Professor Christopher Martell and Doc Student Mary Carney Present at Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies Fall Conference

Professor Christopher Martell and doctoral student Mary Carney recently presented at the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies (MCSS) Annual Conference on October 29th in Marlborough. MCSS is a state-level affiliate of the National Council for the Social Studies.

Professor Martell was invited to give the keynote address to the conference. The title of his talk was “Not Everyone Gets a Mirror: Centering Social Studies on Equity” and he discussed that problem of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and other social identities often being missing from the social studies classroom. When they are included, he argued that they tend to be only in a handful of units and these underrepresented groups are often portrayed in very narrow ways. As a result, many students often do not see themselves or their families’ experiences when studying the past and present. He then asked the room to consider ways that they can change their practices to re-envision social studies to focus on critical multiculturalism focused on equity.

Doctoral student Mary Carney led a session with Evan Long, associate professor at Longwood University in Virginia, titled, “Action Civics in the High School Social Studies Classroom.” The sessions focused on making inquiry-based instruction in civics courses more critical. They shared several model lessons, including one where students were asked to debate the questions, “Do we still need labor unions?”, and asked teachers to share ideas where they have had their students examine equity and social justice through action civics.

The Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies is the state affiliate of the National Council for the Social Studies, which is the largest professional association in the country dedicated to elementary, secondary, and college teachers of history, civics, geography, economics, political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and law-related education. MCSS and NCSS membership represents K-12 classroom teachers, college and university faculty members, curriculum designers and specialists, social studies supervisors, and leaders in the various disciplines that constitute the social studies.