The Peggy Renner Award for Teaching and Curricular Innovation (new in 2019) is an annual $750 award to an historian who has developed a college or university course that engages students in exploring the links between contemporary issues (“hot topics”) and/or contemporary events and the past. Courses submitted for consideration must be historical in nature, although they do not need to be within a History department if they are offered within a related department or field. Applicants to the Renner Award must be current members of the WAWH when they submit their application. Current WAWH board members are not eligible to apply.
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Final comment from Peggy Renner, Moderator: Roundtable – Contextualizing Controversy: Using the Past to Understand Present-Day Problems. 51st Annual Conference, Western Association of Women Historians, Portland, Oregon on April 26, 2019. Panelists: Anna Rose Alexander (CSU East Bay), Erica L. Ball (Occidental College), Erika Jackson (Colorado Mesa University) and Rebecca Plant (UC San Diego).
Kelli Y. Nakamura, Kapi’olani Community College
for Ethnic Studies 101: Introduction to Ethnic Studies
From the Award Committee:
A widely published scholar, Prof. Kelli Nakamura has designed an innovative Introduction to Ethnic Studies course, in which students explore the meanings of race and ethnicity – and their relationship to such phenomena as colonization, immigration, gender, identity, and social class –through the lens of Hawaiian history and culture. The committee was impressed with the manner in which the Nakamura’s syllabus navigates this rich yet incredibly complex historical and cultural context. While tightly organized around important themes and theoretical concepts, the course manages to cover a wide range of topics, touching on everything from the encounter between missionary wives and Native Hawaiian women, to the construction of Polynesian Masculinity, to the disparate treatment of Native Hawaiians by the carceral system. We found ourselves in agreement with the assessment of a recommender (Chair of Arts and Humanities Sarah Bremser), who notes that Prof. Nakamura “contextualizes the past in a manner that incorporates contemporary issues and provides the ‘hook’ that draws students in” and that she demonstrates an impressive ability “to make matters complex clear, relatable, and comprehensible, while offering her own unique and innovative – while relatable – perspective.” This is especially apparent in examples of the work that students have completed for the course, including projects on such contemporary issues as the problems of coral bleaching and the effects of crystal meth on Hawaiian youth. We applaud Prof. Nakamura for her devotion to pedagogical practices that illuminate the past while speaking to present-day concerns and incorporating social justice themes and actions in a key assignment.