Archive for January, 2010

An interesting new blog on Public History

As someone interested in public history and is getting into an oral history project this semester, I always like to make others aware of new blogs and sites devoted to such pursuits. Some of my colleagues are engaged in a public history internship course this semester and have set up a blog for it called The Muses’ Web. I encourage you all to check it out and have linked it in my blogroll.


An interesting article from the Times

Monday’s New York Times had an interesting article regarding the political leanings of university professors. The article argued that a university professor is a “typecast” career field, similar to how nursing is viewed as a gender-typed field. It does concede the role of progressive reforms in higher education fostered the current state of the system, causing most professors to be liberal. Overall, the article is interesting and made me reflect on why I chose to be a historian.

I am a conservative and am not ashamed to say it, but I do keep my views rather quiet do to the culture of universities. This is not to say that my department is this way, as they are great people to work with, though we would disagree on political and social subjects. I keep my views quiet so that people get to know me on other levels and are not tempted to pre-judge me based on my views.

I chose my career path because of my love of history, as well as to show young conservatives that you can be successful in academia. Further, history is in an interesting state as a discipline. While many in the public enjoy history, particularly military history, the profession is leaning into more fields that do not resonate as well with the public, fields that comprise social history. I will state that I have no problems with historians researching in their personal areas of interest, but that courses in universities should try to reflect traditional areas more, like military, economic, and diplomatic history. This is because of the nature of college, which is now driven by the bottom line. If history is to remain relevant and independent as a field in the university, it must do what is needed to maintain student interest in the field. Overall, it will be interesting to see what debate this article fosters. I hope you all read it and ponder.

A fun first day in North Dakota History

Today was the first day in History 220:  The History of North Dakota, and we covered the basic ground today. We handed out the syllabus, the first paper assignment, and a short quiz to gauge students’ knowledge of North Dakota history. We also covered the rules of the course, which were influenced by some events last semester, including no texting, no conversations on non-class subjects, and, the big one, no plagiarism. We had a very large group this day and I look forward to helping them gain better knowledge on the state.

A new semester

It is that time of year again, the beginning of the new semester. This semester will be a great one, as I will be taking courses dealing with the American West, a research seminar that will allow me to complete a chapter of the dissertation, and a Public History project dealing with oral history, where I will interview local World War II veterans who participated in the Honor Flights to visit the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, to understand their experiences in the conflict and how visiting the memorial affected them.

I will also be returning to North Dakota History, with a new group of students and an additional teaching assistant, which will lighten the workload for me. I will also devote some time to preparing for my class in the fall, which will be exciting and challenging. When that time arrives, I will devote many posts to examining the interesting angles of teaching my own class for the first time, with some of them appearing on Teaching Thursday, so stay tuned to this site. It’s good to be back in the swing of things and I look forward to sharing the fun with you.