UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Kimberley Reilly (DJS, History, Women’s and Gender Studies) has published a book, The Politics of Prosperity: Mass Consumer Culture in the 1920s, with Oxford University Press. The book is part of the “Debating American History” series, edited by David J. Voelker (UW-Green Bay) and Joel M. Sipress (UW-Superior), which allows students to consider competing interpretations of the past using primary source evidence. Reilly’s book helps students to debate the question, “did mass consumer culture empower Americans in the 1920s?”
Twenty-five students submitted essays and two students claimed the top prizes and a scholarship for the annual Liberal Arts Scholarship Essay contest. The Selection Committee was composed of Rebecca Abler, Vicki Medland, Chris Williams and Xan Bozzo. The essays will be published in the Sheepshead Review.
The first-year award went to Emily Miller (Psychology/Spanish). The committee had this to say about the essay:
“Miller’s essay was particularly strong to the committee as she was able to weave a broad understanding of the liberal arts, starting with the Yale Report of 1828, into her own personal experiences at UW-Green Bay. Her reflection as a reluctant gen-ed student who learned to appreciate how the liberal arts was enhancing her education and goals was particularly impressive. The quote, “In macroeconomics, I learned psychology; after all, the basis of economics is the human behavior which drives us to make purchases” was one that stood out.”
The second award, presented to a second- through fourth-year student, went to sophomore Mackenzie Ringer (History). The Committee wrote this:
“Ringer’s essay deftly makes the case for a liberal arts education as crucial to preparation of society for fluid, ever-changing circumstances. It analyzes the criticisms of liberal arts education and refutes those criticisms, making the case that while job and career trends can rise and fall, liberal arts provides the fundamental background needed to respond to a dynamic world. She includes the quick response of universities, specifically UW-Green Bay, to the COVID-19 pandemic as an illustrative example of how those with liberal arts values can respond quickly to changes. Ringer acknowledges the challenges inherent in the rising cost of a college education and makes the case for addressing those in order to continue to provide equitable education for all.”
Associate Prof. Jon Shelton (History) was recently quoted about how a pandemic can impact teacher contracts and unions. Source: Teachers’ Unions and Districts Hammer Out New Expectations for Remote Teaching | Education Week.
UW-Green Bay Prof. David Voelker (History, Humanities) will be the program director for Common CAHSS 2020: Beyond Sustainability: Imagining an Ecological Future. The conference, which will be held on Dec. 1, 2020 at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts will focus on Imagining an Ecological Future.
The Covid-19 pandemic, which has cast intense light on both our strengths and shortcomings as a society, provides an especially poignant context to address the theme of “Beyond Sustainability: Imagining an Ecological Future.”
Here is more from organizers, “We need a more robust framework than ‘environmental sustainability’ to address the interrelated environmental crises that we now face. The word “environment” draws a line of separation between humans and the rest of the community of life. ‘Ecological’ better captures the vital relationships among all living beings and systems on the planet. ‘Sustainability’ implies that we have a stable condition that we can preserve going forward. In fact, we face decades if not centuries of climate disruption and rising sea levels, even if we dramatically reduce carbon emissions over the coming decades. Moreover, to pursue ‘sustainability’ begs questions that we have largely avoided: What do we want to sustain? What can we hope to sustain, given that it’s not logically possible to sustain the status quo? To think ‘Beyond Sustainability’ is not to negate sustainability as a goal, but our situation challenges us to boldly think, feel, and imagine how we can grapple with unsustainability and see it for what it is: a multifaceted, ‘wicked’ problem that will increasingly manifest itself across all aspects of our lives over the coming decades, with especially harmful results for the larger community of life of which we are a part and for many people around the world who already struggle to make ends meet.”
Media Contact: Diane Nagy
Weidner Center for the Performing Arts
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
Presidential Historian to be featured in an online streaming event: ‘A Conversation with Michael Beschloss’ This free event is sponsored by the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (Green Bay, Wis.) The Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership and University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Weidner Center presents “A Conversation with Michael Beschloss.” Join us for a free online streaming event with event moderator Eric J. Morgan, UW-Green Bay Associate Professor of Democracy and Justice Studies and History, on Thursday, April 23 at 6 p.m.
The event, sponsored by the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership, is a free event and open to the public. Registration for the event is required and is available at thompsoncenter.wisc.edu and WeidnerCenter.com.
The New York Times has called Michael Beschloss “easily the most widely recognized Presidential historian in the United States.” The Charlotte Observer has said, “Michael Beschloss knows more about America’s Presidents than perhaps anyone on earth.” Michael is an award-winning historian, bestselling author of nine books and has been a New York Times contributing columnist. He is the NBC News Presidential Historian and a contributor to the PBS NewsHour.
“I’m proud to work with UW-Green Bay to put on another great event,” said Thompson Center Director Ryan Owens. “The people in Green Bay have been fantastic and come out in droves to our events. And the university always operates with pride and integrity. We look forward to working with them more in the future and continuing to put on top-notch events for people in the Green Bay area.”
Weidner Center’s Executive and Artistic Director Kelli Strickland stated, “We are so pleased that Tommy G. Thompson Center was game to partner with us in these unusual circumstances. Nothing will replace gathering together to share ideas, and we can’t wait to get back to it when the time is right. But in the meantime, we are glad to offer new ways to share the ‘virtual’ air with our nation’s big thinkers.”
Eric J. Morgan (Event Moderator) is an associate professor of Democracy and Justice Studies and History at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he teaches a variety of courses on modern U.S. and African history. His scholarship has been featured in, among other publications: Diplomatic History, the International Journal for the History of Sport; Peace & Change; Diplomacy & Statecraft; The History Teacher; Enterprise & Society; Passport: The SHAFR Review; The SHAFR Guide; and the Dictionary of African Biography. He also serves as the editor-in-chief of Voyageur: Northeast Wisconsin’s Historical Review.
About The Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership
The Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership was established to provide a multi-disciplinary, non-partisan environment to study, discuss, and improve leadership. Students, faculty members, policymakers, and other relevant stakeholders come together to share knowledge and learn about successful public leadership. We pledge to pursue leadership, to foster collegiality, and to be problem-solvers. For more information visit thompsoncenter.wisc.edu.
About the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts
UW-Green Bay’s Weidner Center for the Performing Arts opened on January 15, 1993 and is known for its elegant design and the acoustic excellence of its 2,000-plus seat main hall, Cofrin Family Hall. It also houses two smaller performance spaces, the Fort Howard recital hall and the Jean Weidner Theatre, along with a dance studio and Grand Foyer. The Weidner Center has a distinct benefit in being part of a leading institution of higher learning. The Center is a home for UW-Green Bay Music and Theatre and Dance programs, community events and productions and performances by visiting artists and touring companies. For more information on the Weidner Center, visit www.WeidnerCenter.com, call 920-465-2726 or 800-895-0071, or follow ‘Weidner Center for the Performing Arts’ on Facebook, Twitter (@WeidnerCenter) and Instagram (@weidnercenter).
About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs to more than 8,700 students with campus locations in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Established in 1965 on the border of Green Bay, the University and its campuses are centers of cultural enrichment, innovation and learning. The Green Bay campus is home to one of the Midwest’s most prolific performing arts centers, a nationally recognized 4,000-seat student recreation center, D-I athletics, an award-winning nine-hole golf course and a five-mile recreational trail and arboretum, which is free and open to the public. This four-campus University transforms lives and communities through student-focused teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, powerful connections and a problem-solving approach to education. UW-Green Bay’s main campus is centrally located, close to both the Door County resort area and the dynamic economies of Northeast Wisconsin, the Fox Valley region and the I-43 corridor. UW-Green Bay offers in-demand programs in science, engineering and technology; business; health, education and social welfare; and arts, humanities and social sciences. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.
Associate Prof. Jon Shelton (History) was quoted in a piece on the recent strikes from Chicago teachers. Shelton states, “Obviously, this is part of a trajectory—big-city unions organizing with these kinds of demands. The crucial thing is they have been able to win. They’ve mobilized the community.” Read more via St. Paul teacher contract talks headed down to the wire — again | Star Tribune.
UW-Green Bay’s Kimberley Reilly (Democracy and Justice Studies, History, Women’s and Gender Studies) will deliver a Door County Talks presentation, “Woman Suffrage 100 Years Later: Assessing Its Triumphs and Limits” on Feb. 22, 10 a.m., at the Door Community Auditorium in Fish Creek. One hundred years after women won the constitutional right to vote, Reilly will discuss the ways in which the women’s-rights movement won passage of the Nineteenth Amendment and the lessons we can learn from that victory. Free-will donations are encouraged. Source: Kimberley Reilly to Deliver Presentation on Women Suffrage – Door County Pulse
This month, there will be three presentations given by UW-Green Bay faculty and staff in Door County. The first is on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020 at 10 a.m. with Vince Lowery (History), the director of Student Success and Engagement at UW-Green Bay, called “How Many Reconstructions Does it Take to Be Free? A Meditation on the Long Civil Rights Movement.” The second presentation is Saturday, Feb. 22 at 10 a.m. with Associate Prof. Kimberley Reilly (Democracy and Justice Studies) called “Woman Suffrage 100 Years Later: Assessing Its Triumphs and Limits”. On Saturday, Feb. 29 at 10 a.m., Assistant Prof. Nolan Bennett (Democracy and Justice Studies) presents “The Radical Vision of the American Abolitionists). These presentations are in partnership with The Door County Civility Project. All events are free and open to the public, but donations are encouraged.
Shelton one of 30 selected from more than 200 applicants
If your vision of “living history” is an aging professor prattling on about his early years, you have yet to meet UW-Green Bay Associate Professor, Jon Shelton (Democracy and Justice Studies).
Shelton’s approach to understanding history is to research the thread of an event or concept from its origins, follow the significant developments over time and engage students in discussion about the way it is being lived or applied now. Students learn how lessons from the past might inform decisions today.
His research focuses on the intersection of history and education, an area on which he has built a reputation as a national scholar. He is regularly contacted by reporters (New York Times, TIME, Washington Post, etc.) who are looking for context behind national stories about education and labor relations.
To further his research, Shelton has been awarded a prestigious postdoctoral grant from the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Fellowship Program, which supports “early career scholars working in critical areas of education research,” according to the NAEd website.
“One of the best features of the fellowship,” said Shelton, “is the opportunity to network with other research fellows and members of the National Academy. It gives me the opportunity to think outside of my own discipline, which is also consistent with the interdisciplinary, problem-focused nature of UW-Green Bay.”
Shelton will use the research fellowship to explore the historical connections between education, economic opportunity, and political divisions in America.
“I was trained as a labor historian, but now I also do work in the history of education,” said Shelton. In fact, his dissertation won an award from the Labor and Working-Class History Association and his book won the First Book Award from the International Standing Conference on the History of Education.
“The main reason I became interested in my current topic has to do with my students in Democracy and Justice Studies,” Shelton continued. “It was clear these students believed in the value of education, but a lot of them talked about family members who had college degrees and still could not find jobs. They voiced lower expectations about what a college education would actually do for them. This got me curious about what Americans thought about education and economic opportunity or economic security over time.”
Shelton said the Democratic Party in the ‘60s had bipartisan support for the idea that education was just one part of a host of social democratic policies necessary to alleviate poverty and give all Americans economic security. By the ‘90s, however, many national Democrats increasingly called for investing public funds in education and job re-training as their major policy for increasing economic inequality.
In the decades afterward, Shelton believes, as investments in education failed to provide good jobs to everyone and jobs moved to other countries, a real resentment bubbled up from the grassroots. Successful politicians, he said, have been able to mobilize disaffected, blue-collar groups, especially in the upper Midwest, who express a desire to “discipline these educators who are spending our tax dollars needlessly.”
As a consequence, Shelton posited, in the past few years, there has been both an assault on the political center from the right, and an existential discussion among the Democrats about where they’re going to go, as a few Democratic presidential candidates challenge some Democratic norms.
“What I’m going to do is look at how various people have made the economic argument for education, going back as far as the 19th century, and how that’s changed over time,” said Shelton. “I’m a proponent of public investment in education, obviously, but I think the narrative that education can solve all problems has come at the expense of other things policy-makers should have considered in order to provide full economic citizenship for all Americans. If that had happened, I don’t think we’d be seeing the big levels of resentment we see right now in both parties.
Shelton’s research will take him away from teaching for a full academic year, starting now, spring term 2020. Losing a faculty member from an eight-person department can have a significant impact on remaining faculty, but Shelton said he’s received tremendous support from his peers and from university administration.
“My department chair, Alison Staudinger, and our dean, Chuck Rybak, have been ‘150% supporters’ of this fellowship,” said Shelton. “And my colleagues’ only question has been, “How do we make this work?””
Although Shelton’s research will take him away from UW-Green Bay, he won’t be too far.
“The nature of historical research involves visiting archives,” said Shelton. “I’ll be visiting the National Education Association archives in Washington, D.C., and I’ll visit other sites across the upper Midwest. I’m planning to visit UW-Madison, the state archives of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, the Reuther Library in Detroit to see the American Federation of Teachers archives, the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock and the Johnson Presidential Library in Austin. I’m still scoping out some of the study plan, so there will probably be more visits like that.”
Shelton is already integrating some of his research findings into his classroom.
“I’m fortunate to work in an academic unit that engages all of us on the faculty in pursuit of a similar question about democracy and social justice, so I don’t see any way that this would not inform our classwork. In fact, a lot of the questions I’m exploring came from classroom discussions.”
The collaborative campus environment is what drew Shelton to Green Bay.
“I came to UW-Green Bay in 2013 because I was attracted by the interdisciplinary, problem-focused nature of the campus,” Shelton said. “It sounds corny, but I am lucky to be in arguably the best academic unit that exists anywhere in the country. We’re small, but we’re devoted to a common project that transcends our disciplines: What makes societies equitable, what makes them change, how they can become more equitable?
“Students come to study with us because they are excited about that question,” he said. “Many go on to grad school or law school or become labor organizers across the country.”
Shelton is also preparing a second book, which will explore what his research has revealed about history’s influence on contemporary politics. He hopes it will resonate with the general reader and national policy makers.
“One of my goals is to explain how we got to this point,” said Shelton. “The other goal is to look at the arguments people have made to connect education, economics and politics, and to learn where those arguments were helpful and where they were not.
“I hope people will read the book and talk about how we have come to think about politics today,” he concluded. “I also hope this will inform political debates about education and economic policy for the future.”
And that brings history to life.
 “Against the Public: Teacher Strikes and the Decline of Liberalism, 1968-1981,” University of Maryland, 2013. Advisor: Julie Greene
 “Teacher Strike! Public Education and the Making of a New American Political Order,” University of Illinois Press/Working Class in American History series, 2017.
The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences invites everyone to the International Film Series for spring 2020. All screenings begin at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Neville Public Museum. All films are free and open to the public. Films are unrated, but intended for a mature audience. The first film of the season is “Salt of the Earth” on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. It will be presented by Associate Prof. Jon Shelton (History).
The film’s description: At New Mexico’s Empire Zinc mine, Mexican-American workers protest the unsafe work conditions and unequal wages compared to their Anglo counterparts. Ramon Quintero helps organize the strike, but he is shown to be a hypocrite by treating his pregnant wife, Esperanza, with a similar unfairness. When an injunction stops the men from protesting, however, the gender roles are reversed, and women find themselves on the picket lines while the men stay at home.