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…)

My research led me to the British Museum in London to explore their holdings of satirical prints ala the mid-eighteenth century. Among the thousands of excellently stored and catalogued prints lay one particular visual depiction that has become central to my dissertation: “Bung Triumphant,” print number 3361 (image 4 of 4 shown at bottom). Chock full of symbolism, none more so than (more…)

2,400 words plus into the body of one my dissertation chapters, it dawned on me that I was not in a place where I wanted be. The words were halting, the research I had conducted less giving, and, well, if one could use an honest phrase, when I read my work “bull s*#t” came to mind. Arrrggh.

“Writing is a thinker’s game,” said (more…)

An article in the online Las Vegas newspaper The Guardian features a new video clip that attempts to show the spread of human culture over the past 2,500 years. Maximilian Schich, an art historian at the University of Texas, crafted a visually mesmerizing five and a half minute sequence of births and deaths of some 150,000 famous people over two millennia. The video, entitled “Charting Culture,” is purported to represent the spread of all of human culture.

But the video is problematic along two fronts. (more…)


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