Ben, Mandy, Matt, and Roy have done a marvelous job so far this week summarizing the arguments, the strengths, and a few of the (few) weaknesses of River of Dark Dreams. I therefore want to confine myself to just a few general thoughts, and then focus in on the area where my expertise lies: what this book means for the non-expert in slavery studies. Continue reading
Today’s post is in the vein of ProfHacker, which is to say that it’s part descriptive of my practices in the classroom, and part a request for others to help work through a common problem.
Having just completed two consecutive semesters teaching the first half of the U.S. survey, I’m hoping to spend a little time this summer mulling how to improve the design of the course. At Framingham State, it runs “from the Age of Discovery to Reconstruction,” according to the course catalog. For our Europeanist readers and colleagues, that may seem like a mere drop in the bucket, but it’s quite a lot of ground to cover in just fifteen weeks. As a survey, everything feels like it gets short shrift. This much I knew going in, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity to reflect. Continue reading
First, in honor of the holiday, one above-the-fold link: Heather Cox Richardson, writing at the Historical Society blog, looks at the origins of Mother’s Day. Hint: it’s not about “people be[ing] nice to their mothers.”
Last week when the Junto hosted the History Carnival we noted the creation of the “Just Teach One” project, co-sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society and Common-place. Today we’d like to take a closer look at what promises to be an exciting addition to thinking about how to teach early American studies (for both literary scholars and historians).
“It caused the Arab Spring, you know.”
“It’s nothing but Justin Bieber fans writing gobbledygook.”
“I saw someone do a wonderful live-tweet of a conference last week.”
“I hate when people livetweet conferences.”
What good is Twitter, anyway? And why should you use it? Inspired by the defense of academic blogging offered in this space last month by Ken Owen, I want to offer a few thoughts on using Twitter as a professional historian. Over the past few months, I’ve had several discussions, both in-person and online, in which I’ve been called on to defend Twitter (it seems that others see me as either an effective or at least irrepressible user). After over three years on the service (@jmadelman, if you’re curious), I’ve certainly developed a theory of Twitter for myself. I would not offer it as universal, but I do think it’s important to highlight what’s good about it, and perhaps one or two things that I don’t like.
Happy Sunday! Let’s get right to the links.
With all the excitement around the Junto’s March Madness tournament (we even have a hashtag!), it’s a useful reminder that there are other things going on this week around the blogosphere. Once you’ve found all the Easter eggs (or, if you hid it really well on Monday, the afikoman), sit down and try out a few of these posts and stories.
It seems to have become a tradition to open this post with a weather report for New England. This morning we’re looking at a slushy Sunday, which while annoying is quite an improvement over the snowpocalypse of a few weeks ago. In any case, a little sleet/snow won’t stand any longer between you and your weekly supply of links. On we go!
Teaching the survey, I have found, can be a blur. Events, people, and places zip by—on Monday, you’re at Jamestown in 1607, on Wednesday, Plymouth in 1620, and by Friday Cotton and Increase Mather are angling for a new charter for Massachusetts. (Okay, I don’t move quite that fast, but it’s still quick.) And in the meantime students deal mostly with brief snippets of texts in a document reader. Someday I may ditch it, but for now, it does the job.
One of my favorite parts of the course, therefore, is working with students a little more deeply on select texts, and getting to practice the craft of the historian more fully. So today I’ll share one or two of my favorites with you, offering no claims to originality.
I’ll start with my absolute favorite, which will come as no surprise to my friends: Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography. Continue reading
Mail service was suspended in New England on Saturday (sadly, a possible harbinger of things to come), but a massive snowstorm (and the pain of shoveling) cannot stop the Junto’s week-in-review post.
It seems odd that the day is passing with relatively little fanfare, but today is actually the 250th anniversary of the Treaty of Paris ending the Seven Years’ War. A momentous occasion with enormous consequences (that were, as often happens, largely unforeseen at the time).
In any event, on with the links!