Day 2 of the 2018 Princeton Seminar is in the Books

Princeton 2018 TuesSee previous posts on the 2018 Gilder-Lehrman Princeton Seminar here.

Today we dove into some content.  After introductions and the showing of the classic colonial America historiography scene from Good Will Hunting, I introduced the teachers to Whig history and suggested why this is an awful way of understanding colonial America.  We talked a lot about historical thinking and how such an approach to the past might change the way we think about the era.

After a short break, I introduced the students to the New Indian History.  We talked about Dan Richter’s concept of “facing East,” James Merrell’s understanding of the “Indian’s New World,” and Richard White’s “middle ground.”

After lunch, my partner-in-crime Nate McAlister got to work with the teachers on primary source-based lesson plans on the colonial era.

We ended the day, following dinner in the Princeton dining hall, with a tour of colonial Princeton and Princeton university.  Richard, our tour guide from the Historical Society of Princeton, taught the teachers about the history of colonial New Jersey, the development of 18th-century Princeton, and the history of the university.  As always, Richard ended his tour at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room!  We all ordered our favorite beverage and spent the rest of the night solving world problems!

Princeton 2018 Tues 2

The past is a foreign country!  The past is a foreign country!

Princeton 2018 Tues 3

Teachers working on their lesson plans

Princeton 2018 Tues 4

Richard from the Historical Society of Princeton led a charismatic revival service in the Princeton chapel!  🙂

Whig Hall

Is “Whig history” the best way to understand colonial America?  No.

One thought on “Day 2 of the 2018 Princeton Seminar is in the Books

  1. The past is a foreign country! The past is a foreign country!

    Professor Fea:

    Do you remember the (British) Granada TV production of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (starring Jeremy Brett), filmed as close as possible to as-written as Victorian Period Pieces? The background characters and attitudes gave that feel of “a foreign country” and time, enough like us to be somewhat understandable, but with alien elements and attitudes that made us uptimers go “Huh?” (Sometimes when reading period originals — not only Doyle, but Kipling, and a couple minor period SF authors — I had to use an FRP game sourcebook list to translate some of the terms from Victorian English to 21st Century American.)

    (Now if someone would only film War of the Worlds as a similar Victorian Period Piece instead of all the “modernized” and “updated” versions I’ve seen. With the only uptime element Jeff Vance’s “War of the Worlds” soundtrack. Nothing gets old-fashioned faster than over-relevance.)


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