Author Archives: Guest Blogger

Medievalism, White Supremacy, and the Historian’s Craft: A Response

By Daniel Franke

Carol Symes’s AHA Today post, “Medievalism, White Supremacy, and the Historian’s Craft,” raises a number of important issues about the impact of recent political and academic controversies on the historical profession. I have long admired Symes’s work, and at the present writing she has graciously agreed to present a paper in a session I have organized for the 2018 International Medieval Congress at Leeds. We share a common intellectual lineage as well: we are both students of Joseph Strayer’s students—she of Thomas Bisson at Harvard, I of Richard Kaeuper at Rochester.

Benevolent Diplomacy: Children’s Art and US Food Relief in Occupied Germany

By Kaete O’Connell 

Last winter while leafing through the Official File at the Truman Library for material on Herbert Hoover’s 1947 economic mission to Germany, I was struck by a vibrant burst of color. The monochrome of telegrams and correspondence was replaced by colorful sketches of chickens, Lifesaver candies, and a family of beans marching to a can for preservation. The drawings were bound together with thank-you notes penned by young recipients of US food relief. German children clearly appreciated the “gift” of food, pleasing occupation officials keen to capitalize on American charity.

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.