I’m teaching in the history department next year! Amazing and exciting. For a US historian, I’ve taught a lot of courses about the world outside of the US and about the US’s internationalism. This year I’ve been teaching a unique, fun course on South Africa and the global anti-apartheid movement (with a few US parallels drawn here and there) as part of my post-doc at the University of Kentucky. In the fall I get to teach a senior seminar which I gave the super exciting title of “Race and Class in the Great Depression” (I had about 2 minutes to decide on a title, literally). In the spring I’m teaching the US Intellectual History survey. Despite my place here on the blog, I would feel more comfortable teaching the African American History survey, so I’m turning to you folks for ideas.
1. What are some of the themes that you highlight?
2. Do you move through the semester chronologically or thematically?
3. Do you assign whole texts or mostly essays?
4. Do you focus more on close readings or broad ideas?
5. Which texts/essays do you assign? Do you ever assign non-written texts (music, films, monuments, images, art etc)? Two of my favorite lectures that my advisor, David Bailey, gave in his US Intellectual History survey, were on Julia Ward Howe’s authorship of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and on Dorothea Lange’s Depression era photography.
As an intellectual historian, I’m about as far from a philosophical historian as you can get. After events this past week, I’m thinking Richard Pryor and Wendell Berry might be good sources (Randall Kennedy mentioned one of Pryor’s acts in a talk I went to Monday–I plan to share it with ya’ll one of these day–and Wendell Berry spent the weekend camped out in the governor’s office to campaign against mountain-top removal).
How hard do you work to connect the history to the area in which you teach? I’m very new to Kentucky, but I live about 500 yards from Henry Clay’s estate. Maybe I should include some of his speeches (although I plan to start after the Civil War)? Do any of you know other famous Kentuckians?