The foundation of History is reading. Without the attention to text, the discipline struggles. I know we, as teachers, strive to make it visual, exciting, and somewhat accessible - but at the end of the day, (more…)

Four billion dollars buys a lot of perception: that’s how much money was spent this midterm election. Two outcomes are known, a) the Republican Party has majorities now in both houses of Congress, and b) when it came to progressive ballot measures Americans voted like liberals. So yes to the “party of no,” but on the other hand, yes to gun control, access to abortion clinics, hikes in the minimum wage, gay rights, and the legalization of marijuana.

Oh, America – land of the schizophrenic doodles, what can one conclude? (more…)

I don’t remember where I read it, but I do remember who it was: Jeffrey Perl, professor of literature. “History begins at the moment of recognition,” he quipped. Immediately, almost reflexively (because that’s how historians read), I began to switch those words about. If “History” begins when we recognize it, then “History” ends when (more…)

At Butte College, students and I have begun work on a Civil War project. We’re using the University of Virginia’s digital archive collection called Valley of the Shadow. In teams of three or four, students are to put together a podcast that tells the story of just a single family who experienced America’s most bloody conflagration: the war between the states. What I have done here is to (more…)

This podcast, the next episode of Key Concepts in History, focuses on the historical practice of “abridgement.” Now, don’t go thinking that’s a good thing. I assure you abridgement is a faux pas, something to be avoided at all cost. But, unfortunately, it’s a common error, especially with budding scholars. This podcast focuses on Sir Herbert Butterfield’s cautioning about abridgement, a warning he made to budding historians all the way back in 1931. Give it a listen.  (more…)

The way the twenty-first-century media bandies about the terms “Liberal” and “Conservative” is it any wonder that many incoming college freshman really don’t know the meaning of these words? (more…)

Last Semester, when I asked this question to students: “Where do your rights come from?“, none of these twenty first-century learners answered quite in the way the people of the eighteenth century would have. Here’s a podcast that explains why. Be sure to (more…)

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