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Center Events: Speaker Series

Sam Wineburg (Stanford University)
Who Are We as a People?
Gauging Shifts in Historical Consciousness across Generations

29 January 2007

How can we understand something as diffuse as national historical consciousness, and begin to gauge its changes across time? In this talk, Sam Wineburg considers who Americans hold as heros and famous figures by reporting on a survey of 2000 17-year-olds from all 50 states, and a comparative sample of 2000 adults from 12 metropolitan areas. The results, counterintuitive and going against the grain of conventional wisdom, promise to be anything but boring.

Wineburg is currently Professor of Education and Professor of History (by courtesy) at Stanford University. Sam's work engages questions of identity and history in modern society: how today's Instant Messengerized youth use the past to construct individual and collective identities. Over the last fifteen years his interests have spanned a wide terrain, from how adolescents and professional historians interpret primary sources to issues of teacher assessment and teacher community in the workplace. His book, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts, won the 2002 Frederic W. Ness Award from the Association of American Colleges and Universities for the book "that best illuminates the goals and practices of a contemporary liberal education."

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