Eastern Michigan University
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Russell B. Olwell


olwell 701-K Pray-Harrold




Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Teaching Certificate, Wellesley College, MA

Interests and Expertise

Russell Olwell is Associate Professor of History and the Director of the EMU Gear Up Project. His scholarly interests include the history of science and technology, history of labor, and the history of the Manhattan Project.  Russell Olwell's fields of specialization are history education, twentieth century American history, and labor/social history.  He has taught Methods of Teaching Social Studies, Research and Writing, Labor History, Reacting to the Past, and Environmental History.

As a faculty member in history education, he has written extensively about how K-12 and college students learn about history and social studies. He has also written about assessment and accreditation issues in history and social studies.

The EMU Gear Up project works with over one-thousand 8th grade students in low income middle schools on college awareness and on building the skills they need to succeed at the post-secondary level. The program also includes programs for their parents, teachers and counselors.

He also spent the spring/summer of 2007 in Japan as a Fulbright lecturer at Kyoritsu Women's University. 


Mentoring is a Verb: Strategies for Improving College and Career Readiness (Taylor and Francis, 2015).

At Work in the Atomic City: A Labor and Social History of Oak Ridge, Tennessee
(Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2004).

“Teaching Critical Thinking in History Through Bedford Books,” Teaching History: A Journal of Methods 27 (2002): 22-32.

“New View of Slavery: Using Recent Historical Work to Promote Critical Thinking about the ‘Peculiar Institution,’” The History Teacher 34 (2002): 459-469.

“Training the Next Generation of Elementary Teachers in the History Survey Class: Problems and Possibilities,” OAH Newsletter (May 2002).

“The Top Ten Sites for History Education,” History Matters (2002), 14.

“Help Wanted for Secret City: Recruiting Workers for the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge, TN, 1942-1946,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly 58 (1999): 52-69.

“The Paradox of Marginalization: David Bohm and Cold War Physics,” ISIS (1999).

“Teaching Reconstruction in Middle School through Narrative,” The Social Studies 90 (1999): 205-208.

“John Kay’s Civil War: A Multimedia Internet Project for Middle School Social Studies,” Social Education 63 (1999): 134-139.

“Marxism and the History of Science,” Science & Society 60 (1996): 7-26.

“Student Designed Socially Responsible Research as Part of a Course in the Ethics and Politics of Science,” Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society 14 (1994): 287-289.             

The History & Philosophy Department is part of the College of Arts & Sciences, 701 Pray Harrold, 734.487.1018