Teaching the Civil War

The History Teacher - November 2010

My most recent publication is now available in the new issue of the November 2010 issue of the journal, The History Teacher.  The essay focuses on how I use Ken Burns’s Civil War documentary in class and is based on a talk I gave back in 2007 at the first biennial meeting of the Society For Civil War Historians.  [Click here to read the essay (pdf file)]

One of the things that I’ve enjoyed most over the past few years is the opportunity to work with fellow history teachers on how we can better teach our subject.  As much as I enjoy sharing what has worked for me with others I have to say that I’ve learned just as much from my colleagues.  This coming year will be incredibly busy in this regard.  In January I will be leading a TAH workshop with W. Fitzhugh Brundage on the Civil War and historical memory and in April I will take part in another workshop here in Virginia that was organized in response to the recent 4th grade history textbook controversy.  I am also involved in an ongoing effort to secure an NEH Grant for a workshop that will take place next summer.  Finally, I am very excited to report that I recently accepted an offer from the New York Times to write an essay on the challenges of teaching the Civil War during the sesquicentennial.

Let’s always remember to teach our children well.

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

Purchase your copy today!

4 comments… add one
  • Jim Beeghley Dec 19, 2010 @ 5:15


    Interesting paper. On a side note, as part of my doctoral study survey I asked respondents (teachers) what their favorite website was for teaching the Civil War and a majority of them saidmthat it was the PBS website on the Civil War.

    Merry Christmas


  • Matt McKeon Dec 8, 2010 @ 5:33

    The most useful thing in the world for a history teacher is the exhange of ideas with fellow teachers. Although in my case, the official term is “stealing” the ideas of my fellow teachers.

  • Robert Baker Dec 7, 2010 @ 17:47

    rarely is the question asked Kevin, “is our children learning”.

    To say the least, the next five years should be interesting both professionally for historians and personally for me. I will begin teaching during the Sesquicentennial, while re-enacting in it as well. To say the least, horrible interpretations are given at these re-enactments to the public to “educate”. I hope your workshops are a great success for teachers across your state. Being from Georgia, I won’t personally be able to attend so hopefully some of your material will show up here as well like your essay.

    Always reading,

    • Kevin Levin Dec 8, 2010 @ 1:46

      Thanks Robert. You can rest assured that much of the material that I use in these workshops will appear here.

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