Things are getting rolling again at Designing History’s Future after the semester break.
Two big things are developing this spring.
The first US History Survey course developed through the UT Course Transformation Project launched this week. Much more on that to come in future posts.
Second, the great group of graduate students who have been writing for this blog decided to publish an e-book in order to share the ideas they have about reshaping the undergrad history classroom and keep the conversations from last semester going. The essays are in. Each mixes investigations of new ideas with concrete lesson plans and course designs. They are utopian. They are practical. They are coming soon to an e-book near you!
Title suggestions welcome.
The National Archives’ YouTube page has many videos, some of them about their exhibits and others primary sources.
Exploring the site a bit, I came across this video from 1944: “The Negro Soldier”
It is a 40-minute long propaganda film that was meant to convince black Americans to enlist in the military during WWII. The YouTube page for the video provides almost no information about the film.
When I then googled “The Negro Soldier,” I found a myriad of different pages about it, the first being the Wikipedia entry about it (of course). While Wikipedia should never be taken at face value (though, I would argue that it’s a good starting point and students will always use it), one element of the site that is particularly useful is the footnotes/links at the bottom of entries.
The National Archives’ catalogue entry explains much more about the film:
This War Department enlistment film aims to recruit African Americans in its World War II engagement. The documentary has as its framework a black minister’s explanation to his congregation of the reasons they should join the armed forces to fight the Nazis. The viewer sees historical re-enactments of African Americans as valued participants in U.S. armed conflicts dating from the American Revolution. Scenes also detail Black accomplishments in the country’s history, with footage of Blacks as they served as judges and school teachers, conducted orchestras, played football, and served the U.S. Army in World War II. Footage is included of Jesse Owens and other Blacks as they competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. “The Negro Soldier” was produced by Frank Capra and directed by Stuart Heisler, with music by Dimitri Tiomkin.
November 15 Lunch Workshop
- from 12 to 1:30pm
- in GAR conference room on the first floor
TOPIC: A Conversation about the Future of Teaching History
- We will discuss, dream, and begin to develop a positive, holistic vision for the future of teaching history. What do we want that to look like? How can we make it so?
- Let Jessica (the project’s GRA) know as soon as possible if you plan to attend and she will add your name to the lunch order: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I have repeated throughout this series on engagement, I do not presume in presenting this “practical ideal” that anyone else will regard it as either practical or ideal for their own purposes or predilections. If any element of the proposed US History I course plan proves useful, I would be delighted. A key phrase to bear in mind here is “mutatis mutandis,” which is a fancy way of saying that I doubt the entire plan could be implemented wholesale–with no changes or modifications–in any context other than that in which it was conceived (namely, my imagination). So it is with my learning objective.
Posted in HIS 392
This week I was really interested in finding more ways to “make” history.
Steven F. Anderson’s Technologies of History is an exploration of ways of creating and viewing history that embrace the multimedia technologies that have emerged over the past century. While this book expresses many of the same ideas as T. Mills Kelly’s Teaching History in the Digital Age, I would argue that Anderson goes a bit farther in advocating for creating personal histories, alternative histories, and fake histories. Where as Kelly primarily wanted people to make history to be engaged and learn technical skills, Anderson believes that the act of making history can lead to a deeper understanding of the way histories are constructed, and how based on that many points of view may be left out of the discourse.