About Us

Social Studies Workshops

The Department of History at the University of South Florida is pleased to announce a workshop series dedicated to providing social studies content and resources to K-12 educators in Florida. These workshops are free for all Florida educators and led by USF instructors with PhDs. Each workshop is one hour in length, held virtually via Microsoft Teams, and devoted to a social studies topic that is relevant to multiple Florida socials studies state standards at the K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 levels (see "A Note on Standards" below). All attendees will receive lecture slides with images related to the workshop and a packet of relevant historical sources, both of which will be posted on this page under the appropriate workshop shortly before it begins.

Many school districts have already agreed to count attendance at these workshops for Continuing Education hours. Contact your administrators to confirm whether you can use these workshops for your CE hours. All attendees will receive an email to document their attendance at a given workshop, and we are happy to provide certificates of completion per individual requests.

To register for one or more of these workshops, please use the registration links provided below (each link can be found beneath the description of a given workshop). Microsoft Teams links to each workshop will be sent to your email address upon completion of registration. If you do not receive an email soon after registering, please check your spam/junk folder at the appropriate inbox - and if issues still persist, email Matt King at matthewking1@usf.edu to receive a Teams link. Please note that all times are EST.

Spring 2024 Workshop SchedulE

The United States in the Middle East, 1945 – 1991
Wednesday, January 24th from 5-6pm

The United States has played an important role in the modern history of the Middle East. However, the Middle East has also played an important role in the history the United States. This workshop will explore many of the major themes that define the history of U.S./Middle East relations since 1945, including colonialism, decolonization, America’s grand strategies, and the significance of local individuals and groups. Furthermore, it will discuss the earliest beginnings of the long road to the Twin Towers attack on September 11, 2001.

Registration Link Slides Sources

Women's Lives North and South: The Civil War, Reconstruction, and Industrialization
Thursday, January 25th from 4-5pm

Women were deeply involved in and affected by the cause and course of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Industrialization in the US. This workshop will explore how the personal stories of enslaved women helped spur the abolition movement (a major cause of the Civil War), examine the gendered implications of postwar Constitutional Amendments, and consider the experiences of female wage laborers in industrialized cities.

Registration Link Slides Sources

Teaching the Byzantine Empire
Wednesday, January 31st from 4-5pm

The Byzantine Empire was the longest-lived portion of the Roman Empire, enduring from the reign of Constantine the Great (d. 337) until 1453. The empire preserved many of the bureaucratic offices and wealth of Rome, though its power fluctuated wildly as the Middle Ages progressed. This workshop will examine a handful of major themes within the history of the Byzantine Empire including the reign of Justinian the Great, the Iconoclastic Controversy, the rise of Islam, and the Crusades.

Registration Link Slides Sources

Reconstruction South and West: The Post Civil-War Experience of Black and Indigenous Americans
Thursday, February 8th from 4-5pm

We often think of Reconstruction in the South as coming first in American history, and the Indian Wars and reservation era as second, belonging in separate textbook chapters. And yet, they were deeply intertwined—the Civil War may have been a war of emancipation in the East, but in the West, it was a war of removal against a number of Indigenous nations. Thus, while emancipated slaves were carving out what freedom could mean for them amid violence, hardship, and an ever-evolving relationship with the federal government and US military during Reconstruction, Indigenous Americans were doing the same thing across the West. This workshop will survey the experiences of Black southerners and Indigenous Americans in the wake of the Civil War, and explore federal policies that promoted farming, male-led families, and education in both "conquered" regions.  

Registration Link Slides Sources

The Cold War in the Third World
Wednesday, February 14th from 5-6pm

Traditionally, scholars of the Cold War have focused on state-to-state relations.  How did the superpowers interact with each other and how did they interact with the state governments of other countries? American and European perspectives have been privileged. However, many scholars now argue that the significance of the Cold War rests not in Europe nor in the relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. Rather, they argue that the significance of the Cold War is in the Third World. This workshop will examine the importance of the Cold War in East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.  

Registration Link Slides Sources

History of the Irish in America
Wednesday, February 21st from 4-5pm

Just in time for Irish-American History Month, this workshop will explore the impact of the Irish on the growth of the United States, beginning with the origins of Irish immigration and concluding with the election of the first Catholic president in 1960. Roughly 40 million Americans claim some form of Irish or Scots-Irish heritage, yet many are unaware of the effects their ancestors had on this nation. Racism and nativism against the Irish will be discussed alongside the growth of Irish-American nationalism; politics and the Irish association with the Democratic Party will be contrasted with influential Irish abolitionists; the impact of the Irish on the labor movement in the United States will complement discussions of gender and class; and, most importantly, we will explore how all these themes affected cultural memory and Irish ethnic identity. The Irish helped shape America; but America changed what it meant to be Irish.

Registration Link Slides Sources

Votes and Victory: Women's Participation in Government and WWI
Thursday, February 22nd from 4-5pm

American women played a major role in securing their own Constitutional right to the ballot, and they participated in the runup and events of World War I. Yet women, like men, did not always speak in one voice. This workshop will compare and contrast the diverse and often conflicting approaches within the woman’s suffrage movement, the ways in which images of women were used in WWI propaganda, and female pacifism and participation within WWI.

Registration Link Slides Sources

The Founding Fathers and Their Ancient Inspirations
Thursday, February 29th from 6-7pm

The framers of the United States Constitution were fascinated with ancient history and widely read texts from the Old Testament of the Bible through to Aristotle and Virgil. Ideas from these ancient texts permeate documents from the early United States, whether in the form of official government texts like the Constitution or more argumentative texts like the Federalist Papers. This workshop will explore some of the ideas of ancient thinkers and how they were selectively used or discarded in the early years of the United States of America.

Registration Link Slides [Forthcoming] Sources [Forthcoming]

The United States in Afghanistan, 1979 – 2001
Wednesday, March 6th from 5-6pm

On September 11th, 2001, the deadliest attack to take place on U.S. soil occurred. In response, the United States invaded and occupied Afghanistan for nearly two decades. The U.S. war in Afghanistan was the longest war in U.S. history. In February of 2020, the United States withdrew the last of its troops.  However, the Taliban remain in power in Afghanistan. This workshop explores how and why the U.S. war in Afghanistan began. It discusses the major developments and themes of U.S./Afghan relations from the 1970s until the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11th.

Registration Link Slides [Forthcoming] Sources [Forthcoming]

Irish History Through Holidays:  History Lessons for St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween 
Thursday, March 7th from 4-5pm

Join us for a fun and engaging module that will provide exciting and substantive lesson content for St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, and Irish American History Month. We know a good amount of information about what life was like in fifth-century Ireland when St. Patrick was alive. We possess two works written by him that explore his character as a fifth-century man, missionary, and religiously devout individual; his personage subsequently became encrusted in well-known legends (e.g. the one about the snakes) that will help students understand fact v. fiction in a historical context.  His holiday (which is really a fundamentally American holiday) has served multiple purposes over time. The origins of Halloween in the Celtic festival of Samhain provide the opportunity to engage with fun content for the Fall season. These lessons could also demonstrate how traditions pass through time and what “folk culture” is. These lessons can be easily scaled up and down based on grade level needs, and can be applied for holiday content, medieval history and folk culture studies. 

Registration Link Slides [Forthcoming] Sources [Forthcoming]

Historical Epidemics from Ancient Athens to Columbus
Wednesday, March 27th from 5-6pm

This workshop will explore historical disease outbreaks before 1600 CE, especially the Plague of Athens, Plague of Justinian, Bubonic Plague, and smallpox outbreaks in the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries. It will consider the varied course of these outbreaks, the responses of historical peoples to these outbreaks (self-flagellation included!), and how these episodes can be related to modern understandings of disease in the wake (or in the midst?) of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Registration Link Slides [Forthcoming] Sources [Forthcoming]

World War II and the American Homefront
Thursday, April 4th from 4-5pm

Most Americans experienced World War II at a remove of several thousand miles, and unlike most other combatant nations, endured no invasion, no massive economic dislocations, and no serious material shortages. Nevertheless, World War II transformed the US economy, society, and culture in profound, if not always readily visible, ways. This workshop will survey how wartime mobilization expanded the scope of government and energized the economy, altering the nation's geography and creating the modern military-industrial complex; how the war challenged racial and gender norms, providing both opportunities and challenges for women and minority groups; and how the government leveraged popular culture to sell the war through radio, film, and propaganda campaigns. 

Registration Link Slides [Forthcoming] Sources [Forthcoming]

Beyond Rosie and Rosa: Women in World War II and the Civil Rights Movement
Thursday, April 11th from 4-5pm

Most people are familiar with “Rosie the Riveter” as the icon of working women during World War II and with the basic story of Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, an action that helped spark the civil rights movement. Yet there’s much more to both of these stories. This workshop examines “Rosie” beyond the Norman Rockwell painting, looking at the propaganda campaign to boost female labor, the various industries in which women worked, and the efforts among women of color for an equal share of wartime job opportunities. It also explores women’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, which included sustained, coordinated, and often behind-the-scenes activism. 

Registration Link Slides [Forthcoming] Sources [Forthcoming]

Medieval and Modern Crusades
Thursday, April 18th from 4-5pm

The Crusades are one of the few events of the Middle Ages that attracts substantial attention in modern political discourse. This workshop will provide an overview of the medieval Crusades - with a particular emphasis on the First Crusade, Saladin, and the Fourth Crusade. It will then shift to an analysis of how people of many political persuasions and nationalaties in the 20th and 21st century have appropriated these medieval events to suit their own agendas.

Registration Link Slides [Forthcoming] Sources [Forthcoming]

Culture and Revolution in Ireland
Wednesday, April 24th from 4-5pm

[Information forthcoming]

Registration Link Slides [Forthcoming] Sources [Forthcoming]

A Note on Standards

Although our workshops focus on individual topics in US and/or World History, all of them are united by a shared emphasis on the importance of primary and secondary sources for conducting responsible historical research. All of our workshops therefore touch on the following state standards at the K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 levels:

  • SS.K.A.1.2: Develop an awareness of a primary source.
  • SS.1.A.1.1: Develop an understanding of a primary source.
  • SS.1.A.2.1: Understand history tells the story of people and events of other times and places.
  • SS.1.A.2.2: Compare life now with life in the past.
  • SS.2.A.1.1: Examine primary and secondary sources.
  • SS.3.A.1.1: Analyze primary and secondary sources.
  • SS.5.A.1.1: Use primary and secondary sources to understand history.
  • SS.6.W.1.3: Interpret primary and secondary sources.
  • SS.6.W.1.4: Describe the methods of historical inquiry and how history relates to the other social sciences.
  • SS.6.W.1.5: Describe the roles of historians and recognize varying historical interpretations (historiography).
  • SS.912.W.1.3: Interpret and evaluate primary and secondary sources.
  • SS.912.W.1.4: Explain how historians use historical inquiry and other sciences to understand the past.
  • SS.912.A.1.2: Utilize a variety of primary and secondary sources to identify author, historical significance, audience, and authenticity to understand a historical period. 
  • SS.912.A.1.4: Analyze how images, symbols, objects, cartoons, graphs, charts, maps, and artwork may be used to interpret the significance of time periods and events from the past. 
  • SS.912.A.1.6: Use case studies to explore social, political, legal, and economic relationships in history.

Questions? Concerns? Contact Matt King at matthewking1@usf.edu.