The AHA, its members, and other historians find ourselves on the front lines of a conflict over understandings of America’s past, up against opponents who are actively promoting ignorance in the name of unity. Historians have a crucial role to play as participants in public deliberations about how to engage students in truthful and rigorous inquiry in history classrooms.

This guide highlights sessions at AHA23 that focus on controversies in the classroom. From the chilling effect of divisive concepts legislation introduced in legislatures across the nation, to discussions over state standards, to questions of ethics, these sessions aim to support educators as they navigate history education in this charged atmosphere.

Responding to Classroom Controversies

Radical History Review Session
Roundtable: The “Ed Scare”—The Current Conservative Panic over the Academy and Its Antecedents
Friday, January 6, 3:30-5:00 p.m.

“Divisive Concepts” in High School Classrooms around the World
Saturday, January 7, 8:30-10:00 a.m.

Free Speech and the Schools
Saturday, January 7, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Erasing the Black Freedom Struggle: How State Standards Fail to Teach the Truth about Reconstruction
Saturday, January 7, 3:30-5:00 p.m.

50 Shades of the American Curriculum: A Progress Report on the AHA’s Mapping the Landscape of Secondary US History Education Project
Sunday, January 8, 9:00-10:30 a.m.

The Ethics of Teaching History in Today’s K–12 Classrooms
Sunday, January 8, 9:00-10:30 a.m.

The Ethics of Curriculum and Lesson Construction from High School to College Introductory Gen-Ed Courses
Sunday, January 8, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Teaching Controversial Topics 

A Conversation on Navigating the Landscape of Teaching “Divisive Concepts”
Friday, January 6, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Radical History Review Session
Roundtable: Teaching the Truth in Secondary Schools during Contentious Times
Saturday, January 7, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Radical History Review Session
Roundtable: Fighting the Culture War Attack on History—Strategies and Experiences
Friday, January 6, 8:30-10:00 a.m.

Bridging Cultural and Political Divides: Unique Challenges and Opportunities of Teaching Modern China as CHUS Historians in the Postpandemic World
Sunday, January 8, 9:00-10:30 a.m.

Chinese Historians in the United States Session
Teaching Contentious China in Polarized American Universities
Sunday, January 8, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.