Each year research projects must relate to the overall National History Day® theme. The theme changes every year. Themes are picked are initially broad to allow research and presentations on a wide range of topics, from local to world history. To understand the historical significance of your topic you need to ask questions about time, place and context; cause and effect; change over time; and impact and significance. You must consider not only when and where events happened, but also why they occurred and what factors contributed to their development.
There is no single interpretation of any of the NHD® themes – the goal is to create a lens through which students can analyze their topics.
National History Day® 2017 – Taking a Stand in History
For National History Day students, the 2016-2017 academic year will be filled with research related to the theme Taking a Stand in History. The theme is broad to encourage participants to delve into history, whether it be a topic from the ancient world or the history of their own city. Students need to begin research with secondary sources to gain a broader context, then progress to finding primary sources, and finally make an argument about the effects of a topic in history. What does it mean to take a stand? To take a stand, one must take a firm position on an issue. Historically, people have taken a stand in support of an issue, such as the demonstrators in Tiananmen Square who protested for greater freedom in China. Sometimes taking a stand involves opposing the status quo—for example, Martin Luther’s act of nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Taking a stand could even involve fighting against a powerful movement, such as Queen Liliuokalani’s fight against annexation to maintain Hawaiian independence. These examples show well-known individuals taking a stand. How did these people defend their position? When looking at different individuals and groups who took a stand, there are examples of those who used force, words, and economic power to make their voices heard. These people are remembered because they had an impact on history and inspired others to follow them. Remember that there is a difference between opposition and truly taking a stand. What do you think has to happen to move from opposition to taking a stand?
For a list of this year’s winners, click here!