Teachers are undoubtedly scrambling to address the Russian-Ukrainian war in their classrooms, and many probably feel underprepared to talk about a war in an area about which they may have little expertise. One of my guiding pedagogical principles is that, in a history classroom, providing context is often more powerful than an exhaustive recitation of… Read more →
Plastered Skulls: What can a 10,000 year old tradition teach us about coping with death?
Teaching about Death and Burial “Design your own burial” is an activity on my course syllabus. No matter how many times students see it on their handout and on the lecture screen, it takes them a minute to comprehend these words. Watching my twenty-something-year-old students think about their own mortality, their own death— sometimes for… Read more →
“A keen vision and feeling of all ordinary life”: Pandemic Journaling in the History Classroom
In January 2020, I showed students a clip of historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich in the documentary A Midwife’s Tale. Ulrich discusses how she reconstructed the life story of midwife Martha Ballard from the sparse entries left behind in Ballard’s diary. The diary covered all aspects of life on the Maine frontier in the late eighteenth… Read more →