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Short Events

Students talking around a table

Upcoming Presentations

October 21 - full day of LGBTQAI+ and Disability histories - at the Vogel, Red Bank, New Jersey - Watch for details. 

Selected Recent Presentations

June 17, 2024 - 9:30-3:50 Central Time - A More Perfect Union: Rethinking the Gilded Age & Progressivisms - Virtual 1-day conference 

  • Examine race, capitalism, & democracy – and disability (via a presentation by Emerging America). Resources on Disability in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
  • Includes scholar talks, presentations by teachers, and curriculum and other teaching resources.
  • Supported by a grant from the NEH.
  • Sponsored by the Chicago History Museum, Loyola University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. With support from: PBS, Library of Congress, and National History Day, and Emerging America. 


June 25-27, 2024 - Presentation at the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training - Summer Institute for Educators - Putney, Vermont 

  • Workshop: Disability History and Special Education - Rich Cairn, Emerging America 
  • Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) was established in 2001 to pioneer LD research, discover innovative strategies and practices, and improve teaching and learning outcomes for students with learning disabilities (like dyslexia), ADHD, and autism, and educators in high school and college settings.


Empowerment through Disability History: A Workshop for Special Education Professionals - April 9, 2024 - 5-6pm Eastern Time - Free 

Recording on YouTube.  

  • Hosted by the Learning Disabilities Association of America
  • Explore the long arc of disability history with Ross Newton, high school history teacher in Special Education, and Rich Cairn, author of Reform to Equal Rights: K-12 Disability History Curriculum. 
  • Consider disability from the founding of the American Republic through the Disability Rights Movement that won passage of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and its impacts. Participants will also discuss why and how disability history can be integrated into school classrooms. 
  • For Special Education teachers and interested parents and advocates. 
  • Made possible by a Teaching with Primary Sources grant from the Library of Congress. 
  • Find more info on the webinar for Special Education professionals


Empowering Students with Disability History: A Workshop for Special Education Professionals - October 18, 2023 & January 30, 2024


Emerging America at the National Council for History Education - March 7-9, 2024 - Cleveland

  • Breakout session:
    • Friday 10-10:50am - Teaching Stories of Disability History: Teachers, Veterans, and Citizens - Rich Cairn, Emerging America 
  • Posters: 
    • Friday 9:30-10:15am - Challenging Primary Sources and Inclusive Teaching: Lessons from Dialogue between History and ESL Teachers - Alison Noyes, Emerging America
    • Saturday 9:30-10:15am - Reform to Equal Rights: Integrate Disability History into History Class - 1776-2024 - Rich Cairn, Emerging America


Emerging America at the 2023 NCSS Conference - December 1-3, 2023 - Nashville


From Reform to Equal Rights: Disability and Agency in U.S. History - Primary Source - November 8, 2023

  • Rich Cairn, Emerging America 


Teaching a More Inclusive History: Belchertown State School – Reform to Equal Rights - November 7, 2023 - Belchertown High School


    Strategies and Tools to Integrate Disability into History, Civics, Government, and Human Rights - New Jersey Council for the Social Studies Conference - Rutgers University - October 23, 2023

    • Rich Cairn, Emerging America - Nicole Hansen, Seton Hall University - Christa Bialka, Villanova University - Lisa Schur and Doug Kruse, Rutgers University.


    Teach Disability History: We Can and We Must - March 8, 2023

    National Council for History Education (NCHE) conference - March 23-25, 2023 - Salt Lake City

    Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) conference - February 21-23, 2023 - Las Vegas

    National Council for the Social Studies Conference - December 2-4, 2022 - Philadelphia - Info on NCSS Conference

    Emerging America and Inclusion at the 2022 NCSS Conference 

    • "How to Integrate Disability History into the Curriculum: We Can and We Must" - Rich Cairn presentation includes the new Reform to Equal Rights: K-12 Disability History Curriculum - Friday, December 2, 10:05-10:30am - Marriott Franklin 11 (4th floor). 
    • "Social Studies and History Methods That Include –– and Strengthen –– English learners" - Poster Session. Alison Noyes. Saturday, December 3, 11:30am - 12:30pm. Convention Center Reg Bridge West. 


    Two smiling women wearing name tags stand in front of a conference poster.
    Alison Noyes and Kristen Chapron of iCivics present: "Are Multilingual Students on Your Educating for American Democracy Roadmap." (Photo by Tanai Benard-Turner). 2022 NCSS Philadelphia.


    2022 Recordings & Materials from Presentations 

    Massachusetts and the Experience of Civil War Disability - Graham Warder, Keene State College - June 30, 2022

    Link to the recording (1:02:06 minutes)

    Made possible in part through an Expanding Massachusetts Stories grant from Mass Humanities. 


    Smithsonian National Education Summit - July 27-28, 2022 - Information on the FREE Smithsonian summit.


    Interview with Rich Cairn and Alison Noyes from Emerging America - on Tom Bober's The Primary Source Podcast. 


    History and Civics Accessibility as a Practical Civil Right


    New Inclusive Strategies & Tools for Civic Engagement by Students with Disabilities - 2022 Massachusetts Civic Learning Week


    Inclusion for Civic Learning - Spring 2021 Webinar Series

    • Strategies to Engage All Students in Asking Their Own Questions


    Thinkport Inquiry Kits – Teaching Tools from Maryland Humanities and Maryland Public Television

    • May 4, 2021 -  Lia Atanat, Maryland Humanities - 190 Thinkport kits examine social studies/history themes for use in classroom activities, or as starter kits for History Day projects! Lia showcases Thinkport kits on Disability History and Immigration History. Visit the Thinkport site: 


    Inclusion in Civics and History - Easterseals #TeachDisabilityHistory Campaign 



    Other 2021 Recordings


    Teaching Disability History: From Reform to Equal Rights


    Immigrant Storytelling in the American Narrative

    Wednesday, September 22, 2021 (1 hr) Panel discussion for the Festival Near You programming of the Library of Congress National Book Festival.Sponsored by Emerging America and the Immigrant Learning Center. Over 200 attended live, and over 500 registered to receive the session recording. Link to the Webinar Recording.  

    Launching from the examination of immigration in the memoir of NPR veteran journalist Maria Hinojosa, Once I Was You, this webinar addressed

    • The experiences of people telling immigrant stories in multiple mediums, including refugees and long-time citizens of the united states
    • Strategies for both the U.S.-born and foreign-born to change the conversation
    • LINK to resources on primary sources and events connected to immigration history and stories


    Inquiry as a Primary Mode of Learning 

    • Webinar for AP Teachers on the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap. Emerging America's Rich Cairn joined the panel to speak about Disability History and access strategies. 
      Link to the AP webinar recording. (54 minutes). 


    Learning Disabilities Association of America Panel Discussion - Creating an Inclusive Civic and History Education for All 

    • March 25, 2021 - Learn about Educating for American Democracy (EAD), the changes it represents for all learners, the ways it can be leveraged to develop student self-advocacy and self-determination, and how you can join this ground-breaking effort. Moderated by Learning Disabilities Association of America President, Cindy Cipoletti. With Ace Parsi - EAD and former Director of Innovation at the National Center for Learning Disabilities, Kim Eckert - 2018 Louisiana Teacher of the Year, and Rich Cairn - Director of Emerging America.


    Rethinking Immigration History for ALL Learners

    • February 24, 2021 - Keynote presentation as part of Teacher Librarian Day (TLD). In 2021, the TLD ran from February 22 to 26 with the theme of New Directions. Sponsored by Metropolitan State University of Denver and Western Region TPS. 



    June 3, 2020 - Library of Congress TPS Summer Series - Reflecting on Using Primary Sources to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners: 

    • December 2, 2020 - WGBH webinar: Teach Diverse Stories with Primary Sources and ArtifactsWGBH recording. (60 minutes). 
    • October 21, 2020 - North East Regional Conference for the Social Studies (NERC): Making History, Civics, & Social Science Accessible to ALL Learners. NERC 2020 recording. (57:02 minutes). 
    • September 23-24, 2020 - Massachusetts Civic Literacy Coalition (MCLC): Engage Students with Disabilities in Inquiry and Civic Action. Materials included available through the MCLC site for the 2020 Civic Literacy Conference: 


    Contact Rich Cairn to schedule Accessing Inquiry and other professional development workshops remotely in your school district, state, or region in 2021-2022. 


    Upcoming Workshops

    Join DESE Civics Pathways Professional Learning The DESE Civics Pathways are an initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Educat…
    Network with thousands of dynamic educators from across the country for the 104th annual conference of the National Council for the Social Studies, including th…