I am happy to share with you my first piece to appear at Smithsonian.com on the influence of fake news stories on the 2016 presidential election and its implications for how we teach history. Like many of you I am troubled, though not surprised, by the inability of seemingly smart people to spot fake news or distinguish between reputable and problematic websites. [click to continue…]
Update: I thought this editorial about the Augusta Civil War Round Table in Georgia was worth reading in light of the post and discussion below.
My good friend John Hennessy posted some thoughts earlier today about his recent experiences presenting in front of Civil War Round Tables. While John references the decline in membership and graying of those who have remained, he rightfully resists concluding that it reflects a lack of interest in history among young people or society in general. There is little evidence to justify such a conclusion. [click to continue…]
Some of you may know that David Blight is close to completing a biography of Frederick Douglass that is slated for publication late next year. This talk on Douglass at Harvard Law School took place the day after the presidential election. I think it is safe to say that Professor Blight was in a state of shock while delivering this talk. At times it really is unclear as to whether he is talking about Douglass and the Civil War or the current state of the nation.
You can read the lead article by Madupe Labode here or the PDF version at the bottom of the page, which includes a little sidebar that I wrote on the origins of the Lost Cause narrative. Professor Labode’s piece is a nice introduction to the history and memory of Confederate monuments and the current debate. The issue also includes essays by the Civil War Institute’s Jill Ogline Titus and F. Sheffield Hale from the Atlanta History Center.
One final thought: What opportunities are there to use the president-elect’s embrace of social media to encourage smart civic engagement among our students? What responsibilities come with having such access to the future president and how can we encourage students to do so in a productive way?
I follow and, on occasion, respond to Donald Trump’s tweets. There, I said it. In fact, the more I do the more I consider it a form of healthy civic engagement. President Obama and other elected officials use twitter, but it is not always clear when their tweets are published by staffers. There is no question that Trump’s output is his own and this both thrills his supporters and horrifies his detractors. [click to continue…]
I trust that all of you had a Happy Thanksgiving with friends and family. My Thanksgiving included an invitation to join a team of educators and historians from the United States and Vietnam to develop an interactive, inquiry-based set of instructional materials that will align with the upcoming commemorations and anniversaries of the American Vietnam War for use in the secondary and post-secondary classroom. The project is being organized by the National Humanities Center in Durham, North Carolina. [click to continue…]
Say hello to Mose, named after Col. John S. Mosby and for you “Office” fans, Dwight Schroot’s curious cousin. We picked up Mose, along with his sister, Clara, yesterday at a shelter in Hopkinton, just outside of Boston.
This pic was taken just after an intense 15 minute ear washing from his sister. Mose will be out of action for the rest of the afternoon.
Unfortunately, we lost our cat, Felix, this past September from cancer. He was an incredibly kind kitty. JEB and Felix have been with us for 14 years. While his brother, JEB, is adjusting well he is still an incredibly active and playful cat. We thought he might like some new playmates. Introductions will be made tonight and hopefully, if everything works out well, JEB and Mosby will soon be planning their next offensive.
Undergraduate instructors, public historians, and independent scholars that have an interest in the continuing and often bitter debates about how American history is remembered and commemorated throughout the country should definitely consider applying to this NEH funded workshop, Recognizing an Imperfect Past, at the Georgia Historical Society. This Summer Institute will take place over a 2-week period (June 11-23) in Savannah, Georgia. [click to continue…]