Sam Wineburg on Fake History and Digital Media Literacy

I couldn’t be more pleased with the reception to my article on fake history and its implications for how we teach history, which was published yesterday at Smithsonian. My hope is that the article not only gets history teachers talking, but leads to action. As I suggested in the piece, there is a great deal on the line.

For those of us in the field of history education Professor Sam Wineburg looms large. Some of you no doubt are familiar with the rich resources at his Stanford History Education Group. His book, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past is one of the few studies that treats the critical skills central to historical analysis as the proper focus for our history classrooms. The book was published in 2001, but I still find myself going back to it when I need direction.

Last year Professor Wineburg delivered a keynote address at the annual meeting of the American Association for State and Local History in Louisville.  I was in the audience. You can imagine my surprise when Wineburg opened with the myth of the black Confederate soldier and its implications for how we search and consume history on the Web. Wineburg’s address is well worth reading in light of our recent focus on fake news. The inability of many to spot fake news websites is just the tip of the iceberg.

Click here [PDF] for Professor Wineburg’s talk.

About the author: Thank you for taking the time to read this post. What next? Scroll down and join the discussion in the comments section. Looking for more Civil War content? You can follow me on Twitter. Check out my latest book, Searching For Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth, which is the first book-length analysis of the black Confederate myth ever published. Order your copy today.

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