Tuesday, August 26, 2014

European History, Day 1

As I kicked off my semester today with a European history lecture, I thought I’d start a regular series of posts tracking developments in History 106 (Europe Since 1648) to offer a small window into one introductory college history course.  It might be of interest to anyone who hasn’t been in a history class for a while, or for people who never had the opportunity to take a history class beyond high school.  I’d welcome comments and thoughts from any readers.
Today, we spent the class period on introductions: to the course, the syllabus, the readings, and some themes.  We discussed exactly what it is that historians do: ask questions, comb through evidence, construct narratives, and subject those narratives and arguments to scrutiny within the broader profession.
We talked about the emergence of sub-fields over the years, fields which have dramatically expanded the scope of what historians do, accounting for people and topics previously overlooked.  That gave me a chance to point to the work that some of my colleagues in the department at UNLV do, the better to explain to students the incredible range of possibilities that are open to them in thinking about the past.
Students in the course hail from a range of majors, and so offered their own perspectives on the relationship between history and other disciplines. 

And then our time was up for day-one.  Thursday will be about beginnings…1648 and all that.  Stay tuned.


  1. I'm excited by this new direction for the blog. I think my last bit of European history was a re-watching of the Monty Python's Holy Grail.

    Also, excited to learn how the ills of Europe: Black Death, Sack of Rome, Thirty Years War, Hundred Years War, Two Hundred Years War (i assume), etc. can be laid at the feet of Jerry Brown.

    1. Well, back when Jerry was but a wee lad, he boarded a ship for Venice with his pet rat...