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The Hamilton Exhibition

The Hamilton Exhibition

Warning: spoilers ahead for the Hamilton Exhibition, currently in Chicago. If you’d prefer to avoid exhibition spoilers, skip this post! I teach a course called Museums, Monuments, and Memory, where my students study public history theory and build an exhibition (including exhibit architecture) from the ground up in ten weeks. It’s a really fun class. People therefore generally imagine that I love museums. But actually, I don’t. There are lots of reasons for this, and I cannot hope to name…

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Burning Out and Firing Up

Burning Out and Firing Up

For the first time in my career – stretching back some 25 years now, if you count graduate school – I’ve taken six weeks off from work this summer. I’ve never done such a thing before. My career – including graduate school – stretches over a twenty-five year period, in which the demands of my research, my writing, my course prep, and conferences all made it feel that I could not spare a moment to come up for air. I…

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A Different View of the U.S. Civil War

A Different View of the U.S. Civil War

In my U.S. survey course this term – Power and inequity in America to 1865 – we’ve made it a priority to ask ourselves whose voices are lifted up and who is erased by the stories we tell about America.  We’ve charted the purposeful crafting of a white supremacist society; we’ve examined resistance to the same; we’ve read primary source documents about women and the fluidity of gender; we’ve dived deep into who “We The People” really were; we’ve consistently…

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Pockets

Pockets

Several people have remarked of late that they wish they had pockets in their robes. Pockets are an easy thing to add to robes – so here’s my guide to adding pockets, especially for people who don’t often sew. The easiest pocket Cut a square of fabric (or a rectangle, depending on what size/shape pocket you want) Fold over the edges and iron them down When all the edges are ironed place it against the inside of your robe, wherever…

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The Unessay

The Unessay

I did not come up with the concept of The Unessay – I first saw the concept on Christopher Jones’ twitter back in April of 2017 and was wowed by the work his students were producing.  Since then, I’ve had at least one class per term that have done unessays instead of final papers or exams, and I could not be more in love with the practice.  Yet the unessay can seem daunting to some at the outset, and I…

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Timelining Mythologies

Timelining Mythologies

There’s rarely a time in my classes where my students read something or hear something for its own sake.  Instead, the reading or listening is a first step in some bigger activity that asks them to take the information they’ve learned and apply it a some new way, making decisions about the significance of events, people, and actions.  One example of this kind of processing is to have students build a collective timeline. Yesterday, in Power and Inequity in America…

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FAQ: Content Warnings

FAQ: Content Warnings

This FAQ is written from my perspective as an educator and as someone with complex PTSD.  It does not constitute medical advice; I am not a medical professional. Content Warnings: Frequently Asked Questions What is a content (or trigger) warning? A content warning alerts students that there is potentially traumatizing subject matter in a reading, a film, other educational materials, or in an upcoming discussion or lecture. Why do people ask for content warnings? Individuals who have been traumatized (by…

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Having Students Teach

Having Students Teach

There’s an old adage that to know something really well you have to teach it, an adage that’s backed up by countless studies about the concept of retrieval practice.  Retrieval practice is the act of having students pull information from memory – ideas they’ve studied on their own, things they’ve read, something they heard, or data they learned in a previous class session, for example, and applying that information in a new way.  By remembering information – by retrieving it…

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Academia is Ableist

Academia is Ableist

There’s a conversation happening on Twitter right now about accommodations in college classrooms for students with disabilities.  Many people have articulated beautifully why accommodations are not just a matter of law, but of justice, ethics, and professional responsibility.  But there’s one more big piece of this that I think we’re missing. Institutions of higher education in the United States are inherently ableist.  The ways in which we typically assess student learning are predicated on being able-bodied and neurotypical.  It’s not…

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