The challenges and joys of teaching USII in the age of Trump

This fall I am teaching the US History II (1870-present) for the first time in almost a decade. Oh boy. Typically I teach the European History II survey course that covers twenty-seven countries over five centuries. I jumped at this opportunity to teach the history of just one country over 140 years.

When I last taught USII, it was while I was simultaneously teaching at four different colleges. To maintain my sanity back then (and with a newborn on my hands), I stuck to a textbook-aligned plan that allowed for minimal flexibility. I had my stock lectures and themes and led primarily teacher-centered classes.

Things are going to be different this time around. My students will explore US History as it relates to some of the most pressing issues of today: namely race, immigration, and ethnicity. News coverage is saturated with Trump pronouncements about “building a wall” and halting Muslim immigration, as well as his “look at my African-American” comment at a recent rally. I can’t see any other way to teach USII without addressing the history behind these remarks and why they get so much traction today.

First stop, We’re History and The Junto. 

PS I found inspiration in this AHA Perspectives article:






Continuing the conversation…

OK, everyone, summer is near and we will soon have a bit more time to explore teaching with digital history. I’m going to pick up where I left off in March and blog about my experiences with some of the tools that were presented at the conference.

In the past two weeks I have received queries from conference participants regarding the digital tools from on March 18. One was about Brian Croxall’s app on the Battle of Atlanta. The other was on Heather Cox Richardson’s magazine We’re History. So, I’ll address those first. I welcome you to join me…

Oh, by the way, when you create a new post it is helpful if you check off the category it fits under. You can also add a new category if need be. Also, consider adding tags related to your post. These shortcuts should help us all use this blog more effectively.