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ALBA Institute Oberlin

High-School Teachers Institute on Ohio and the Spanish Civil War

A week-long interdisciplinary professional-development program for high-school teachers in Social Studies (History), Spanish, and English Language Arts

June 17-22, 2012, Oberlin College, OH

sponsored by Oberlin College, the Ohio Humanities Council and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA)

Oberlin Institute Banner

Application deadline: April 10, 2012

For more information and application materials click here.


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Application Deadline: April 10, 2012

Click here for the Application Form

The Spanish Civil War (1936-39) is an outstanding pedagogical tool to introduce the major historical, political, and cultural issues that marked the evolution of twentieth-century history and culture.  It can help students understand how political ideas and ideals can shape people’s lives and move them to make difficult and sometimes dangerous choices.  Almost 3,000 Americans—including more than 100 Ohioans— joined the Spanish fight against fascism.

One of the guiding principles of the institute is the notion that the local and the global are closely intertwined, and that examples from close to home can provide a compelling window into the history of the world at large. While providing an introduction to the political, historical, and cultural aspects of the era, the workshop will also focus on the war’s impact on the lives of five Ohioans, includingDavid McKelvy White, the son of Ohio governor George White (1931-35) who fought as a volunteer with the Republic, and Salaria Kea of Akron, the only African American woman among the U.S. volunteers, who worked as a nurse in Spain.

Featuring presentations by humanities scholars, hands-on research, and curriculum development workshops, the institute will give high-school teachers an introduction to the Spanish Civil War, U.S involvement in the international crises that led to World War II, and the conflict’s impact on American culture and society, examining in particular the experiences of five Ohioans involved in the conflict. Primary sources will be a central focus throughout. Participants will work with a carefully selected set of original documents—ranging from personal letters by Ohioans and other Americans who went to Spain, to government reports and oral history sources—as well as with secondary materials in both print and audiovisual format.

The workshop is limited to twenty participants. Selection will be based on applicants’ demonstrated interest in the subject matter and likelihood that the workshop materials will be incorporated into the classroom.  All teachers will be supported throughout the year by ALBA and Oberlin College faculty as they prepare to teach the topic. Applications from interdisciplinary teams at the same school are encouraged.

High-school teachers who successfully complete the institute will receive:

  • a $300 stipend;
  • one non-degree graduate credit;
  • an instructional packet containing books, videos, and primary source materials; and
  • a travel allowance & meals during the institute. (Limited funding is available for lodging for teachers who live a distance from Oberlin and cannot commute to and from the Oberlin campus each day for the workshop.)

Teachers will be expected to participate in all activities and to complete reading assignments in advance of each day’s sessions, including one short book and a film in advance of the workshop, which will be sent to accepted applicants in early May. The workshop will be held on the Oberlin College campus in Oberlin, Ohio, which is located approximately 35 miles southwest of Cleveland.

Click here for the Application Form (Deadline April 10, 2012)

Comments from participants in the 2010 institute:

“[T]he best professional development I have ever attended. I felt spoiled with the quality of instructors and material”; 

“I very much enjoyed this institute and gained so much information about the Spanish Civil War that I feel comfortable teaching my student this topic”; 

“Not only was I amazed by the collective brainpower in the room. I was truly touched that the workshop organizers treated us always with the utmost respect.”

Core Faculty

Sebastiaan Faber, PhD (Institute Director) is Professor of Hispanic Studies at Oberlin College. He is author and editor of four books, including Anglo-American Hispanists and the Spanish Civil War (Palgrave, 2008) and more than fifty scholarly articles on Spanish and Latin American culture and history. Professor Faber serves on the Board of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA). 

Peter N. Carroll, PhD. is author and editor of 17 books, including The Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade: Americans in the Spanish Civil War (Stanford, 1994), and Facing Fascism: New York and the Spanish Civil War (NYU, 2007). Mr. Carroll is Chair of the Board of Governors of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) and co-curator of two museum exhibitions, including Shouts From the Wall: Posters of the Spanish Civil War. 

Geoff Pingree, PhD. is associate Professor of Cinema Studies at Oberlin College. A writer, photographer, and Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker, he has published widely about contemporary Spain and the Spanish Civil War, both in scholarly and non-scholarly venues, including Time magazine and the New York Times. Professor Pingree is a specialist in Spanish cinema and visual coverage of the Spanish Civil War.

James D. Fernández, Ph.D. is professor of Spanish at NYU and vice-chair of ALBA. He has curated major exhibits, including Facing Fascism: New York and the Spanish Civil War (2007), and has extensive experience working with high-school students and teachers to created primary-source-based curriculum.