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Why Teach History?

“Why study history?” is the more usual question, and the collection of answers to that is extensive enough. But while it makes sense to think that the reasons for studying history and the reasons for teaching it are congruent from a certain point of view, I very much doubt that the reason I feel a class has gone well is reducible to the sentiment that I successfully conveyed a certain body of either of content or of skills to my clients, the future critical thinkers and job seekers of Canada. 642 more words

History

Is Our Historians Learning? Popular, Academic, and Political History

Last Thursday, PhD student and amateur historian Rebecca Rideal published a book about London in the very busy year of 1666. Written for “the general reader”, it’s entitled… 1,495 more words

History

If Historians Ran the World

Historians are all atwitter over the “Applied History Project“, the brainchild of Harvard scholar Graham Allison and globetrotting virtual historian Niall Ferguson. With what would seem like hubris in lesser mortals, the two projectors call on the next US President to create a “Council of Historical Advisors”: a body of historians to help with policy much as the current Council of Economic Advisors does. 924 more words

History

Historians vs Trump 2: Questions in Fish's Wake

Among the books I’m reading is a work of fairly recondite early modern intellectual history. Bucking a once prevalent tendency, the author of this work is at pains to disavow any political context for the intellectual debates s/he traces. 1,307 more words

History

Stanley Fish, Stop Opining about History

I would have no problem with individuals, who also happened to be historians, disseminating their political conclusions in an op-ed or letter to the editor; but I do have a problem when a bunch of individuals claim for themselves a corporate identity and more than imply that they speak for the profession of history.

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History

Watching CNN on Turkey, or explanations vs. stances

Like everyone that I know online, I spent most of yesterday evening watching and/or following events in Istanbul and Ankara. And once I got home (my temporary DC home, base for a quick research/writing trip) I turned on CNN and left it on for the rest of the night. 806 more words

History

How to Respond to, "Why do We Study History?"

In just about a month, students around the world (or at least the northern hemisphere) will be asking their social studies teachers, “why do we have to study history?” Of course there are great answers to that question, it’s just a matter of whether teachers spoon feed students the answers or have them work with the question themselves (I like putting my students in pairs before having the whole class discussion). 595 more words

Teaching