The Bennion Teachers' Workshop for the Perpetuation of Democratic Principles is a program made possible by an endowment to Utah State University's Mountain West Center for Regional Studies. The endowment was created by Ione Bennion, a teacher and community activist, to "provide an atmosphere and the educational resources to explore the concepts upon which democracy is built, the conditions under which it flourishes, and the dangers to its existence." Taught by Utah State University faculty and guest speakers who represent the latest scholarship in the topics presented, the workshops focus on giving inservice and pre-inservice teachers practical tools that they can use in the classroom.
This year’s workshop (June 4-8), is being directed by USU Assistant Professor of History Julia Gossard, and will focus on a comparative study of the roads to democracy in the 18th century in America, France, and Haiti. The workshop will highlight the use of various forms of media, then (revolutionary-era propaganda) and now (the Ben Franklin’s World podcast and a role-playing game platform used to teach the history of the American Revolution).
The guest speaker is Dr. Wim Klooster, Professor at Clark University and author of the workshop’s main text Revolution in the Atlantic World: A Comparative History. He will be giving a public lecture on Monday, June 4 at 6:30 on the topic of “Discovering Democracy in the 18th-Century Atlantic" in the USU Eccles Conference Center room 207. Dr. Klooster specializes in comparative historical examinations of the Atlantic world. A native of the Netherlands, he focuses his research on Dutch migration, trade, and settlement in the Caribbean and such far-ranging topics as smuggling, slavery revolts, and Jewish mercantilism in the colonial Atlantic world.
Dr. Julia M Gossard is the director of the 2018 Bennion Teachers' Workshop Assistant Professor of History at Utah State University, specializing in early modern European and Atlantic history with an emphasis on gender, family, and childhood.
Dr. Liz Covart is the Digital Projects Editor at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and founder of the award-winning podcast Ben Franklin's World.