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Begin with the End in Mind

I am very excited to be blogging with Teaching United States History and to become part of this vibrant and thoughtful community of teacher-researchers. I look forward to stimulating posts and conversations. I have decided to adapt one of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for my approach to classes this year: Begin…

Lewis & Clark's List of "Indian Presents," Library of Congress

Finding Lewis and Clark

It’s good to be back from summer hiatus. Like many of you, over the summer months I devoted quite a bit of time to preparing courses for the fall semester. One of my courses this fall is a senior-level readings seminar devoted to the 19th Century American West, drawing on collections of primary sources, scholarly…

Upper-Division Courses at a State University

Many of you may remember me from last year. I taught first-year seminars at Rice University, instructing 15 students per class. Such an intimate setting offered both rewards and challenges, many of the latter revolving around just how to teach such a small number of students. I learned much about myself and my teaching style…

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Meet the new Teaching United States History

Thank you for visiting our new website. Since 2011, Teaching United States History has been the premier forum for critical reflection on pedagogy in the college-level U.S. history classroom. But we are working to make this site even more useful. Links along the top of the homepage will soon house a host of primary sources,…

Teaching without textbooks (& requiring reading anyway)

Recently, a panel of distinguished historians and authors discussed how they create American History textbooks.  General agreement?  Students don’t read them anyway. This assertion – that students do not read and you cannot get them to read no matter what you try – struck me as most strange.  If those who write textbooks don’t think students read them,…

Seeing Disability in U.S. History

Despite its exciting growth over the past couple of decades, disability history still gets relatively little little space in U.S. history textbooks.  This is a shame, in part because the work on disability reveals so much not just about the lives of the disabled, but also about the evolving politics and meaning of “normalcy” in…

Faculty Advocates: Speaking Up for Teaching and Learning

Like most Ph.D. students (especially in the humanities), most of my thoughts during the last two years of graduate school centered on one question: Will I have a job after graduation? For obvious reasons, I didn’t spend much time considering the larger political realities of the academy. I basically assumed that being a college professor…

Constructing the 19th-Century West

The title of this post is a little misleading. I’m actually building a course, and have run into some thorny questions. This fall I’ve agreed to offer a course I haven’t taught before; an upper-level seminar on the American West in the 19th century. As I’ve conceived it, the course will cover roughly 1803 (the…