This morning I Skyped with Bob Elder‘s U.S. History survey course at Valparaiso University. As many of you know, I taught at Valparaiso from 2000-2002 as a Lilly Fellow Post-Doctoral Fellow, so I felt a bit nostalgic seeing Bob in action with his class. (When I taught at Valpo my classroom was located in the dingy basement of Christ College. It was nice to see Bob in a very modern-style computer classroom filled with new technology).
Bob’s class had just finished Was America Founded as a Christian Nation: A Historical Introduction. After a few questions from Bob, the students had a chance to grill me. My favorite question came from a student who wanted to know where David Barton got all of his historical documents. I said that I had no idea, but I would like to see the collection some day. Of course I also used this question to remind the students that just because a person owns documents and shows them at public talks does not mean he or she is a “historian.” History requires more than quoting and displaying–it requires interpretation and the application of the 5cs of historical thinking.
|David Barton and his documents|
Thanks to Bob Elder for the invitation. It was good to be “back” at Valpo!