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OU 'Teach-In' lecture series returns for 1st time since 2020, to feature 12 renowned scholars

Sam Noble

The outside of the Sam Noble Museum Sept. 9. 

Twelve nationally renowned historians, law professors and political scientists will speak at OU on Wednesday as part of a lecture series to engage the community on civic education through history.

Created in 2012, OU’s Teach-In is a single-day lecture series held annually. Each series encompasses a specific period or idea in world history and invites scholars, practitioners and commentators to campus to discuss the historical, social and political factors that have shaped America’s heritage.

The daylong event is hosted by the OU Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage and is open to the public at no cost to participants.

This year’s Teach-In will be held on Wednesday at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. The event is called “Native Americans and the Constitutional Order" and will begin at 9 a.m. with the final session starting at 3:15 p.m.

Jeremy Bailey, director of the Institute for American Constitutional Heritage, said the topic was chosen because understanding Native Americans’ space within the U.S. Constitution is especially relevant with recent court cases reinvestigating the constitutional status of Native Nations within the United States.

In 2020, U.S. Supreme Court case McGirt v. Oklahoma ruled that state courts no longer have the authority to prosecute crimes committed by or against Oklahomans who are also tribal members.

This year’s Teach-In marks the return of the event which has not been held since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We believe that the in-person experience is especially important for students and citizens to come together and talk about and think about the Constitution,” Bailey said.

For many students, Teach-In is an important part of the university’s effort to connect students and academics. In a 2017 opinion article for OU Daily, Elena Thompson, a former OU student, said Teach-In exemplifies OU’s goal to be a pillar of the highest forms of education.

“The Teach-In exemplifies the highest values that the University stands for. It connects the citizen and the state,” Thompson said. “It crosses generational and ideological divides to bring people together under a common goal, to learn. … It places OU at the forefront of community learning, and it is a crowning achievement of this institution.”

Bailey said he chose the speakers after consulting with scholars across campus and at other institutions.

M. Alexander Pearl and Lindsay Robertson, OU law professors, will speak at the Teach-In alongside various other scholars from across the nation. Pearl will be presenting “Water, Climate, and Tribal Sovereignty in Indian Country,” and Robertson will be speaking about “The Marshall Trilogy and Foundational Principles of Federal Indian Law.”

To read about all the speakers, click here.

This story was edited by Alexia Aston. Mary Ann Livingood and Nikkie Aisha copy edited this story.


senior news reporter

Anusha Fathepure is a journalism and English freshman and a senior news reporter at the Daily. She started at the Daily in the fall of 2022 and has previously served as a junior news reporter and news reporter. She is originally from Stillwater, Oklahoma.

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