Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa Conference

Passing along information that I received in my email.

Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa

The upcoming Sixth Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA), Appropriately titled Tides of Change: Looking Back and Forging Ahead in the Middle East & Africa, will take place in Washington, D.C. on November 21-23, 2013.

As in years past, the conference is an excellent opportunity for scholars and students to hear from leading thinkers on critical issues affecting the regions. The keynote address will be given by Michael Young, the opinion editor at the Daily Star newspaper in Beirut, and H.E. Mohamed Bin Abdulla Al-Rumaihi, Ambassador of the State of Qatar, has been invited to deliver remarks at the opening reception.

In addition, more than 100 papers will be presented on scholarly topics from Middle Eastern and African studies, and related disciplines.  The conference line-up will also include policy round tables on “Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Region, and Beyond,” “Great Power Involvement in the Arab Upheavals,” and “Revolution, Revolt, and Reform in North Africa” as well as film screenings, book displays of the latest academic titles, and much more.

You can register for the conference or get more information here.  If you have any further questions about ASMEA or the Annual Conference, please do not hesitate to contact the organization at 202-429-8860 or info@asmeascholars.org.

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Immigration Timeline

So for the past few months, off and on because of personal events that have thrown me off course, I have been working on a timeline of immigration and citizenship laws in the United States.  Please let me know if I have missed any as I most likely have.  I hope this is helpful!  I know I will definitely be using this in a classroom.  I had limited space for extended information and references, so if you’re curious, just send me an email and I will get you what you need.

You can view it here, since I can’t figure out how to embed it into this post…

If you’d like to create your own timeline, I highly recommend TimeToast.  It is an easy to use (and free!) website.

Tip of the Week: MapStory. It’s Wikipedia for Maps

This is brilliant and ridiculously helpful for social studies teachers looking for a way to incorporate a different level of map understanding and use in a classroom. I look forward to incorporating this tool into my curriculum! Thanks History Tech for keeping us up on these wonderful tools!

History Tech

Okay. Not sure if I should be impressed or freaked out by the fact that the founder of MapStory was also one of the original officers of In-Q-Tel. In-Q-Tel, as we all know, is the venture capital group working to keep the CIA equipped with the latest in information technology.

I’m gonna go with freakishly impressed.

Because MapStory looks like a very handy tool for teachers looking for ways to incorporate high-level discipline specific thinking skills into their geography and history instruction. And I’m sure there’s not any chance of teachers getting caught up in some sort of illegal international information gathering syndicate through MapStory.

Pretty sure.

Yesterday I shared some thoughts about using maps to to help generate great questions related to the Kansas state social studies standards and the Common Core. Part of what I didn’t talk about was the last part:

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The Ultimate Search: Finding Your Birth Family

imagesCAOT6STOAccording to The AFCARS Report from the US Department of Health and Human Services as of September 30, 2011 there were 104,236 children age 18 and under who were waiting to be adopted.  Each year, more and more of these children grow farther apart from their personal history, some never knowing who their parents are and others with unpleasant memories of their birth families.  The tragedy for the former group is the ever-present questions “who am I?” and “why did they give me up?”  Every day they receive constant reminders of these questions when they are asked at the doctor’s office for their medical history or even in the faces of their children when they in turn ask the questions about their ancestry, often times for a classroom assignment.  Thus, the search begins.

Who am I?

The daunting task of beginning the search looms over these people.  How do I begin?  What if I’m not prepared for the answers I might receive?  No doubt, it will be an emotional journey full of stops and starts, emotional highs and pitfalls.

Beginning Your Search

First, create a folder where you will keep all of the information you collect.  Whether it be electronically or a hardcopy file, it is best to keep everything in one place with a backup copy somewhere else just in case.  Second, write down everything you know about your birth- the date, location, your original name if your adoptive parents changed it, the hospital, etc.  Anything you know can help.  Your adoptive parents may hold some information in some documents from your official adoption.  They may or may not contain your birth parents’ names.  If possible, contact the Clerk of Courts in the county of your birth for your official birth certificate if you do not have one.  Usually there is a small fee associated with mailing or emailing it.  A petition for adoption and final decree of adoption may also be available.  The Child Welfare Information Gateway has an excellent document regarding how to obtain the adoption paperwork and information from each state that can be found here or search for Access to Adoption Records, Child Welfare Information Gateway.

Many people suggest adding your name to an Adoption Reunion Registry to let people know that you are interested in alogo-theme1 reunion with your birth family.  The most popular that I’ve found is the Adoption.com Reunion Registry found here.  Adoption.com also appears to be a good resource on information for preparing for the impending reunion once you locate your birth family.

Make It Public and Start a Support Network

Support is also an important part of your journey into finding information.  Not only from your family and friends, but also from other people who are going through the same search.  There are numerous communities of people with the same experiences and the same emotional rollercoaster.  One of the best ways to find information is to get it out there that you are looking.  Start a blog, post on Facebook and Twitter, create a YouTube video, do something that can be shared and encourage your friends and family to do so.  However, be careful of the information you post as it will be public domain.  Beware of people who may try to take advantage of you or imposters.  Never post your address, social security number, or other such private information.

Now You Have Some Information

Ok, now you have a nice collection of information and you feel like you can start actually trying to find the people to match the information.  How do you go about that?  You can join a geneaology website like Ancestry.com and find out more information about your relatives and who else you might be related to based on the information you have if it is not complete.  You may also consider joining a location service such as E-Verify.  The website will be able to give you the current locations of people and sometimes even the exact address and phone number of the people you are searching for.  Be careful though because multiple people may show up in the search so you must be vigilant in determining your birth location and look for that location in the listing next to the names.

Reunion

Finding your birth family can be a large personal victory.  I do not recommend just showing up at their front door!  Contact them first and let them know who you are and why you were searching for them.  It is not a good idea to start out with accusatory language for leaving you to the adoption agency.  I hate to say it, but be prepared for disappointment if they are not interested in meeting.  It could be too emotional for them after the separation and they may need time to warm up to the idea.  Remember, at this point you have been on this journey for quite some time now.   If all goes well and they are overjoyed to hear from you, congratulations!

Good luck on your search!  I hope some of this information can be useful, even if you are just searching for a long lost friend or other relative.  Remember to get your information out there!  The person that spawned this post is one of my friends from elementary school who posted her search for her birth parents on her Facebook account with a YouTube link.  If you can, please watch Anne’s video and let me or her know if you have any information!

History Harvest: Community Collectives

New York TimesThe January 2013 issue of the Perspectives on History highlighted a project of the students and faculty of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln called History Harvest.  The article called to me about a way to collect the information that is most often lost- that of the community in which we all live.  Everyone has those personal historical documents tucked away in a closet, attic, or basement that we think about rarely (or sometimes often).  These documents have a personal value, but also a historical value regarding culture and social of our given communities.  It’s a shame to let those documents sit, forgotten, tucked away when they could be digitized for use by historians and students.

The co-directors William G. Thomas and Patrick D. Jones started this project “to create a popular movement to democratize and open American history by utilizing digital technologies to share the experiences and artifacts of everyday people and local historical institutions.”  People from the community are invited to these harvest gatherings with their personal items and histories to have them digitized with photographs and digital stories.  Local organizations, museums, and others are also welcome to bring items to be digitized.

Students are heavily involved, creating, planning, and advertising for their harvest.  Its an excellent hands on experience for the students to learn what history means to people in their community and how everyone can contribute in some way.  It’s a fascinating project that begs for duplication in communities across the United States and the world.

Needless to say, I would be highly interested in starting my own “History Harvest” in my community with students.  If you would be too, you can contact the co-directors via the links on their names above or contacting them through their website at: http://historyharvest.unl.edu/

Posthumous Freedom

A petition of freedom from 20 slaves who were fighting in the Revolutionary War to the New Hampshire General Assembly was unearthed 30 years ago in the state archives of New Hampshire by Valerie Cunningham, a historian and preservationist from Portsmouth.  The argument and irony of the petition has become well known to historians of the era and up to the Civil War that the colonists were fighting so hard for their own freedom from Great Britian yet were unable to see the plight of their slaves who wanted their own.  Their petition was ignored as it was deemed not the right time to free them.  Later, only 6 slaves were granted their freedom.

Now, 233 years later, it appears that the 14 slaves who were never granted freedom may receive it from the New Hampshire government.  It is a symbolic decision, obviously.  State Senator Martha Fuller Clarke is sponsoring the Senate bill, which has already passed through the Public and Municipal Affairs Committee and is now headed for the full Senate vote.  Governor Maggie Hassan has already agreed to sign the bill upon approval by the full Legislature.

It calls attention to efforts of community organizations to protect and preserve the African burial grounds, culture, and contributions of the people.  The African Burying Ground Committee in Portsmouth has been working for the past ten years to build a memorial park in an African-American burial ground in downtown.  The funds are just not available, however, their hope is to break ground this summer with their design, including granite engravings with passages from the petition.

What do you think?  Is it too little, too late?  Or a needed gesture?

If you’d like to see more about the African Burying Ground Committee, the cause, and possibly make a donation, you can visit their website at http://www.africanburyinggroundnh.org/ .

You can read more about this petition here at the Boston Globe and see more about the memorial here at the City of Portsmouth.

2013 Annual Conference of the Western Society for French History Call for Papers

I received this in an email today so I thought I’d pass it along to anyone who was interested:

The 2013 Annual Conference of the Western Society for French History will be held October 24-27 in Atlanta, Georgia,  hosted by Georgia State University.  The conference theme, “In Motion: The Circulation of People, Commodities, and Ideas,” was inspired by Atlanta’s history as a major transportation hub in the southeast U.S. and its contemporary status as a global city with the world’s busiest airport.  The metro area is home to many people from francophone regions – Haiti, West Africa, Southeast Asia, and now New Orleans.

The main venue is the Atlanta Renaissance, a new hotel in midtown Atlanta with dozens of restaurants within walking distance.  The Renaissance is near the historic Fox Theater, the Woodruff Arts Center, and the High Museum of Art.  Some events will take place on the bustling downtown campus of Georgia State University, which is located about a mile from the hotel.

Keynote addresses will be given by Lynn Hunt, Eugen Weber Professor of History, University of California, Los Angeles (“Global France:  What is gained and what is lost”); and Emmanuelle Sibeud, Maîtresse de Conférence, Université de Paris VIII, Vincennes-St. Denis (“Des ministres aux colonies. Enjeux et logiques des voyages des ministres des colonies en Afrique occidentale française entre 1897 et 1921”).

The WSFH encourages interdisciplinary scholarship and the participation of advanced graduate students by awarding prizes for outstanding papers presented at the conference in the following areas:  the best interdisciplinary paper; the best paper presented by a graduate student on French history after 1800; the best paper presented by a graduate student on the history of France and/or connections between France and the wider world before 1800.

Panels may address any topic of interest to our scholarly community, but the program committee especially encourages panels that address issues and topics of significance to French history across a wide chronological span, from medieval to contemporary periods.  Please do not send proposals for papers that have already been presented or that are scheduled for presentation at other conferences, or that have already been published.

All conference participants must be WSFH members in good standing at the time of the conference.  RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP at www.wsfh.org.

SEND PROPOSALS for panels or individual papers as Microsoft Word attachments to Jennifer Popiel, WSFH President and Program Committee Chair (popieljj@slu.edu).
Proposals, ideally submitted as a complete session, should include the following items, integrated into a single document:  an abstract (no more than one page) for each presenter; a CV including contact information (no more than one page) for each presenter; name, affiliation, and e-mail address for the proposed chair and commentator.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: APRIL 15, 2013

Pinterest!

Everyone was doing it and I just did not understand the whole magic of Pinterest and why it was such a wonderful thing.  Then, someone explained it to me and I figured out how to use it.  You have to click on the image, and then click on the link or double click the picture to bring you to the subject matter.  It’s like a digital bulletin board of the most random things in life.  I am now officially hooked.  The second night after my cumulative exam I successfully spent three hours doing nothing but browsing the site and “pinning” things.

But its not only fun, but functional for historians and teachers.  I have two boards myself, one full of historical images that I look forward to using in powerpoints for my students.  Images are powerful educational tools.  I’m sure that they will come up on exams, assignments, DBQs, and many other places as well. You can check out (and follow if you like) my “Teaching History” board here: http://pinterest.com/aprilgibbs1776/teaching-history/ .

The second functional part is the different teaching tools, techniques, organizational ideas, and disciplinary tactics that are shared on Pinterest.  They not only inspire you to inspire your students, but can give you a different way of approaching a subject or topic in the classroom or with a particular student who has been struggling.  Plus, it helps to know that you’re not alone in this struggle of teaching.  You can view my “For Teaching” board here: http://pinterest.com/aprilgibbs1776/for-teaching/

There are also fantastic DIY ideas and recipes and numerous quotes and humor boards to keep you entertained for hours.  I know this is probably not new information for most of you, but I wanted to share the awesome educational abilities of a popular website.  Check it out: http://www.pinterest.com.