Jim Loewen gives hilarious and gripping talks
on topics related to Lies My Teacher Told
Me and Lies Across America. He is
also experienced at leading workshops for in-service
teachers and students in schools of education.
To have Jim Loewen speak at your community forum,
school, or college:
Contact James Loewen directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact either of James Loewen's agents: Speak Out! Or Keppler
Jim Loewen signs books after talking in Appleton, Wisconsin, about the Nadir of race relations, when lynchings went to their all-time high.
That era also spawned sundown towns -- towns that for decades were (some still are) all-white on purpose. Appleton was such a town from c.1920 to c.1970. Now, however, some Appleton residents are taking steps to help it transcend its past and develop good race relations.
Sundown Towns Workshop
Jim Loewen gives talks and workshops on Sundown Towns. Talks on this topic are illustrated and are interesting for communities, campus-wide college venues, and banquets, etc., for organizations. Workshops are suitable for community organizations concerned about race relations, housing discrimination, "Driving While Black," etc., and for lawyer groups. They are also useful for teachers who want to help students do research on their own towns – perhaps middle schoolers who can interview senior citizens in a nursing home, or high school Advanced Placement students in the "lame duck" session after their ETS exam, or college students.
Jim Loewen's Other Workshops
My most popular workshop is sometimes titled
"The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Studies
Schooling," for the alliteration of course.
It can also be titled "Lies My Teacher
Told Me and How To Do Better." The workshop
is aimed at K-12 in-service teachers and ed.
students. I find this to be a good mix, better
than either group alone, but have also given
the workshop to each category of participants
separately. College faculty in education and
history have also enjoyed it. This workshop
stresses going beyond history textbooks and
equipping students to "be their own historians."
Terms like ethnocentrism, Eurocentrism, and
historiography come alive.
Almost as popular is the workshop "Practical
Issues in Teaching History: Using the Web, Young
Children, Projects, the Tyranny of Coverage,
Dealing with Parents and Principals." This
workshop begins with participants in pairs,
answering two questions: what issues are most
important to me to get addressed in this workshop?
and what method(s) have I used successfully
to turn students on to a given topic in history?
I collect answers to the former; on the fly
I then structure them and begin to suggest answers,
sometimes asking for suggested answers from
Owing to the reception accorded myf history book,
Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites
Get Wrong, I have developed two workshops. One,
for staffs of museums and historic sites, tells
the importance of facing the past squarely,
suggests ways to do so, and gives examples of
institutions that have flourished, not shrivelled,
as a result. It is titled "Telling the
Truth on the Landscape: Why and How to Do It."
A second workshop, "Visiting and Creating
Historic Sites," is aimed at people who
visit and use historic places. It shows deliberate
errors and coverups perpetrated by historic
sites, suggests ways to help students learn
about sites before they visit as a class or
individually, and gives examples of students
who have told parts of their community's history
on the landscape or the web.
I also offer several workshops treating more
"Lies My Teacher Told Me About the Confederacy"
"How History Keeps Us Racist -- And What
To Do About It"
"How American History Courses Make
Native Americans Look Stupid -- And
How To Do Better"
"Using Thanksgiving To Teach about
"How American History Leaves Out
Women, Gays, and Lesbians -- and How and Why
To Do Better"
"Using Columbus Day To Teach Historiography"
"Teaching about Social Class"
"The Most Important Era of American History You Never Heard Of, and Why It's So Important"
Each workshop is illustrated, using an overhead projector or a computer running PowerPoint.
I will get to you a small handout (one to two
sheets) for duplication for each participant.
I have given these workshops successfully to
groups ranging from a dozen to several hundred
people. Each takes at least 90 minutes, 120
minutes with increased group participation.
Book-signings usually work well after workshops,
because I'm funny as well as serious. They are
important to me because they expose people to
my ideas; they can generate revenue for your
organization or nearby bookstore. They also
treat audiences seriously, as mature people
who consider buying books for their own education
and that of others.
Reactions to Talks on Sundown Towns by Jim Loewen
"I've had nothing bad rave reviews of your lecture! Everyone was so happy, and I'm glad we had the extra books signed because people are still coming in to get them! The faculty were THRILLED with the presentation and I was very happy with the attendance." — Jean Mick, University of Michigan Dearborn, 9/2005
"I believe everyone who was present and heard your talk would agree that you brought together some half memories and some emotions we all carry along with a bit of shame that people we know could impose racism on our communities. We need these reminders and we are all appreciative of the work you have done to bring the lowdown on Sundown Communities to us. We can only hope that your work will help to also bring the curtains down on this phase of our history." — Kate Ostrom, President, Puget Sound Association of Phi Beta Kappa, 11/2004.
"Your presentation was inspiring and challenging — perfect." — Elise Fillpot, Director, Bringing History Home project, Iowa, 10/2005.
"Thank you for the stimulating conversation at lunch and throughout the day with students. In fact, the conversation will continue here at HPHS with about 30 teachers buying Sundown Towns at the reduced price offered by your publisher." — Casey Wright, Social Science Department Chair, Highland Park High School, Highland Park, Illinois, 10/2005.
"The faculty in attendance were really thrilled with your presentation and were using it as an example of the 'kind of events we should have more of.'... It was definitely one of the highlights of the fall semester in terms of extracurricular opportunities for students, faculty, and staff." — Christine Lally, County College of Morris (NJ), 11/2005.
"We were delighted to have you as our key luncheon speaker... Your story is riveting, your presentation was compelling, and the importance of this neglected history is clear to everyone who hears you." — Jack Boger, Prof. of Law, University of North Carolina, 1/2006.
"Your talk was absolutely wonderful and stimulating. Our University community benefited greatly from your insightful words about the history, politics, and practices of racism across the country and, moreover, in our very own neighborhood." — Isis Semaj, Provost's Office, University of Maryland, 10/2008.
Read Some Reactions to Talks
and Workshops by Jim Loewen
"People are still talking about all the information
you gave." - Dana Emmons, Woodstock Historical
"I was quite overwhelmed by the great response
of both students and faculty to your lecture
- it seems to me that neither group, as a whole,
gets excited very often, especially with regard
to anything remotely academic. Your lecture
was not only eye-opening, but entertaining as
well. I greatly appreciated your talent for
captivating and educating an audience at the
same time." - Amy Myers, undergraduate student,
Lectures and Forums Coordinator, South Dakota
State University, 12/97.
"You were such a sensation. Everybody wrote
appreciative comments on the evaluations. People
thoroughly enjoyed your presentation. We are
indebted and want you to come again." - Jane
Latour, New York Labor History Association,
Likes: "It gave me some ideas I can use in
my class." "Passionate speaker who feels strongly
about his material. I learned things I had not
been familiar with." "Very informative but never
overbearing." "It made me think." "Enthusiasm,
content." "The honesty and humanity of a scholar
whose book title prepared me to expect a demagogue."
"Very enlightening." Dislikes: "More time!"
"More time for questions." - anonymous feedback,
New England Teachers Conference, 11/95.
"Your presentation based on your book Lies
My Teacher Told Me made a major contribution
to the series' success, drawing an audience
of 221 people. . . 63 copies of your book were
purchased that night. They have since had several
requests to bring you back to northeast Ohio.
. . Members of my staff who were in attendance
gave your presentation full marks for both educational
and entertainment value." - Judy Knuth-Folts,
Acting Chief, Interpretation and Visitors Services,
Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, Ohio,
"I want to personally thank you for a GREAT
presentation last Saturday. I have heard nothing
but rave reviews. Because of you the conference
was a super success." - Diane Balduzy, coordinator,
New England Sociological Association, 4/97.
"My students are still talking about your
talk and the difficult issues you raised. You've
made my class discussions richer for the rest
of the semester." - Thomas Connors, Professor
of History, University of Northern Iowa, 3/99.
"I just wanted to thank you again personally
for the energy and congeniality you brought
to your Charlotte Latin visit. It was great
for the History Department to take center stage
for a couple of days, and you provoked probing
thoughts on the part of many students that would
not have occurred in the context of normal history
classes. You stimulated a conversation about
interpreting history that will continue long
after your departure." - Mike Weiss, Charlotte
Latin School, Charlotte, NC, 9/97.
"This lecture, overall, was terrific! I especially
enjoyed his outline of 'the seven deadly sins
of teaching.'" "It made the book come alive.
. . We could see how he had come to write the
book." "His humor." "Dr. Loewen is a tremendous
speaker and the lecture was fantastic." "Dr.
Loewen has really opened my eyes to the inaccuracies
I learned in history classes." - Education students
at the University of Illinois, Chicago, 4/97.
"Fascinating and disturbing. . . . You have
given me a great deal to think about and have
put a lot of things into far better perspective
for me. I wish you had taught in my high school."
- Carla Auchterlonie, after workshop, 1997.
"Thank you so much for making our fourteenth
Dortch Lecture such a success. Many in the audience
commented on your wonderful presentation, both
content and delivery, and I agree with every
positive comment." - Gayle Fripp, Asst. Dir.,
Greensboro Historical Museum, NC, 11/98.
"Yours is still the best-attended lecture
to date." "Thank you for being the speaker at
our Fall 1999 Convocation. Your talk was exactly
what I hoped it would be--intellectually challenging
and stimulating. You presented your points in
an engaging and humorous manner which was well
received by our faculty and staff." - Keith
McFarland, President, Texas A&M University,
"Thank you so much for coming to Commerce.
Your visit has begun conversations that will
lead many students and educators in this area
to read your book. I believe your book to be
one of the most important written in this century."
þ Wyman Williams, local business owner, Commerce,
"It was a pleasure having you visit San Jacinto
College Central. Faculty and students alike
enjoyed your presentation. The only complaint
we received was that you were not here long
enough!!" - Kathy Knapp, Associate Dean of Student
Life, San Jacinto College, 9/99.
"You fired people up! All last week students
came up and thanked me (?!) for your speech."
- Karen Wong, Skyline College, CA, 10/99. And
11/22/99, "Weeks later students thanked me for
organizing your visit, but really the thanks
all go to you for your stimulating lecture and
for your generosity."
"Your talk was informative, compelling, accessible,
entertaining, scholarly þ now, it's rare that
"scholarly" and "entertaining" or "scholarly"
and "accessible" appear in the same sentence.
. . . Your books sold like hot cakes; I must
admit that I was surprised to see so many undergraduates
purchasing books that were not required course
readings." - Lori Dance, Prof of Sociology,
U of MD, 12/99.
"I want to thank you so much for coming -
your conversation had a real impact on the participants
(including us facilitators), and resurfaced
several times over the next couple of days.
. ." - Linda Mizell, "Rethinking the Teaching
of Slavery" Institute.
"I was surprised at some of the folks who
came to 2-3 sessions and said things like 'could
have listened to him forever' or 'love the blend
of humor and information.'" - Jean Moule, Professor
of Education, Oregon State University, 11/99.
"You really had an impact on my student teachers
with the workshop on the seven deadly sins of
social studies. It was a powerful and influential
presentation." - David Hicks, Secondary Social
Studies Education, Virginia Tech, 3/2000.
"Many participants have commented on both
the substance of your presentations as well
as on the wit of the presenter! We enjoyed the
evening as much as we benefitted from the information
provided." - Greg Vandal, Superintendent, Sauk
Rapids-Rice Public Schools, Minnesota, 3/2000.
"You made our conference a big hit." - Jerry
Benson, President, Minnesota Council for the
Social Studies, 3/2000.
"Comments about your presentation have been
without exception enthusiastically positive
albeit very general. Following is a sampling
of written responses: 'Wonderful and very informative
- entertaining too.' 'Extremely interesting
and informative.' 'Outstanding! Very interesting
and important!'" - Tom Formicola, Ford Hall
Forum, Boston, 3/2000.
"I cannot even begin to describe the impact
you have had on our community over the last
few days. Teachers of all subjects have told
me that they could discuss nothing else in their
classes since Friday night. The response has
been overwhelming - I think you touched an important
nerve in the community. You have a remarkable
ability to discuss issues of race and class
in a way that brings people together and opens
a dialogue rather than opening old wounds."
- Brad Bates, St. Andrews School, DE, 4/2000.
"Your presentation on lies you've found across
America was a major contribution to the series'
success, drawing an audience of 275. More importantly,
it attracted a specific audience we would not
have been able to reach otherwise." - Jennie
Vasarhelyi, Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation
Area, OH, 4/2000.
"Thanks so much for delivering a very engaging
workshop. The evaluations were excellent and
2 or 3 teachers commented that they would like
to have had an even longer workshop with you."
- Gray Fitzsimons, Lowell National Park, 5/2000.
"Your remarks were exactly on point - and
delivered in such a witty way. You model the
very qualities you espouse for all of us: a
commitment to the discipline, talent in communicating
to lay audiences, and having something important
to say!" - Carla Howery, President, District
of Columbia Sociological Society, 5/2000.
"You were a smashing hit!!! By far this year's
banquet was the best of the nine banquets held
and it was due in no small part to your wonderfully
animated talk. I heard nothing but glowing comments
about your remarks from students, Dave Smith,
our principal, and parents." - Jim Percoco,
author, A Passion for the Past, and history
teacher, West Springfield, VA, high school.
"We were delighted with the response from
the incoming class to your book as the First
Year Book. Further, we enjoyed your talk and
the resulting discussions it ignited." - Ron
Hammond, Assoc. Dean of Students, Colby College,
"Professionally and personally, I came away
[from your lecture] with more clarity about
what I do in the classroom and with my own life
as a citizen. Your statement about what is our
role in social studies education, 'to bring
the future of America into being,' is something
I have striven for but have never been able
to articulate clearly.... I would like you to
know that in Wyoming some new sparks of social
studies education have been fanned." - David
Peterson, Lecturer in Secondary Education, University
of Wyoming, 10/2000.
"Thank you for presenting at the 2000 California
Home=Education Conference. The conference was
our most successful to date with an attendance
of over 1600 people. The evaluations revealed
that the attendees were delighted with your
workshops and would like to see you invited
back." - Barbara David, 1/2001.
"Thanks again for the two GREAT talks on the
Western New England campus last week; we've
had nothing but rave reviews from those in attendance!"
- Beth Elam, Western New England College, email@example.com,
"It was a great pleasure to meet you last
night and to hear your lecture in Lanigan Hall.
It was by far the most fun I've ever had in
that room!" - Ranjit Dighe, Professor of Economics,
"We have never had a scholar so well received." - Linda Whitley, Pinellas County Public Schools (FL), 8/2007.