Midwest World History Association


The 2022 

Great Lakes History Conference

Hosted in Conjunction with

The Twelfth Annual Conference

of the

Midwest World History Association

September 23-24, 2022

Grand Valley State University

Grand Rapids, Michigan


Dear Friends and Colleagues, 

Welcome to Grand Valley State University’s Grand Rapids campus and the twelfth annual conference of the Midwest World History Association. We are two plus years into the COVID-19 pandemic and are, to say the least, living in memorable times. Many of you are familiar with the tight knit family that the MWWHA has become. I welcome you back to the fold. For those of you who are new, we are delighted that you have decided to join us. We hope that this conference and the people that you meet here will be engaging and supportive, and that you will return for many years to come.

COVID-19 has taught us many things, not the least of which is that history matters now more than ever. This year’s conference theme – Difficult Histories – could not be timelier. How does one teach history in an environment where books focusing on histories of the oppressed are banned from school libraries and where curriculums are being narrowed so as to avoid controversial (and some not so controversial) topics? What steps do we historians and history educators need to take in a society where non-STEM education has less and less support from both students and taxpayers? How should we respond to the fact that fewer and fewer people support post-secondary education, and where those who have college degrees are increasingly looked at with mistrust?

As you look through the program, you will note that there are many Difficult Histories and many different approaches to tackling them. We have much to learn from each other. It is my hope that you will attend as many of the sessions as possible AND that you will also take the time to attend our special The Future of the MWWHA roundtable on Saturday afternoon. Not only is this roundtable between the last formal panel and prior to our post-conference reception at New Holland Brewing Company – in other words, you have no excuse to miss it – it is also a space in which we can discuss and share our ideas for the future of this wonderful, grassroots organization. As a historian who first attended the MWWHA conference at Alverno College so that I could mix academics with a return visit to my hometown of Milwaukee but then stayed on to both attend and contribute to future conferences, I invite you to become part of our ongoing and growing MWWHA family. Once you join us, you won’t want to leave us . . . that’s a promise.

Again, welcome to Grand Rapids and Grand Valley State University. Special thanks go to Megan Koeman-Eding, Elizabeth Kovacs, and Charlyn Worthem for all their work behind the scenes to ensure the conference runs smoothly! I look forward to getting to know you better and hope that you find your time with us an enjoyable and rewarding experience.


Andrae Marak


Midwest World History Association

With Gratitude


Special Thanks To Our Sponsors


Political Science Department and the Joseph Stevens Freedom Endowment

The Middle Ground Journal

The Middle Ground Journal will give extra consideration to papers presented at the 2022 MWWHA conference for a special issue of the journal. If you would like to download the journal's Call for Submissions as a pdf, please do so by clicking this link: MGJ Special Issue Call 2022-2023.pdf

The deadline for submissions to the journal for this special issue is December 15, 2022.

Please, feel free to share the pdf with others.


Ana Lucia Araujo is a Professor of History at the historically black Howard University in Washington DC. She authored or edited more than a dozen of books. Her three recent single-authored books include Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging the Past (2020), Museums and Atlantic Slavery (2021), and Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History (2017). She is a member of the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project. Her work has been funded by the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ (through the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation). She was also awarded the Franklin Research Grant of the American Philosophical Society, and the Getty Residential Scholar Grant at the Getty Center by the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, California.

Jodi Elowitz is the Director of Education & Engagement for the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ms. Elowitz has had a wide range of experiences in the field of Holocaust studies, including teaching, overseeing numerous educational and community programs, designing workshops, resources, study guides and curriculum for secondary educators and university students. Most recently, she was the project manager for the creation of the Holocaust gallery and part of the design team that built the museum at Cincinnati’s historic Union Terminal in January 2019. She has worked as the Outreach & Program Coordinator for the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, at the University of Minnesota, after serving as the Executive Director of the Tennessee Holocaust Commission, and the Director of Holocaust Education for the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. Her current area of expertise is artistic representation of the Holocaust in film. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities/Art History and her Master of Liberal Studies degree in Holocaust Studies at the University of Minnesota.


PLEASE NOTE – All presentations are in-person unless the presenter’s name is followed by an *, which indicates they are presenting remotely via Zoom.

  • Session One: Friday, 1:00-2:30 PM                                                                                                 

    PANEL 1.1

    Course Work: Innovative Approaches to History in the Classroom 

    Room: DEV 136E      

    Zoom Link: [zoom links are being emailed to conference registrants]

    Chair: Annie Whitlock, Grand Valley State University

    • Elizabeth Shesko, Oakland University, Teaching US Intervention in the Era of Fake News”
    • Karin Steinbrueck, National Louis University, Globalizing Prison Life, Power, Camps, and Surveillance: Lessons from the Undergraduate Course Mass Incarceration”
    • Keith Snedeger, Utah Valley University, Racism, Reconciliation or Recrimination: Challenges in Teaching the History of South Africa”
    • Charles McCaffrey, North Central Michigan College, “Teaching Hard History with Digital Literacy: From the American Civil Rights Movement to Blacks Lives Matter”
  • PANEL 1.2

    Challenging the Narrative: Imperialism in U.S. History

    Room: DEV 138E

    Zoom Link: 

    Chair: Jennifer Morris, Mount St. Joseph University

    • Rebekah Richardson, Northern Kentucky University
    • Kevin Eagles, Northern Kentucky University
    • M. Carlotta Lively, Northern Kentucky University
  • PANEL 1.3

    Teaching Difficult Histories to non-Majors (Workshop)

    Room: DEV 203E

    Zoom Link: 

    Co-Chairs: Jennifer Wahl, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Craig Miller, Pennsylvania College of Technology

  • Session Two: Friday, 2:45-4:15 PM                                                                        

    PANEL 2.1

    Women and Latin American History (Workshop)

    Room: DEV 203D

    Zoom Link: 

    Facilitator: Suzanne Litrel, Brown University

    PANEL 2.2 [session canceled]

    Teaching the Ukraine Crisis

    • PANEL 2.3

      Difficult Histories and the Cold War Era

      Room: DEV 136E

      Zoom Link: 

      Chair: Jennifer Morris, Mount St. Joseph University

      •  John Aerni-Flessner, Michigan State University, “Lesotho and the QwaQwa Ski Resort: Border Disputes, National Sovereignty, and Development in the Apartheid Era” (paper co-authored with Dr. Chitja Twala, University of the Free State, South Africa)
      •  Anca Glont, University of Dayton, “A Miserable Mass of Manipulated Miners:” Perceptions of Transition in the Global 1980s”
    • PANEL 2.4

      GVSU Undergraduate Scholarship Showcase

      Room: DEV 138E

      Zoom Link: 

      Chair: Paul Murphy, Grand Valley State University

      • Tess Dornan, “Difficult Histories: A Reflection on the Phenomenon of Holocaust Denial,” Grand Valley State University
      • Ian McGucken, “Syncretism in Spanish Latin America: Survival, Power, and Resistance,” Grand Valley State University
      • Madison Olson, “Dessert in the Antebellum South,” Grand Valley State University
    • MWWHA EXECUTIVE MEETING, 4:30-5:30 PM                                                                          

      Room: DEV 203E

      Zoom Link: 

      Pre-Keynote Reception, 5:30-6:00 PM                                                                                           

      Room: Regency Room, adjacent to Loosemore Auditorium

      Keynote Address, 6:00-7:30 PM                                                                                             

      Dr Ana Lucia Araujo, "Why the Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery Are Difficult Histories"

      Opening Remarks from Dr Jennifer Drake, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Grand Valley State University

      Room: Loosemore Auditorium

      Zoom Link: 

      Abstract: This lecture will discuss how and why over the past years the Atlantic slave trade and Atlantic slavery became controversial topics of public debate in Europe, Africa, and the Americas. While addressing the main challenges, problems, and opportunities of studying the history of these two atrocities as world history, the lecture will emphasize some of the pitfalls of existing attempts. Using as examples a variety of written and visual sources from different periods and regions associated with the history of the Atlantic slave trade, the lecture emphasizes the need of including the African continent, women, and the South Atlantic world (particularly Brazil) in existing studies. Ultimately, the lecture also invites historians to consider memory, material culture, and visual culture as important dimensions that can greatly contribute not only to the study of the past but also to establishing connections between the past and the present. 

      Post-Keynote Reception: Friday, 7:30-10:30 PM                                                                          

      Hosted by One Bourbon - https://onebourbongr.com/

      Location: 608 Bridge St NW, Grand Rapids, MI – it is a 0.7 mile walk from the conference site

      Session Three: Saturday, 8:30-10:00 AM                                                                                      

      PANEL 3.1

      Latin America in World History

      Room: DEV 136E

      Zoom Link: 

      Chair: Michael Huner, Grand Valley State University

      • Andrae Marak, Roosevelt University, “Indigenous Mobility as Migration in Northwestern Mexico”
      • Nikki Magie, Olivet College, “Latin American Migration in World History, 1840 – 1920”
      • Krista Feinburg, Brigham Young University – Idaho, “The Culmination of Decades of Corruption: Venezuelan Diaspora Post Chavez”
    • PANEL 3.2

      An Anti-Racist Approach to APUSH (Workshop)

      Room: DEV 203E

      Zoom Link: 

      Facilitator: Matthew Vriesman, Kentwood Public Schools / Antiracist APUSH 

      PANEL 3.3

      New Interpretations of Asian History 

      Room: DEV 138E

      Zoom Link: 

      Chair: Patrick Shan, Grand Valley State University

      • Anthony Baker, University of Memphis, “An Analysis of the Historiographic tradition surrounding the Japanese Emperor”
      • Ahvana Paul*, Center for Studies in Social Sciences – Calcutta, “Two Objects and the Possibility of Multiple Discourses Within the Metropolis”
      • Benjamin Choo*, Singapore University of Social Studies, “’Singapore-on-Thames’: Reflections on the Past and Present of Global Representations of the Singaporean Economy”
    • PANEL 3.4

      Imperialism and Nationalism in the Mediterranean World

      Room: DEV 203D

      Zoom Link: 

      Chair: Eric Covey, Grand Valley State University

      • Grace Trevino, Lewis University, “Spanish Involvement in Morocco: Spanish Opinion, and Did Spain Tell the Truth?” 
      • Alexander Lang, Black Hills State University, ““Fascism of the Colonized? Albanian and Algerian Far-Right Nationalists, 1936-1943”
      • Kasturi Chatterjee*, FLAME University, “What’s in a Name? Why Recognition of the Armenian Genocide Matters for Europe and Turkey”
      • Cory Forbes*, Marquette University, “The Creation of History in Kemalist Turkey”
    • Session Four: Saturday, 10:15-11:45 AM                                                             


      Jodi Elowitz, “Difficult Histories: How Museum Spaces Can Inspire Critical Thinking and Civic Engagement

      Opening Remarks from Dr Jason Crouthamel, Professor of History, Grand Valley State University

      Room: Loosemore Auditorium

      Zoom Link: 

      Abstract: In 2020 Echoes and Reflections released a US College survey about Holocaust education in today’s High Schools. The findings were in many ways encouraging. They indicated positive outcomes of Holocaust education reflecting gains in historical knowledge but also in cultivating more empathetic, tolerant, and engaged students. These findings we already something we understood when we undertook the building of the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center located in historic Union Terminal in Cincinnati Ohio. In my presentation I will take you on a 360 tour of the museum, while discussing how we built the exhibits to engage students in learning about the Holocaust history through the words, photographs, artifacts, and video testimony of local eyewitnesses who survived. In addition, we are in the unique position of the only Holocaust Museum in the United States to have authentic space, as this was the transportation terminal where survivors arrived by train and took their first steps to rebuilding their lives. Within the Museum we want students to think critically about the space they are in and how they can be inspired to learn more about the Holocaust and to apply what they have learned to make change in their own communities. It was important to HHC that we discuss the Holocaust as “…an event of global proportions with worldwide ramifications.” (Bergen 2016) Certainly the ramifications are still with us today, as we see a rise in antisemitism and mass violence. A museum can be the first step for many students towards building their knowledge on the Holocaust and other difficult histories they are learning. It is part of a process which includes training educators, building inquiry-based lessons, and presenting the study beyond the history to incorporate the skills that students need to be civically engaged.

      Lunch – Saturday, 11:45-1:00 PM                                                                          

      We would love conference attendees to explore downtown Grand Rapids. There are many local lunch spots within easy walking distance of the conference site, including Luna GR, San Chez Bistro, Little Bird, and Founder’s Brewing Co. Fast-food staples like Burger King, Jimmy John’s, and Wahlburger are close by as well. Please keep in mind that ArtPrize will be going on during this weekend, which means there will be a lot people in the downtown area moving between hundreds of pieces of publicly displayed art. This event is always a lot of fun, but keep in mind wait times at restaurants may be longer than usual! For those with cars, there are lots of excellent lunch spots only five minutes east of downtown that will probably be less busy, including The Green Well, Maru Sushi, Hancock, and Terra GR. 

      Session Five: Saturday, 1:00-2:30 PM                                                                    

      PANEL 5.1

      Difficult Histories in the Media 

      Room: DEV 136E

      Zoom Link: 

      Chair: Jason Crouthamel, Grand Valley State University

      • Kenneth Ackerson*, George Gwinnett College, “PTSD/Shell Shock in Downton Abbey”
      • Donald Eberle*, Napoleon Area City Schools, “Shooting Mexicans Is More Exciting for They Can Run Faster and Are More Numerous.” Racism in the Mutt and Jeff comic strip”
      •  David Golland*, Monmouth University, “Journey and Race: Cultural Appropriation in Corporate Rock”
    • PANEL 5.2

      Racism and the United States

      Room: DEV 138E

      Zoom Link: 

      Chair: Grace Coolidge, Grand Valley State University

      • Kevin Hogg*, Mount Baker Secondary School, “Farewell, Franklin?: Elimination of High-Denomination Bills in 1969 and the Future of U.S. Currency”
      • Pete Burkholder*, Fairleigh Dickinson University, “The American Public and "Difficult Histories": What the Results from a National Survey Tell Us”
      • Jacqueline Rowe, Arizona State University, “The Burden of Pain: A Study of the Historical Value of the Black Female Body”
      • Lisa Bratton*, Tuskegee University, “God Bless the Child: The Difficult History of Slavery’s Most Vulnerable Victims”
    • PANEL 5.3

      Techniques for Teaching Difficult Histories (Workshop)

      Room: DEV 203D

      Zoom Link: 

      Co-Chairs: Eileen Orzoff-Baranyk, Vernon Hills High School,

      Tom Barker*, Billy Mills Middle School

      PANEL 5.4

      Global Authoritarianism: Challenging Histories of the Military, Authoritarian Rule, and Dictatorships

      Room: DEV 203E

      Zoom Link: 

      Chair: Jennifer Wahl, Pennsylvania College of Technology

      • Zachary Morgan, Penn State University, “Negotiating the Hostile Archive: Race and the Military Archive in Post-Authoritarian Brazil”
      • Sarah Eltabib, Adelphi University, “De-Glorifying the Dictator”
      • Mark Soderstrom, Aurora University, “Ukraine and the World History Survey”

    Session Six: Saturday, 2:45-4:15 PM                                                                                  

    PANEL 6.1

    The Future of the MWWHA (Roundtable – all welcome!)

    Room: DEV 203E

    Zoom Link: 

    Chair: Andrae Marak, Roosevelt University

    Post-Conference Reception: Saturday, 5:00-8:00 PM                                                      

    Hosted by New Holland Brewing Co - https://www.newhollandbrew.com/location/grand-rapids/

    Location: 417 Bridge St NW, Grand Rapids, MI – it is a 0.5 mile walk from the conference site

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