Contemporary Politics of Teaching History

In this discussion-oriented seminar we will survey, analyze, and debate a number of controversial issues related to the teaching of history at the K-12 level. Topics will include the current pedagogical politics of multiculturalism, the arguably left-leaning tilt of much history teaching and the concomitant problem of a lack of ideological diversity in the classroom, the contention that Howard Zinn both is a poor historian and actually disempowers ordinary people (along with vigorous defenses of Zinn), and the fracas over the remaking of the AP US History exam. Ultimately, we will seek to figure out the proper connection between teaching history and civic life. Does, in fact, democracy depend on inculcating into youth a critical appreciation of the past?