College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

PhD, Michigan State University
Assistant Professor
History, Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning
Secondary Education 6-12

Contact Information

Send email to Dr. Helmsing

Phone: (703) 993-2384
Fax: (703) 993-2013
Email: mhelmsin (@gmu.edu)

Mark Helmsing's website

George Mason University
Fairfax Campus
Thompson Hall 1801
4400 University Dr.
MS 4B3
Fairfax, VA 22030

Profile

ON RESEARCH STUDY LEAVE UNTIL JANUARY 2020

Dr. Mark Helmsing joined the faculty of George Mason University in 2017 and is currently a faculty member in the School of Education's Secondary Education (SEED) M.Ed. program; Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning (ASTL) M.Ed. program; and the Teaching and Teacher Education (TATE) Ph.D. program. Dr. Helmsing is also an affiliate faculty member with Mason’s Center for International Education (CIE), Mason's Folklore Studies Program and Mason's Department of History & Art History. Dr. Helmsing advises students across different graduate programs as well as undergraduate research through OSCAR and Mason's B.I.S. program. As part of his work in teacher education, Dr. Helmsing serves as the university facilitator for clinical teaching experiences at Lake Braddock Secondary School, a partner school in Mason's SEED program. As an educational researcher, Dr. Helmsing studies how people learn to form and express historical attachments to the past in schools, museums, and everyday life. His research has included studies of how U.S. teachers and students expess different feelings and attachments for the nation; how U.S. high school students create imaginaries and attachments of national belonging; how communities in the U.S. West and Midwest express imaginaries and counterimaginaries of regional identities; and how historical culture expresses medievalism in everyday life, from Renaissance fairs to Game of Thrones. He is a part of a research collective with faculty at other instiitutions in studying how death and dying appear when learning about the past, including a study of how bodies and corpses are expressed in history curriculum and studies of how the past is imagined in ghost walks and graveyard tours. Dr. Helmsing has conducted fieldwork in schools and communities throughout the United States as well as in cultural institutions such as the Arab-American National Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and the museums of the Smithsonian Institution. His work has also included global experiences with students in Germany and Poland to study how people express historical attachments to the Holocaust and in Cyprus to study Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot historical attachments across borders. Dr. Helmsing is a co-editor of the volume Keywords in the Social Studies: Concepts and Conversations and has published numerous book chapters and articles in journals such as Theory & Research in Social Education; Journal of Social Studies Research; Journal of Adult & Adolescent Literacy; Journal of Curriculum Theorizing; Race, Ethnicity, & Education; and Review of Education, Pedagogy, & Cultural Studies. He is a member of the editorial board of Taboo: A Journal of Culture and Education; Journal of Curriculum & Pedagogy; and a number of different academic book series.

Research Interests

  1. History & Social Studies Education
  2. Affect, Emotion, & Feeling in History Education 
  3. Heritage Studies & Folklore Studies
  4. Material Culture, Museums, & Memorials
  5. Embodiment & Visceral/Sensory Research  

Seeking Collaborators: Competencies Offered and Sought

Recent Publications

Helmsing, M., Krutka, D.G., & Whitock, A.M. (2018). Introduction: Unsettling the social studies. In D.G. Krutka, A.M. Whitlock, & M. Helmsing (Eds.), Keywords in the social studies: Concepts and conversations (pp. xxi-xxxi). New York, NY: Peter Lang.  

Whitlock, A.M. & Helmsing, M. (2018). Time. In D.G. Krutka, A.M. Whitlock, & M. Helmsing (Eds.), Keywords in the social studies: Concepts and conversations (pp. 37-45). New York, NY: Peter Lang. 

Helmsing, M. (2018). Making America great (again and again): Certainty, centrality, and paranoaic pedagogies of social studies education in the United States. In J.A. Sandlin & J. Wallin (Eds.), Paranoid pedagogies: Education, culture, and paranoia (pp. 99-120). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Helmsing, M. (2017). A small town with long roads: Wyoming as a postwest curriculum. In W.M. Reynolds (Ed.), Forgotten places: Critical studies in rural education (pp. 291-301).  New York, NY: Peter Lang. 

Helmsing, M. (2016). Life at large: Materializing social studies education for re-enchantment. In N. Snaza, D. Sonu, S. Truman, & Z. Zaliwska (Eds.), Pedagogical matters: New materialisms and curriculum studies (pp. 137-151). New York, NY: Peter Lang. 

Helmsing, M. (2016). "This is no ordinary apple": Learning to fail specatcularly in the affective pedagogy of Disney's diva villains. In J.A. Sandlin, & J.C. Garlen (Eds.), Disney, culture, curriculum (pp. 59-72). New York, NY: Routledge. 

Helmsing, M. (2014). Feeling responsible: Vulnerable encounters in social studies education. In H. Smits & R. Naqvi (Eds.), Framing peace: Thinking about and enacting curriculum as radical hope (pp. 43-48). New York, NY: Peter Lang. 

Helmsing, M. (2014). Grotesque stories, desolate voices: Encountering histories and geographies of violence in Southern Gothic's haunted mansions. In W.M. Reynolds (Ed.), Critical studies of Southern place: A reader (pp. 316-323). New York, NY: Peter Lang.