On the Possibility of Historical Empathy

Chris Gehrz has been churning out some great stuff lately at The Pietist Schoolman.  Anyone interested in history, historiography, Christian thinking, and church-related higher education should have the Pietist Schoolman bookmarked for daily reading. In yesterday’s post, Chris explores the idea of “historical empathy” and wonders whether such a virtue is really possible.  Here is … Continue reading On the Possibility of Historical Empathy

Christine Kelly at AHA 2015: Intergenerational Collaboration as Historical Practice

Christine Kelly returns to The Way of Improvement Leads Home this conference after writing for us last year in Washington. She is a Ph.D student in modern U.S. history at Fordham University and I am very proud to say that she is a former student of mine.–JF After a relatively quiet first day at the 2015 … Continue reading Christine Kelly at AHA 2015: Intergenerational Collaboration as Historical Practice

"Rethinking the American Colonies" at Messiah College: Day One

This week I am teaching a “Teachers as Scholars” seminar at Messiah College.  The Teachers as Scholars program is one of the flagship programs of the Messiah College Center for Public Humanities, one of only a handful of National Endowment for Humanities funded public humanities centers in the country.  Teachers as Scholars bring dozens of … Continue reading "Rethinking the American Colonies" at Messiah College: Day One

This Summer’s "Teachers as Scholars" Seminar: "Rethinking the American Colonies"

This summer I will be leading another “Teachers as Scholars” seminar at Messiah College.  These seminars are sponsored and funded by the Messiah College Center for Public Humanities, a National Endowment for the Humanities-funded initiative that brings humanities-based learning to the central Pennsylvania region and beyond. The “Teachers as Scholars” seminars bring dozens of school … Continue reading This Summer’s "Teachers as Scholars" Seminar: "Rethinking the American Colonies"

Why K-12 Teachers Should Attend the American Historical Association’s Annual Meeting

I was just talking about the AHA’s annual meeting with my Teaching History course the other day. When I was starting out in the profession in the mid-1990s it was very rare to see school teachers roaming the halls of the conference hotels.  That is no longer the case.  At the 2013 meeting in New … Continue reading Why K-12 Teachers Should Attend the American Historical Association’s Annual Meeting

Historical Habits of the Mind

Earlier this week I shared Kenneth Pomeranz’s December 2013 Perspectives on History column with the students in my “Teaching History” course at Messiah.  I have really enjoyed teaching this course this semester. The students have been great.  I appreciate how serious they are taking the material and how they have been approaching the course with a real sense of … Continue reading Historical Habits of the Mind

Irony: Historically Black College Drops History Major

Today Inside Higher Ed is reporting that Elizabeth City State University, a 2,300 student historically black college in North Carolina, is thinking about cutting seven undergraduate majors, including history, because these majors are “low productive.”  Here is a taste of that article: The potential that a historically black college could cut its history program is … Continue reading Irony: Historically Black College Drops History Major

Ed Ayers on What Freshmen Think About the Historical Profession

Drawing upon his experience in a freshman class he is teaching entitled “Touching the Past: The Purposes and Strategies of American History,” Ed Ayers, the president of the University of Richmond and an eminent history of the South, asks a very interesting question: “What do 18-year olds think of historians and our work? Here is a taste … Continue reading Ed Ayers on What Freshmen Think About the Historical Profession

Historical Sound Walks

Over at The Historical Thinking Project, Michael Harcourt describes how he teaches his students historical thinking skills through “historical sound walks.”  He describes these walks as “an evidence-based tour around a particular location that actively uses combinations of the physical surroundings, pre-existent historical interpretations, contemporary, ambient sounds and thoughts from people living, working or passing … Continue reading Historical Sound Walks

The Historical Society Conference Recap

This past weekend I was in Columbia, South Carolina for the biennial conference of The Historical Society.  The focus of this year’s conference was “Popularizing Historical Knowledge: Practice, Prospects, and Perils.”  It was hosted by the University of South Carolina. On Friday morning I chaired a session entitled “Religious History and the Public Imagination.”  Adam … Continue reading The Historical Society Conference Recap

Rethinking Success: Andrew Delbanco and Stan Katz

As my loyal readers know, I am in Winston-Salem, NC attending the “Rethinking Success: From Liberal Arts to Careers in the 21st Century” conference at Wake Forest.  (I have been tweeting extensively on the conference at #rethinkingsuccess). The opening session of the conference, “The Historical Perspective,” featured presentations by Columbia University American Studies professor Anthony … Continue reading Rethinking Success: Andrew Delbanco and Stan Katz

The American Historical Association Embraces the "Culture of Assessment"

When the faculty in the History Department at Messiah College were told that we needed to start assessing our programs, I balked at the idea.  How can you assess humanities-based learning?  I am still skeptical, but as a department chair I now find myself leading my department assessment efforts. Over the past year I have … Continue reading The American Historical Association Embraces the "Culture of Assessment"

Interview at the Blog of the Historical Society

I was recently interviewed by Randall Stephens, the prolific and ubiquitous editor of the blog of The Historical Society (among many other things).  I got a chance to answer questions about historical thinking, public intellectuals, the historian’s vocation, the “lecture circuit,” and, of course, Christian America.  Here is a taste: Stephens: You write about the … Continue reading Interview at the Blog of the Historical Society

New York Historical Society Lands Notes from the Constitutional Convention

The New York Historical Society has recently purchased the Constitutional Convention notebooks of John Lansing Jr., a delegate to the Convention from New York.  Here is a taste of the press release: New York, NY, May 31, 2011—At an auction held on Friday, May 20, at Sotheby’s, the Chairman of the New-York Historical Society, Roger … Continue reading New York Historical Society Lands Notes from the Constitutional Convention

Review of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction

Paul Otto of George Fox University reviews Was America Founded as a Christian Nation: A Historical Introduction (along with Thomas Kidd’s book, God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution) in the January-February 2010 edition of the Christians in Political Science Newsletter.  Here is a taste: It’s complicated. Or so John Fea claims … Continue reading Review of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction