“Teaching Through Agriculture: A Forum for Pedagogy About and Across Fields”

David Vail Discussion

Call for Proposals 

Over the 2020-2021 academic year, many of us had to reapproach our teaching in the transition to masked, outdoor, or completely virtual spaces. Effective and adaptable, yet engaging and inclusive teaching takes time, research, and replicability. As such, it is important to have ongoing conversations about pedagogy rooted in the future of teaching. Teaching Through Agriculture aims to create a virtual and textual forum about teaching in history and related interdisciplinary fields that address topics related broadly to agriculture or the environment.

The goal of Teaching Through Agriculture is to gather a diverse range of research, case studies, and reflections about teaching in the ever-developing field of agricultural history. The forum will take on two parts. First, the forum will bring participants together in a virtual conference dedicated to pedagogy with time to workshop pieces. Second, the efforts of the workshop will result in a publication in Agricultural History, featuring the work of 10-12 total participants.

We invite proposals for 1000-1500-word pieces that address teaching in any aspect of agriculture or agricultural history, including but not limited to experiences (whole courses and parts of classes/workshops) in the archaeology and anthropology, history of science, technology, and medicine, environmental history, animal studies, food studies, agriculture and rural life, primary school education, or FFA/4-H instruction. We especially encourage submissions that highlight the work and teaching of early career and/or contingent faculty, non-traditional researchers, and underrepresented scholars. 

These pieces may be portions of larger pedagogical research projects, classroom case studies, or personal reflections. They may feature effective primary sources in agricultural history, highlight useful combinations of readings across fields, explain the outcome of an engaging group exercise/assignment, or present current challenges and limitations (intellectually or practically) when teaching agriculture. We welcome all pitches passionate about pedagogy, but you may want to consider the following categories for analysis and discussion:

  • ACTIVITIES: highlighting the work in the classroom, including but not limited to the use of historical primary sources, learning farms, inviting guest speakers, or other in-class exercises that worked virtually or in-person.
  • ASSESSMENTS: how we gauge or measure learning, and the outcomes of a class, course, or workshop, including the exams, writing exercises, or creative final projects.
  • ASSIGNED READING/MEDIA: speaking to syllabus design, the reach of agricultural topics in different kinds of courses, diversity/inclusion/justice in assigned material or lecture topics, reflection on existing textbooks and literature, or current efforts to address pedagogical gaps.

To be considered for the Teaching Through Agriculture workshop and printed forum, please send a PDF that includes a 200-word pitch and a 3-4 sentence bio (which includes your affiliation, experience, and/or work with best contact information) to Nicole Welk-Joerger (newelkjo@princeton.edu) and David Vail (vaildd@unk.edu) by November 30th. Participants will be notified by mid-December to schedule a virtual workshop in January. We aim to submit forum materials for publication by April 2022.  If you have any questions about the mission, format, or schedule of this forum, you may contact Nicole Welk-Joerger and David Vail directly