Episode 182: Third-grade Students’ Sensemaking about Enslavement with Ryan Hughes

In episode 182, Dan and Michael chat with Ryan Hughescal about his study published in Theory & Research in Social Education, “‘What is slavery?’: Third-grade students’ sensemaking about enslavement through historical inquiry.”


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Books, Articles and Other Amazing Resources

  1. Hughes, R. E. (2022). “What is slavery?”: Third-grade students’ sensemaking about enslavement through historical inquiry. Theory & Research in Social Education, 50(1), 29-73.
  2. Your Name Is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelo
  3. Davis, K. C. (2016). In the shadow of liberty: The hidden history of slavery, four presidents, and five Black lives. Henry Holt and Company
  4. Learning for Justice Teaching American Slavery
  5. Jay, B., & Lyerly, C. L. (Eds.). (2016). Understanding and teaching American slavery. University of Wisconsin Press.
  6. Ryan Hughes–“What is slavery?” on the Theory & Research in Social Education YouTube page


Ryan Hughes teaches courses in elementary school social studies methods focused on preparing early career teachers to teach social studies through inquiry. His research interests include students’ disciplinary thinking in history, inquiry pedagogy, and how students connect their study of the past to their own lives and identities in the present. His most recent research project explored how third grade students in the Midwest learned difficult African American history (i.e., enslavement) through inquiry. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Ryan taught elementary school in San Francisco for eight years prior to his doctoral studies.