Social Studies Educators to Hold Conference at Yale

New Haven and Yale University will be hosting educators from all over the northeast when the 31st annual Northeast Regional Conference for the Social Studies convenes here March 8 through 10.

An estimated 2500 teachers and school administrators are expected to attend the four-day event, which Yale is hosting for the first time. The conference, NERC 2000, will feature workshops, lectures and small group “conversations” aimed to enhance the method of teaching and content of social studies curricula.

Though the program is mainly geared toward educators who teach elementary through high school, many sessions, keynote lectures, and clinics include content for those teaching at the community college and undergraduate levels, according to Caryn Stedman, director of the Program in International Educational Resources (PIER) at Yale’s Center for International and Area Studies and a co-chair of the conference.

“We have talks by the leading historians, economists, geographers, and thinkers along with workshops and clinics that showcase the best pedagogical practices,” Stedman said. “Every school district that is serious about developing its teachers, about raising the standards for content and practice in the social studies, and that wants to be part of a ground-breaking university-school collaboration should be insisting that its teachers attend at least one day of this conference.”

The event will draw heavily on Yale’s resources, from workshops led by Yale faculty members to tours of the Yale University Art Gallery and Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Other sites of interest in the area that will be incorporated into the program include the New Haven Colony Historical Museum and Long Wharf Theater. Field trips to the replica of the slave ship Amistad at Mystic Seaport and the Mashantucket Pequot Museum near Ledyard are also planned.

Jedediah Purdy, Yale Law School student and author of the controversial “For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today,” heads the list of speakers, which also includes Michael Rogers, editor and general manager of; Howard Jones, author of “Mutiny on the Amistad;” and Evelyn Hu-Dehart, author of “Across the Pacific: Asian Americans and Globalization.” Byron W. Woodson Sr. presents a special Friday evening talk about DNA testing and his family’s efforts to bring the story of their ancestors, Sally Hemings and President Thomas Jefferson, to the forefront.

Paul Kennedy, J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History (“The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers” and “Preparing for the 21st Century”) will open “Critical World Areas and Issues in the 21st Century,” one of three day-long workshops slated for the opening day, Wednesday, March 8. Also among the speakers at the Wednesday session are Yale historians Jonathan Spence (“The Search for Modern China” and “The Chan’s Great Empire”) and David B. Davis, founding director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. Auke Haagsma, a director on the Commission of European Communities and a visiting teacher at Yale, will also speak.

Throughout the program, choral and instrumental groups from New Haven Public Schools will perform, beginning with the Helene Grant School Chorus on Wednesday afternoon. The opening reception for the conference features the Jackie Robinson Middle School Band and the Elm City Chorus. The Betsy Ross Magnet Chorus, the Hill Regional Career High School Gospel Chorus and the Cooperative High School Chorus are also on the program.

Thursday March 9 and Friday March 10, the body of the conference, feature more than 100 clinics, workshops, speakers and “Focus on Content” sessions. The clinics and workshops cover all disciplines included in the social studies-history, international studies, geography, economics, civics, social sciences-and are offered for those teaching at all levels, kindergarten through college. New England History Teachers Association (NEHTA) 2000 Kidger Award Winner, Dr. Thomas Paterson, will speak on “The Forty Years War: Cuba and the US” at a special luncheon on Thursday.

Connecticut State Historian Christopher Collier, his brother, James Lincoln Collier (“My Brother Sam is Dead”) and Joy Hakim (“The Story of Us”) head the list of well-known authors to speak at a related one-day conference on Saturday focusing on historical literature for younger students

Representatives of the major publishers, suppliers, and distributors of educational materials will also be attending the conference all day Thursday and Friday, as will representatives of educational programs from the major New England Museums and Service Programs for Educators.

The conference will be centered at The Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale, a block off the New Haven Green in downtown New Haven at the edge of the Yale University campus.

NERC 2000 is featured on the official conference web site (, an interactive site at which one can find more information on the conference, the complete program, information on all speakers, and registration and hotel reservation forms.

For more information, please log onto the web site or contact conference chairs: Dan Gregg 860-566-5223 John Stedman 203-284-9205 or Caryn Stedman 203-432-3429

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