Reckoning with Ourselves: Developing Skills to Process and Engage with Difficult Histories

Breakout Option A
Day 2: November 15, 2022 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m., Varsity Hall

Session Video

Session Materials

A large, detailed graphic visualization in red, black and white.
Graphic recording by Sherrill Knezel of the Diversity Forum 2022 session: “Reckoning with Ourselves: Developing Skills to Process and Engage with Difficult Histories.” Tap to view the full-size image.

Session Description

From monuments to the renaming of buildings, historical writing to museum exhibits, conversations about difficult and painful histories have come to the forefront in recent years. While some of these conversations have been productive and informative, others have been volatile and even violent. Similar to our connection with community and culture, engaging with history can cause deep reflection and natural emotional response. Yet, we often do not spend intentional time and energy developing our capacity and skills to engage with emotions as a natural part of the historical process. As our community reflects on our history through the findings of the UW–Madison Public History Project, we must also reckon with our responses to our campus history. This session will engage participants in the difficult work of building skills to process personal reactions when encountering new understandings of the past. Participants will be encouraged to be self-reflective as they learn new practices to grow their ability to engage with history and navigate their emotional responses and reactions. Participants will use scenarios and have the opportunity to dialogue and share resources for processing and de-escalating problematic responses to difficult history.


Taylor L. Bailey

Taylor L. Bailey is a literary scholar and researcher interested in how marginalized people — specifically Black women — navigate life, liberation and kinship. Her scholarly research lies at the nexus of Black feminist thought, literary criticisms, 20th-century literature and Black cultural studies. She serves as the assistant director of the UW–Madison Public History Project. She earned her A.B. in English literature with a concentration in fiction writing and African & African American Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and her M.A. in Afro-American Studies from UW–Madison.

Thumbnail of speaker Taylor L. Bailey.

Kacie Lucchini Butcher

Kacie Lucchini Butcher is a public historian whose work is dedicated to building empathy and advancing social justice. She is the director of UW–Madison’s Public History Project. She has worked in museums and for community organizations, helping communities reclaim their narratives through collaborative public history projects. She has experience engaging marginalized communities through historical partnerships, creating and sustaining community-centered archives, and producing historical research that foregrounds social justice. Her previous projects focused on how history is connected to the present, in efforts to explore and question systems of inequity and oppression. She is active in the public history community — hosting events and community conversations, attending trainings and editing publications — and she serves as the co-chair of the Membership Committee for the National Council on Public History. She earned her master’s degree in Heritage Studies & Public History from the University of Minnesota.

Thumbnail of speaker Kacie Lucchini Butcher.

Caitlyn LoMonte

Caitlyn LoMonte serves as the director of the Office of Inclusion Education in the UW–Madison Division of Student Affairs. Caitlyn earned her bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and advertising from the University of Florida. She served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the University of Florida supporting former foster youth and first-generation students before moving to Chicago to pursue a Master of Arts in women’s and gender studies from DePaul University. She has experience working in multicultural student services, orientation programming, and social justice education. LoMonte is passionate about social change, education and collective care.

Thumbnail of speaker Caitlyn LoMonte.