Teaching Religion in Early America: Struggles and Successes

I often receive comments on my evaluations for the US I survey that I spend too much time on religion. I explicitly discuss religion in quite a few cases throughout the semester – colonial missionaries, Calvinists and Quakers in 17th c. New England, the First Great Awakening, abolitionism, new 19th century religions, and Lincoln’s second…

Booklists for Undergrads

I don’t know about your institution, but we have already gotten our first call for Spring term books.  Every fall I find myself totally surprised by how early this call comes. I’ve cut back on assigning books in the survey for a number of reasons, but I’m always on the lookout for engaging, short(ish) reads…

Start with a Question

As a classroom teacher, I would not be able to count the number of questions asked each day. Sometimes my high school students resembled my niece and nephews – each question followed with “but, why?” Over and over and over. Having taught courses at the high school and college level, people frequently ask what the…

Teaching Imperialism, Past and Present

Over the last couple of weeks, two things in particular have gotten me thinking about the ways in which I approach one of the most enduring themes of United States history in my classes. First, Hurricane Maria and its aftermath produced what’s become an absolute cataclysm in Puerto Rico. Second, as the awful news from…

Shedding Content: A List of Things Lost and Gained

I’m back! After a semester of maternity leave, I was thrilled to get back in the classroom.  Don’t get me wrong, my seven month old is cute and cuddly, but I really like college kids. Before the summer break, I contemplated on this blog about shedding content in favor of emphasizing analytical skills and modern…