Author Archives: Guest Blogger

Teaching Effective Engagement: Some Strategies and Techniques

By Alexandria Ruble, Scott Harrison, Jane Freeland, Adam Blackler, and Julie Ault

“Here’s a scenario,” I said to students in my course on the Holocaust. “Imagine that right now, the North Carolina state government issues an order that you must leave the state if you or your parents are not from here. How many of you are from North Carolina?” Most students in the class raised their hands. Then, I asked, “How many of you have parents from North Carolina?” Fewer students raised their hands.

America’s Front Yard: The National Mall through the Years

By Ethan Ehrenhaft

Even before its use as a hashtag during the most recent presidential campaign, the phrase “drain the swamp” had a much more literal meaning to the residents of the District of Columbia. DC’s origins date back to 1791 when Congress approved purchase of land for a federally controlled capital. The district initially encompassed 100 square miles—most of which was covered by thick forests and insect-infested bogs. Upon arriving in 1800, Abigail Adams described DC as “a city only in name” in a letter to her sister.

Medievalism, White Supremacy, and the Historian’s Craft

By Carol Symes

With every passing day, the AHA’s upcoming annual meeting on the theme of Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism in Global Perspective is becoming more and more urgent. In particular, a group of sessions on The Modern Legacy of Premodern Racial and Ethnic Concepts anticipates a number of recent events and controversies that have drawn attention to the close links between white supremacism and medievalism: that is, the projection of modern agendas onto the medieval past, or the selective use of that past to further such agendas.

Reviving the Sleeping Giant: Historians Tackle the College-Level Survey Course

By Jermaine Thibodeaux

Undeterred by Hurricane Harvey, a dedicated group of history educators gathered at the Houston Community College campus to strategize ways to revive struggling introductory history courses at two- and four-year universities. Attendees at the AHA’s 3rd annual Texas Conference on Introductory Courses were treated to rousing presentations by those in the trenches and by state policymakers determined to breathe new life into these struggling courses. 

Mapping the Early Modern World: Using Google Maps in the Classroom

By Julia M Gossard

While lecturing on Magellan’s famed voyage that circumnavigated the early modern world, I asked the student who had chosen to trace the voyage on a map if she had any further insights. Somewhat surprisingly she retorted, “Not historically, but it did take me a really long time to draw that line representing Magellan’s voyage. I can’t imagine having actually done it in the 16th century.” Her comment opened up an engaging (unplanned) discussion about the realities of sea travel, culture shock, and geography in the early modern world.

One Short Week in Denver: An Undergraduate History Club Goes to the AHA Annual Meeting

By Blanca Drapeau

There we were. A small group of Californian undergrads, winter layers piled over our business casual attire, perusing the AHA 2017 annual meeting program over coffee and pastries. We discussed panels that piqued our interests, excitedly pointing out historians we’d read for our courses and asking each other about unfamiliar terms. Last year was my senior year at Humboldt State University and the second year I attended the AHA annual meeting with our History Club. I was president of our club and the only student attending who had gone to another annual meeting.

Fighting for the NEH’s Future on Capitol Hill

NHA is compiling letters to the editor/op-eds in support of NEH! Don't see your letter? Email anowicki@nhalliance.org w/ the link! Interested in reading more? Our colleagues at the Federation for State Humanities Councils are compiling articles written by State Councils: bit.ly/2nePvdq

On (Dissertation Research) Roads Not Travelled

By Christina Copland

From choosing a graduate school to selecting a dissertation topic, a history PhD is full of avenues not explored. Not all research, for instance, makes it into the final dissertation draft. It’s one thing to discard a source that just doesn’t fit. But what about a trove of sources that have the potential to alter the direction of a project entirely?