- We’re going to have interviews from leading scholars here at the blog. Major Problems in American History (and the other Major Problems volumes) set up scholarly debates for each time period. I think it’s time the authors get to directly interact with one another. I’ll be inviting them to discuss what they think of the debates, what primary documents they use, and how they see the fields moving. I’ll also interview more junior scholars in these fields to address the debates and discuss what primary documents they find most useful. Are there any scholars you would love to hear from in particular???
- We’re going to have some other commentators here, including some first time teachers of the U.S. history survey and some other longtime friends. If you want to contribute, just email me.
- I’m ditching exams this term in favor of reading quizzes … and I mean lots of reading quizzes. The class will have about 150 students, and I have a grader (another topic we will discuss). I’m tired of students not reading (isn’t it obvious when only those three lovely students who always read are the only ones who have even cracked open the book). I’m tired of trying to lead discussions or debates where I’m just telling everyone what was in the reading. So this term, there will be a reading quiz just about every class, and I will divide the students into three cohorts. So on a given day, two cohorts will be quizzed and the third will be left out. Students are going to hate me for this, but I don’t care. It’s time they treated the reading in my class as seriously as they do their calculus problem sets. And I’m thrilled to ditch the midterm(s) and final. They break up the class too much – with study sessions, review guides (or rather students mad at me that I don’t give them a review guide … although I love the idea brought up in our comments section last semester of the class making the review guide). Anybody else with me???
Currier & Ives 1876
Library of CongressI’m going to focus on three big issues. How a United States was born, which will run from colonial contact to the Revolutionary war; how the United States was made, which will go from the Articles of Confederation to the 1830s; and how the United States was almost unmade, which will run to the late nineteenth century. Obviously, the theme will be nationalistic – with the United States as the central artifact of being. But underneath that I can deal with cultural and racial diversity, economic growth and development, political transformations, war, peace, and everything else. Thanks to Lilian for her previous comments on how she is structuring her class. I look forward to hearing from others.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
It's Always Spring in San Diego
Spring 2012: United States History through the Civil War
We’re doing it backwards this year: second half of the survey in the fall, first half in the spring. The reason: I’m not in charge of the universe … yet. In my case, I teach what I’m told so United States history from colonization to the Civil War and Reconstruction, here we come. I have some distinct plans for the spring and the blog – and here are some of them.