History Department Works to Revise Survey Courses
Daniel Rodgers, a history professor at Princeton University, spoke in the Business Administration Building Tuesday. In his speech, Rodgers addressed the idea of globalizing U.S. history. Photo by Coty Giannelli
Daniel Rodgers, a history professor at Princeton University, said the concepts of pride, destiny and history are at risk when history is taught from only an American perspective.
Rodgers spoke in the Business Administration Building Tuesday in a speech titled “Transnationalizing U.S. History: What is at Stake in the Idea of American Exceptionalism?” to address the idea of globalizing U.S. history. Graduate students and faculty members gathered for the speech that was a part of the history department’s process to revise the U.S. history survey courses.
TIMELINE OF HISTORY COURSE REVISIONS:
-Applied for grant through Provost Office
-Began purchasing books for faculty
-Held bi-weekly meeting to discuss revision plans
-Speakers David Armitage and Philippe Girard presentations
-Continue bi-weekly meetings and redesign syllabi for pilot courses
-Speakers Deborah Kang and Daniel Rodgers presentations
-Begin U.S. Survey pilot courses
Rodgers emphasized that the idea of transnationalizing U.S. history, or viewing American history as a global event rather than an American event, was not to discard history but to make it more accurate.
“It’s not to throw the old U.S. history out, that was never the point of transnationalizing the history that we know,” he said. “It’s how to make our own histories, the histories that we already have grasped in our hands actually truer and better and more serious than they were before.”
Through Rodgers, as well as other speakers brought in through the history department, graduate students and faculty members recognized the importance of globalizing American history and will apply it to their teaching.
Bailey Trenchard, history graduate appointee, said viewing history as a global event made sense in the future of teaching.
“My generation of scholars or historians, we’re already kind of in this mindset that this is kind of what is necessary,” she said. “So to apply it to the classroom I think for a lot of us is going to be second nature.”
Ken Bindas, chair of the history department, said Rodgers was the last of four speakers brought in throughout the year as a part of a $6,000 grant. A group of faculty received the grant to revise its U.S. history survey course curriculum so the courses reflect a more global view of American history.
“We wanted to find points of intersection where American history and global history can come together to reduce the reliance on American exceptionalism,” he said. “Not to suggest that America isn’t an exceptional country, but rather to broaden our students’ understanding of how the United States fits in the world.”
Bindas said revising the courses would give students a better understanding of America’s place in the world and the world’s place in America.
Bindas said the $6,000 was used to bring in the speakers and buy books, which will help the department figure out how to restructure the courses.
Kevin Adams, assistant professor of history and member of the grant team, said the group will use the information they have gathered from the speakers to work for the rest of this semester on revising the courses and launching pilot courses next fall.
“Now we have to sit down and roll up our sleeves and think about how we’re going to implement these ideas,” he said.
Contact Kelly Tunney at firstname.lastname@example.org.