The struggle for the right to vote, the ratifications of the 15th and 19th amendments, and the social meanings attached to both, provide educators and their students with excellent opportunities to explore fundamental questions central to the humanities: What is citizenship? Who is a citizen? What does it mean to be a citizen if one cannot vote? What does it mean to be an American? A woman? An African-American? What was, and is, the place of women in the family, the body politic, religious life, and in society? How does a nation with a deeply racist past become more inclusive of African Americans, immigrants, and others outside of the majority? Who, in other words, were “we the people” who were to constitute a “more perfect Union,” as the Constitution’s preamble states?
The Fall Institute will provide both humanities content focusing on the right to vote and citizenship as well as pedagogical theory and practice. Morning content sections will feature CSU professors Dr. Stephanie Hinnershitz, providing an overview of suffrage in the United States, and Dr. Robert Shelton, who will focus specifically on the 15th and 19th amendments. In the afternoon, Dr. Shelley Rose, director of the social studies program at CSU, and Master Teacher Emily Marty of Lorain public schools, will focus on historical thinking skills (Ohio Department of Education Content Statements 1-5 for American history), drawing on the work of Sam Wineburg’s Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts, project-based learning, and the close reading of primary sources to create document-based questions designed to stimulate students’ critical thinking.