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Department of State

New Jersey Historical Commission

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Secretary of State
Revolution NJ Professional Development Opportunities

Revolution NJ Professional Development Opportunities

New learning opportunities are now available to help those interested in preparing for the 250th anniversary of the United States in 2026. These virtual units invite viewers to engage with the Revolution NJ’s key interpretative themes and guiding questions, learning from prominent scholars and leaders in the fields of history and the social sciences along the way. To learn more about Revolution NJ, see History Resources.

 

Lesson Plans for Teachers

Revolution NJ is excited to offer new teaching resources for Grade 8-12 teachers, history organizations, and social studies providers. Resources were created to aid teaching about the 250th anniversary of the United States in 2026.

Lesson Plans:

Teaching resources are also available below to accompany each of the webinars in the A Bundle of Silences video series

View a recording of the Educator's Info Session held on March 30, 2022 to learn more about how these resources can be utilized alongside the Revolution NJ professional development series.

Big Ideas: Concepts for the 250th

Big Ideas: Concepts for the 250th brings larger conversations from academia and cultural organizations to the general public. This series of live virtual panel sessions features two scholars engaging with a moderator about current topics, terms, and debates that are foundational to the way we understand the broader human experience here in the United States and around the world. Attendees can expect a “100 level” college course experience that introduces key concepts and ideas emerging in the last 20 years. Programs in the Big Ideas series will occur monthly from January to May 2022.


Upcoming Programs

 

How and Why Should We Engage the Public?
Wednesday, May 25, at 6 p.m. (ET)

Webinar Registration

Join us for the fifth and final virtual discussion in the Revolution NJ series Big Ideas: Concepts for the 250th! How and Why Should We Engage the Public? will explore public history approaches to community engagement, participatory museum work, and place-making. Our featured speakers are: Ms. Meredith Horsford, Executive Director, Dyckman Farmhouse Museum; President, Greater Hudson Heritage Network; Ms. Michelle Moon, Principal, Saltworks Interpretive Services; and Varissa McMickens Blair, Founder & Executive Consultant, NOWWellspring Consulting (Moderator).

This virtual event is free to attend with pre-registration. Educators can receive up to 1 hour of PD credits for attending the session. Register for How Do We Know What We Know?


Past Programs

 

How Do We Know What We Know?

View a recording of the fourth panel in the Big Ideas series, held on April 22, 2022. We are also pleased to share a list of resources shared by program speakers.

The panel provided an overview of how historical research is done and the ways in which our knowledge about the world is constructed, limited, and understood. Speakers included: Dr. Britt Rusert, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Ms. Joy Bivins, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library. The conversation was moderated by Dr. Kristin O'Brassill-Kulfan, Assistant Teaching Professor and Coordinator of Public History at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

 

How Does Society Shape Individual Actions and Beliefs?

View a recording of the third panel is the Big Ideas series, held on March 23. The panel provided a broad overview of the social science and humanities approach to systemic and structural thinking. Our featured speakers were: Dr. Tara J. Yosso, Professor, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Riverside; Dr. Johnathan Rosa, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University; and Kristyn Scorsone, PhD Candidate, Department of American Studies, Rutgers University-Newark & Volunteer Manager, Queer Newark Oral History Project (Moderator).

 

What is Identity and Why Does it Matter?

View a recording of the second panel in the Big Ideas series, held on February 25. The program provided a broad overview of the social science and humanities approach to the concept of identity. Speakers included: Prof. Rachel Watkins, Associate Professor of Anthropology at American University, and Dr. Svati Shah, Associate Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Jesse Bayker, Research Project Manager and Digital Archivist at the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

 

What is the American Revolution?

View a recording of the first panel is the Big Ideas series, held on January 24. The program provided an overview of the American Revolution and current approaches to studying it. Speakers included Dr. Lucia McMahon, Professor and Chair of History, William Paterson University, and Dr. LaGarret King, Associate Professor of Black History and Social Studies Education and the Director of the Center for K-12 Black History and Racial Literacy Education, University at Buffalo. The conversation was moderated by Todd Braisted, Author, Journal of the American Revolution.

A Bundle of Silences: Reimagining Interpretative Approaches to the Past

A Bundle of Silences: Reimagining Interpretative Approaches to the Past

A Bundle of Silences: Reimagining Interpretive Approaches to the Past is a series of seven pre-recorded webinars that pull together scholars from across the nation to explore key aspects of the American Revolution, as identified in Revolution NJ's Interpretive Framework. In these seven 30-minute videos, viewers will be introduced to the broader context and discussions surrounding each of the themes. In addition to this introductory overview, each webinar will have several case studies that demonstrate how using a particular theme can help develop a nuanced interpretation of the past.

Read our overview document for full webinar descriptions, scholar biographies, FAQ’s, resources, and credits. You can view the full series below or via playlist on the NJ Historical Commission’s YouTube page.

Historical Process
Dr. Edward Gonzalez-Tennant, University of Central Florida, Department of Anthropology

How do we know what we know? A simple question with a complicated answer. In the webinar Historical Process, Dr. Gonzalez-Tennant explores the way historians, archaeologists, and archivists make sense of the past and how the fragmentary nature of evidence shapes the stories they are able to tell.

Historical Process FAQ and Additional Reading
Historical Process Webinar Transcript
Historical Process Educational Resources

 

Property and Sovereignty: Native Americans and the United States
Dr. Jimmy Sweet, Rutgers University, Department of American Studies

In Property and Sovereignty: Native Americans and the United States, Dr. Jimmy Sweet explores the how the concepts of property and Native American sovereignty were grappled with in the formation of the United States and New Jersey more locally.

Property and Sovereignty: Native Americans and the United States FAQ and Additional Reading
Property and Sovereignty: Native Americans and the United States Webinar Transcript
Property and Sovereignty: Native Americans and the United States Image Credits
Property and Sovereignty Educational Resources

 

The Fundamental Ideas and Values of the American Revolution
Dr. Andrew Shankman, Rutgers University (Camden), Department of History

What is a democracy? How are the ideas of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness defined and for who? In The Fundamental Ideas and Values of the American Revolution, Dr. Shankman provides an overview of the “American Political Experiment”, exploring how the notion of democracy was wrestled with during the founding of the United States.

Fundamental Ideas and Values of the American Revolution FAQ and Additional Reading
Fundamental Ideas and Values of the American Revolution Image Credits
Fundamental Ideals and Values Educational Resources

 

Political Participation and the Battlegrounds of the American Revolution
Dr. James Gigantino, University of Arkansas, Department of History

In Political Participation and the Battlegrounds of the American Revolution, Dr. James Gigantino explores the key theme of New Jersey as a “Battleground” by diving into the various considerations and decisions facing people at the outset of the American Revolution.

Political Participation and the Battlegrounds of the American Revolution FAQ and Additional Reading
Political Participation and the Battlegrounds of the American Revolution Webinar Transcript
Political Participation and the Battlegrounds of the American Revolution Image Credits
Political Participation Educational Resources

 

Exclusion and Inclusion
Dr. Alaina E. Roberts, University of Pittsburgh, Department of History

Who was excluded and included in our nation’s history? In what way? How did this shape the way people experienced day to day life? In Exclusion and Inclusion, Dr. Roberts explores how the American experience was defined by processes of exclusion and inclusion.

Exclusion and Inclusion FAQ and Additional Reading
Exclusion and Inclusion Webinar Transcript
Exclusion and Inclusion Image Credits
Exclusion and Inclusion Educational Resources

 

The Puzzle of Citizenship: Black Americans and the Birthright Principle
Dr. Martha Jones, John Hopkins University, Department of History and SNF Agora Institute

Who gets to partake in the political process of the United States and to what extent? How has the institution of voting been differentially applied and experienced? Who is considered a citizen and by extension what rights do they have? In The Puzzle of Citizenship: Black Americans and the Birthright Principle, viewers will join Dr. Martha Jones in exploring how the complicated question of personhood and political participation are engaged with throughout the history of the United States.

The Puzzle of Citizenship: Black Americans and the Birthright Principle FAQ and Additional Reading
The Puzzle of Citizenship: Black Americans and the Birthright Principle Webinar Transcript
The Puzzle of Black Citizenship Educational Resources

 

Movement of People
Dr. Kathleen Lopez, Rutgers University, Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies and History

New Jersey is one of the most diverse and densely populated states in our nation, but how did it get there? In the Movement of People webinar, Dr. Lopez explores the migration of people in and out of the state throughout its history.

Movement of People FAQ and Additional Reading
Movement of People Webinar Transcript
Movement of People Image Credits
Movement of People Educational Resources

 

 


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