“British Again Striking Hard on Somme Front Capture Two Lines of German Trenches” reads a banner headline in the Harrisburg Telegraph from September 22, 1916. Other headlines from the front page that day include everything from a parade and open air dance in the market square to a report on the US Department of Justice antitrust proceedings against “the Reading coal ‘barons.’”
In the past two decades historians have entered the digital age, designing a host of exciting projects that use technology to better understand, analyze, and visualize the past. These projects offer outstanding avenues for instructors at every level—from kindergarten to graduate school—to engage their students in the study of the past. This series will examine a wide range of digital projects on subjects that span both the globe and three millennia, and discuss ways to use them in the classroom.
By Jessica Pearson-Patel
In the summer of 2013, I had the incredible fortune to participate in the National History Center’s 8th International Seminar on Decolonization in Washington, DC. I had just received my PhD in history and French studies at New York University and was about to start a postdoc at Tulane University. Although much of the seminar focused on helping participants advance their own research projects on the history of decolonization, I found that some of the most engaging conversations I had with both the seminar faculty and with my fellow participants centered on teaching.
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.
By Jessica Choppin Roney
Editor’s Note: This is the last in a three-part series of blog posts on the National History Center’s Mock Policy Briefing Program, which Jessica Roney implemented in her course on the history of Philadelphia at Temple University. Part One discussed the rationale and relevance behind incorporating the program in a history classroom, while Part Two offered reflections on the program from students in Roney’s class. The Mock Policy Briefing Program Educator’s Workshop on “Understanding History’s Relevance to Today” will be held in Philadelphia on April 6.
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.
By Kyra Chamberlain
This is second in a three-part series of blog posts on the National History Center’s Mock Policy Briefing Program, which Jessica Roney implemented in her course on the history of Philadelphia at Temple University in fall 2015. The students in her course spent a large portion of the semester working together as an entire class to research their mock policy briefing project and to construct a final presentation. At the end of the semester, they offered center staff comments about the program.