Summer 2011

Preamble to the Constitution

Preamble to the Constitution

Download brochure and registration form here.

Let Freedom Ring

The ideas of personal freedom, individual responsibility and respect for human dignity are embodied in the concept of American citizenship. In our Summer Program this year, we will examine what it means to be a citizen and how that has changed throughout the history of our county. We will look at who is enfranchised, who isn’t and why. And we will discuss why we culturally value the idea of citizenship.

Please read the brochure carefully as some of our policies have changed. This course fills quickly so please submit your registration form and deposit as soon as possible (deposit is refunded if you withdraw before June 7). If you have questions, please click here to see a list of Frequently Asked Questions about our Summer Program.


This year, we will offer two optional one-day Field Experiences. The first will take us to the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston. The second Field Experience will take us to the Tenement Museum and a Historic Harlem walking tour in New York City. Pre-registration will be required. Both trips have limited seating, so register early!


June 30: Program Kickoff: Let Freedom Ring, with Dan Czitrom (Mt. Holyoke College): 9:00-3:30pm
-In our opening session, we will discuss how the idea of citizenship has changed over the course of our history. We will examine the role of mass media in changing our ideas of what it means to be a citizen and how these changing perceptions affect the legal rights of citizenship. Participants will also receive an introduction to the resources available on-line at the Library of Congress and begin to work with some of these primary sources to connect them to your classroom teaching.

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution.

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution.

July 5-7: Citizenship and Revolution: The Constitution and the Bill of Rights, with Kevin Sweeney (Amherst College): 9am-3:30pm
– In the early days of our country, the Founding Fathers laid out what it meant to be a citizen in a democracy, an individual’s rights as well as obligations. In this session, we will look at the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, not as documents of the Revolution, but as revolutionary documents that changed the way people thought about individual rights and government.

Tuko-See-Mathla, A Seminole Chief, c. 1843. Smithsonian Institution.

Tuko-See-Mathla, A Seminole Chief, c. 1843. Smithsonian Institution.



July 12-14: The Native American Experience, 1776-1890, with Alice Nash (UMass Amherst): 9am-3:30pm
-In this session, we will examine the experiences of Native Americans in the 19th century as American settlers moved westward, issues of sovereignty and the ambiguous place of Native Americans in American democracy.

July 19-21: From Many, One: Immigration, 1860-1924, with K. Scott Wong (Williams College): 9am-3:30pm

Slovak woman and children.

-In this session, we will look at a time when immigrants came to the United States seeking economic opportunity and discovered a mixed bag of political rights and discrimination.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C.,

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C.,

July 26-28: The Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1968, with Amilcar Shabazz (UMass Amherst): 9am-3:30pm
-In our final session, we will examine the experience African Americans following World War II and that period’s place in their long struggle for equal political, social and economic rights.

Program Details

In order to receive stipend and PDPs (or graduate credits), all participants must:
-attend the kickoff (or complete a make-up assignment)
-attend at least two colloquia, and
-complete three written assignments.

For Elementary Teachers

– Using a literacy-based approach to the teaching of history content, teachers will have sessions with Reading Specialist Dr. Sanford Roth. Teachers will also explore in depth the use of primary sources in the elementary classroom with veteran teacher Laurie Risler.

For Middle School Teachers

– Teachers will discuss and explore active learning experiences with veteran Amherst teacher Irene LaRoche. Sessions will link content to global and contemporary issues.

For High School Teachers

-Teachers will work with veteran Easthampton teacher Kelley Brown to produce engaging and practical classroom presentations directly connected to morning scholarly presentations.