This semester I am teaching an online World History course, 1500 to the present. That I am OER certified (Open Educational Resources) meant that I chose to employ a collection of primary documents and selected essays rather than an expensive textbook for reading materials. Each week, the class moves through the readings and assignments. My laptop’s built-in camera killed the “live” lecture, so I switched to (more…)


College freshmen often have a difficult time understanding the historical processes. The ability to look at trends covering hundreds of years is often difficult for them, but that’s part of what historians do (reference The History Manifesto by Jo Guldi and David Armitage). Some technical troubles with my laptop’s built-in camera forced me to (more…)

Maryanne Wolf (the Director of the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA) recently authored an article, Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound,” in The Guardian Newspaper (25 August 2018). Her crux is (more…)

In eighteenth-century Britain, warrants of arrest typically outlined the crime by which a suspected individual was to lose their liberty. These legal proceedings usually required the signature(s) of a judge or collection of legal overseers. In Admiral John Byng’s arrest warrant, though three signatures directed a marshal to apprehend him, something vital was missing: (more…)

In mid-December of 1756, armed colliers in Wales seized barges on the River Wye near Lidbrook and damaged a nearby mill. For the next three days, numerous barges filled with wheat, barley, peas, and flour were seized up and down the Wye. Barge owners appealed to the rioters without success. When Nailers from nearby Ross-on-Wye joined with the collier-driven mobs, they came upon a scheme to (more…)

The Pope in the mid-eighteenth century had nothing on Empress Maria Theresa.[1] The outcome of the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748) ensured that she would rule the Holy Roman Empire for the next three decades. Britain helped, but that alliance meant little to the queen when the next war came around. Catholicism began to drive the empress’ foreign policies forward. When tensions renewed between Great Britain and France, Empress Maria Theresa began to rework (more…)

With over 260-million views on YouTube, Donald Glover’s (aka Childish Gambino) “This is America” actually repeats history. By that I mean to state that Glover is using song and wit to tell a story.[1]  As a cultural historian, I appreciated Glover’s approach to satirize deep-seeded problems in American society. But the expression of topics in musical form is nothing new. (more…)