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Teaching the 1960s in the Age of Trump

As they have for many teachers – including some on this blog here and here – the results of the presidential election have raised both old and new questions for me about teaching United States history. I taught two sections of U.S. History, 1865-present the morning after the election, still shell-shocked at the election of a man…

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Verb Tense, and Pronouns, and Commas, Oh My!

It was officially midterm week in my U.S. History class last week. My exams – at least for the larger introductory courses – typically have two components: an in-class multiple-choice portion and a take-home primary source analysis paper. One of my goals in the survey course is to manage the flow of information from reading,…

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Teaching “New” Political History

In a recent New York Times article, Frederick Logevall and Kenneth Osgood bemoan the decline of political history. Arguing that universities have essentially stopped hiring political historians and offering courses in the subject, Logevall and Osgood suggest that the broader shift toward social and cultural history in the past 40 years has limited students’ knowledge…

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Running My First Mock Election and Why I’d Do It Again

In honor of Super Tuesday several weeks ago, I held an impromptu mock election in my U.S. History survey. The topic was Woodrow Wilson’s World War I diplomacy and the election between Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, whose foreign policy we had discussed the week prior. Maybe it was simply a product of the emotionalism that…

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Teaching History in a “Safe Space”

I require my students to read a primary source before every class. My classes last 75 minutes and have 50 students. So I find that opening class with some primary source analysis can integrate discussion into a class structure that often requires straight lecture. While I have used lecture notes as a rough outline of…

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Locating the Local in American History Surveys

We welcome a new contributor today. Barry Goldberg is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at the CUNY Graduate Center. His research examines the development of interracial politics on the Lower East Side in the post-World War II era. A recent edition of my neighborhood newsletter had a front-page article describing a controversial Department of Education plan to rezone…