Author Archives: Guest Blogger

History Education in Finland: Some Impressions

By Darcy R. Fryer

Journalists can’t stop talking about Finnish education. Finland has won kudos both for its consistently strong performance on the PISA—an international survey that evaluates education systems worldwide—and for its success in promoting broad equality of opportunity, a healthy work-life balance, and a high degree of autonomy by highly educated teachers. My attention was riveted, but soon frustrated, because so much of what has been written about Finnish education focuses on the elementary years, and especially on math.

Broadening Horizons: Graduate Students Dive into Curation at a Community Museum

By Misha Appeltova, Zach Nacev, and Gregory Valdespino

We stopped in front of a painting portraying a group of villagers by a river. “What do you see?” asked Elsie Hector Hernandez, owner and director of the Haitian American Museum of Chicago (HAMOC). One of us answered that there were villagers doing laundry, washing themselves, collecting water for households, getting their animals to drink. There were no roads, no cars, no concrete buildings. Traditional Haitian culture centered around a river? Lack of infrastructure due to the poverty of a state caused by international and domestic politics?

“We Came Here to Take the Bastille”: The Class of ’74 and the 2018 Election

By John Lawrence

A tense atmosphere is building in Washington, DC: an unpopular president in office, an election marked by criminal tampering, and a special prosecutor probing the clandestine hijinks of White House and campaign officials. Demonstrators are filling the nation’s streets, there’s a long and controversial war sapping America’s treasure in lives and dollars, and whispers are circulating about impeachment. Early special elections appear to signal that a wave of voter anger might be building toward a dramatic climax in the November off-year election.

History Is Relevant Everywhere: An International Scholar’s Perspective on the Annual Meeting

By Antia Wiersma

On the one day between the first European winter storm of the year and a North American snow blizzard, I flew to Washington, DC, to participate in the 2018 AHA annual meeting. The United States and the Netherlands are both dealing with difficult issues regarding structural discrimination of certain groups in society, and both are engaged in vigorous debates about history and memory in the public sphere. I came to the AHA annual meeting hoping to get some new perspectives on these issues, and to see how historians in a different political and social context are tackling these debates. 

The Gallery and the Gridiron: Learning about Career Diversity at an NFL Football Club

By Matthew Reeves

When I arrived at the headquarters of the Kansas City Chiefs Football Club it was like landing on another planet. Gone were the cinderblock walls, linoleum flooring, and flickering fluorescents of campus; in their place was a plush, tastefully designed working space shared by coaches, executives, and current players. It was nearly impossible not to be star struck by celebrity athletes, especially in a city that adores its local team. It was immediately clear to me, however, that I, like everyone else in the building, was there to work. 

Can We Right the Past? Memory and the Present

By Caroline E. Janney

Last night, the National Geographic Channel aired the first episode of Katie Couric’s new six-part documentary series, America Inside Out. In Re-Righting History, Couric investigated the contentious and at times violent battles that have erupted in the past three years over the removal of Confederate symbols and names from the public landscape. Beginning with extensive coverage of Charlottesville where Couric was on site for the far-right rally ostensibly to protect a statue of Robert E. Lee, the episode offers an opportunity to reflect on how contemporary Americans continue to both romanticize and struggle to come to terms with the more complex and less triumphant aspects of the nation’s history.