Globalizing the US History Survey

Teaching Environmental History in US and World History Survey Courses

By Allison Frickert-Murashige

Thermohaline circulation, Aedes aegypti, sodium nitrate, and CO2 uptake are all terms that four years ago I would not have envisioned using in my US and world history survey course classrooms. Let’s face it—even though some of us may have a hidden science nerd lurking within—most historians are not formally trained in biological, environmental, climate, and meteorological sciences. Moreover, historians, with our emphasis on human agency, tend to be a bit leery of environmental determinism. And yet, as a participant in the AHA’s three-year program “American History, Atlantic and Pacific,” supported by a grant from the NEH’s Bridging Cultures initiative, I found myself completely hooked by our environmental history presentations.

Transforming the US History Survey by Expanding Its Geographical Focus

By Lesley Kawaguchi

The AHA’s Bridging Cultures program, “American History, Atlantic and Pacific,” was geared toward providing an opportunity for community college history faculty to globalize their US history survey courses by engaging with innovative scholarship on the Pacific and Atlantic worlds. It also provided research opportunities at the Huntington Library and the Library of Congress, and culminated in presentations at the 2015 AHA annual meeting.

18th-century indenture contract, Wikimedia Commons

Transforming the US History Survey with a Focus on Labor in the Atlantic World

By Kimberly D. Hill

About three years ago, I realized I needed to reorganize the first few weeks of my early US history survey course. Following the 13 colonies-centered chronology of the textbook made the course seem too familiar to students and encouraged rote memorization. Still, I worried that too many changes would make the course difficult for freshmen and sophomores to navigate. The Bridging Cultures program gave me the confidence to embrace the challenge of teaching transnationally and offer students alternatives to the standard history texts and narratives.

Incorporating the Atlantic and Pacific Worlds into the US History Survey

By Shannon Bontrager

Editor’s Note: This post is the first of a series of posts from the AHA Bridging Cultures project. Participants will blog about how they have redesigned their US history courses to take a broader view of the US relative to the Atlantic and Pacific worlds. Authors will also be contributing curricular materials, to be posted in our new online Bridging Cultures Resources.

Pizza, PechaKucha, and Pedagogy

Bontrager_Student Chitchat_thumbnailDr. Shannon Bontrager is a soon to be associate professor of history at Georgia Highlands College in Cartersville, Georgia. His research focuses on the cultural and political history of how Americans remember their war dead from the Civil War to the Great Depression. Once suspicious of PechaKucha, he has come to enjoy it as much as he enjoys pizza.