“Early America” in The Open Syllabus Project

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.39.43 AMThe Open Syllabus Project (@opensyllabus) has collected “over 1 million syllabi” in the hopes of determining “how often texts are taught” and “what’s taught with what.” They hope their project will provide “a promising means of exploring the history of fields, curricular change, and differences in teaching across institutions, states, and countries.” The OSP has released a beta version of their “Syllabus Explorer,” which “makes curricula visible and navigable in ways that we think can become valuable to authors, teachers, researchers, administrators, publishers, and students.” Intrigued that the project claims to have catalogued the assigned readings from 460,760 History syllabi, I went through the list to find the most assigned works of early American history. Continue reading

Museum Miles

Houghton HallOne of the serendipitous joys of warm-weather research is (occasionally) fleeing the archive to sample a new city’s eateries, museums, and sites. As you research your way across America (and beyond) this spring/summer, here are a few exhibits worth pausing for—feel free to add more in the comments. Continue reading

Looking Less Backward: Ten (Relatively) Recent Books That Anyone Interested In Early American History Should Read

The day after Christmas, The New Republic published a piece by Senior Editor, John J. Judis, entitled “Looking Backward: Ten Books Any Student of American History Must Read.” The piece began promisingly (flatteringly, even): “I woke up on Christmas morning thinking about American historians.” [Editor’s Note: Wouldn’t the world be a better place if more people did that?] Judis closed the opening paragraph with the following caveat: “They’re my favorites; they’re not the best books.” Each book was followed by a paragraph with some combination of a brief synopsis and Judis’s own reactions. I have linked to the article but, just for reference, I’ll list his ten picks here: Continue reading

The Future of the Past Is Now: Digital Humanities Resource Guide

Inspired by the work of colleagues @ the new Digital Public Library of America and others we’ve interviewed here at The Junto, here are some bookmark-worthy links to what’s going on in the ever-evolving field of the digital humanities. We’ll update this list as projects develop, so if you’re working on a digital history initiative, please let us know so we can add it to the Resources page.

If you use new media in the classroom, how effective do you find it to be in communicating historical content/class themes? Please share your views on digital pedagogy in the comments. Continue reading

Journal Articles in 2012: A Retrospective


BuzzFeed would point out that God is totally portrait-bombing Pétion and Dessalines here.

“The list,” says Umberto Eco, “is the origin of culture… What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible.” This impossible project has inspired dauntless gallants from Homer to BuzzFeed, and even in our own brief existence, The Junto has already made a valuable contribution to that noblest of list genres, the year-in-review inventory.

Today I’ll attempt to advance the cause of culture with a few notes on the particular infinity of early American history articles published in 2012. Unfortunately I can’t apologize for my own personal and intellectual biases, which lean toward international politics, slavery and abolition, and historiography, all of it within the nineteenth century. A successful list is usually just private prejudice, artfully compressed and shrewdly disguised—Homer, after all, chose to focus on the Achaeans’ black ships and famous spearmen rather than their haircuts or favorite foods; the BuzzFeed guy sems to have a thing for marine mammals. But you should know where I’m coming from before we proceed. Continue reading