Gabriel Reich, Ph.D.

Professor, Teaching and Learning

Gabriel Reich, Ph.D.


  • Ph.D. in teaching and learning, New York University
  • B.A. in history, University of Wisconsin

Research interests

Reich’s area of special interest is the developing field of historical consciousness, which includes historical thinking and understanding. This sub-field of history and history/social studies education focuses on the ways in which young people come to understand history and to apply historical frameworks to orient themselves in the world. Within this larger sub-field, Dr. Reich’s current research focuses on the collective memories of the Civil War and Emancipation, and how those memories are affected by cultural tools, such as state history standards, examinations, public monuments, family stories and the practice of teaching.

Career highlights

  • Received PROSE Award in 2015 for work on “American School Reform: What Works, What Fails, and Why”
  • Received VCU School of Education’s Outstanding Faculty Mentor award
  • Served as the 2013 Visiting Scholar at the Centre for the Study of Historical Consciousness in Vancouver, Canada

Recent publications/projects

  • Contributed to the “With Good Reason” public radio show, offering insight into the common myth of the African-American Confederate soldier during the Civil War and how the treatment of slavery and emancipation in school curricula help reinforce this myth
  • Collective Memory of the Civil War and Emancipation — This is an ongoing project that explores how Virginians remember the Civil War and African American emancipation. Recently an article drawing on preliminary data was published in Theory and Research in Social Education with co-authors Melanie Buffington and William Muth. More articles are forthcoming!
  • Beginning work on a capacity building project in assessment and assessment design professional development with Chesterfield County middle school teachers
  • Reich, G.A. (2009). Testing historical knowledge: Standards, multiple-choice questions and student reasoning. Theory and Research in Social Education, 37(3), 325-360.
  • Reich, G.A. (2020). “Monumental refraction: Monuments, identity, and historical consciousness.” Historical Encounters Journal, (7) 1, 1-23.
  • Reich, G.A. (2022). Between the general and the particular: Theoretical tensions in historical consciousness and racial literacy for the classroom. In King, L. (Ed.) Racial Literacy in Social Studies Education. Teachers College Press. New York, NY.


A professor of history/social studies education, Dr. Gabriel A. Reich comes to VCU from New York University, where he earned a doctoral degree in teaching and learning. A product of New York City public schools, Reich worked primarily in the Bronx as a day-to-day substitute, a high school humanities and history teacher, and a literacy coach. He has also taught English as a second language in Israel and Brazil.

Reich developed an interest in the assessment of historical knowledge and understanding as a 10th-grade history teacher facing the pressures of high-stakes standardized assessment in high-needs schools. He has published book chapters and journal articles on a range of subjects including history assessment, collective memory and teacher empowerment in the Journal of Curriculum Studies, Theory and Research in Social Education, the Journal of Social Studies Education, the Journal of Thought, Curriculum and Pedagogy, the Social Studies and others.

Curriculum Vitae

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