Oral Histories in the Classroom;" Associate Professor Virginia Jelatis, "Death in Shallow Waters: The Fate of American POWs on British Prison Ships, 1777-1783;" Assistant Professor Barclay Key, "Before Brown: The Precedents for Desegregating K-12 Schools;" and Associate Professor Jennifer McNabb, "That Right May Take Place: Witnesses and Their Stories in the English Courts, 1550-1650."

The 9:55-10:55 session presentations are: "Pay Any Price?: JFK's Foreign Policy in 1961," by Associate Professor Richard Filipink; "What's the Word from Johannesburg?: The Anti-Apartheid Movement in the United States," by Associate Professor Peter Cole; "The Civil War and American Exceptionalism," by Assistant Professor Timothy Roberts; and "From Revolutionary Terror to the Tea Party of Today: The Real and Imagined Conspiracies of Modern Democracy, 1789-2010," by Associate Professor Edward Woell.

The final session, from 11:05 a.m.-12:05 p.m., will include: "Successful Strategies for Teaching ABOUT Religion in the Public Schools," by Associate Professor of Religious Studies Amy Carr, Assistant Professors Sarah Haynes and Betsy Perabo and Professor and Philosophy and Religious Studies Chair John Simmons; "GI Meets Fräulein: American-German Encounters in Postwar Germany," by Assistant Professor Ute Chamberlain; "The Mormon Experience and Controversy in Illinois," by Associate Professor Greg Hall; and "War, Colonialism, and the Comfort Women in Asia," by Assistant Professor Febe Pamonag.

Participants will receive handouts from each of the 12 presentations.

A luncheon will follow the sessions at 12:30 p.m., followed by Arsenault, who will present the Larry T. Balsamo keynote address, "Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice." in the University Union Heritage Room.

Arsenault has been at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg since 1980, where he serves as the program adviser as well as a professor. Arsenault received his bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1969 and his Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 1981. A specialist in the political, social and environmental history of the American South, he has also taught at the University of Minnesota, Brandeis University and at the Universite d'Angers in France, where he was a Fulbright Lecturer in 1984-1985. He was the co-director of the Fulbright Commission's Summer Institute on American Studies at the University of Minnesota from 1980-1987.

He has served as a consultant for numerous museums and public institutions, including the National Park Service, the National Civil Rights Museum, the Rosa Parks Museum and the U.S. Information Agency. He has lectured on American history and culture around the world in countries such as France, Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Norway, Turkey and Jordan. Arsenault is the author of two prize-winning books – "The Wild Ass of the Ozarks: Jeff Davis and the Social Bases of Southern Politics" and "St. Petersburg and the Florida Dream" – as well as many other publications.

Social studies or history teachers employed by Illinois public schools are eligible to receive six Continuing Professional Development Units (CPDUs) for participating in the conference.

Registration $69 for professionals, $30 for full-time students including luncheon and $10 for full-time students without luncheon – closes Monday, March 21. For more information or to register, contact Western's Non-Credit Programs at (309) 298-1911 or at

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