One of my goals when I started this blog back in 2005 was to find ways to use it as an extension of my teaching. Over the years I have shared teaching resources, including primary and secondary sources and lesson plans. It’s forced me to think carefully about what it is that I am trying to accomplish in the classroom and over the years it has connected me to some incredibly talented and passionate history educators.
In recent years more of my social media output has been spent on twitter @kevinlevin. It’s a very different platform, but I try to keep the same goals that helped to guide me on the blog front and center. With that in mind I’ve decided to try a little experiment.
I am going to try to put together an online class that focuses on the Civil War and historical memory specifically for twitter. Recently Georgetown historian Adam Rothman announced that he was going to share class readings on his twitter feed. The response was overwhelming. I thought it was a wonderful way of leveraging twitter for educational purposes.
I’m teaching the history of slavery in North America this semester. Anybody want to follow along here on Twitter if I post sources, readings, etc?
— Adam Rothman (@arothmanhistory) January 13, 2020
It got me thinking. It’s easy to share class readings and other resources, but might it be possible to host regular twitter chats that utilize a shared hashtag. I am envisioning a semester long class that begins in the Fall 2020 that focuses on Civil War memory, including the Lost Cause, monuments/memorials, veterans reunions, Hollywood movies, Confederate flag, memory of black soldiers/emancipation, among other topics. We may even go ‘searching for black Confederates.’ 🙂
In preparation for this I am going to put together a mini-version that is very narrowly focused and that runs for a couple weeks to work out some of the kinks. There will most certainly be challenges to work out, but I am much more excited about the possibilities.
I will post readings and other sources on a webpage here at Civil War Memory. We can meet on twitter at a set time for discussion. The readings will be geared for the non-expert and will give people the opportunity to decide how deep they want to delve into individual subject. I will select a wide range of readings from scholars and non-scholars alike, but nothing will require payment. Given that so many of the historians that we will read are on twitter I can easily anticipate their involvement in our discussions.
If everything goes well in this first phase I will announce the semester long course for September. I will likely assign a book, but that will be the only thing you have to purchase if you choose to do so. The response to my announcement on twitter has been overwhelmingly positive, which is incredibly encouraging.
If you are reading about this for the first time I hope you will consider joining us. Of course, you have to be on twitter to take part so set up an account if interested and Follow me for the latest announcements.