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Ben Wright
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Ben Wright

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Summer hiatus
We'll see you next fall with new conversations and a few new voices.  Stay tuned.
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Ben Wright

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Teaching the History of Media, Part 2: Radio
For my second half survey this semester, I am asking my students to evaluate the significance of shifts in media technology. We began the semester with a discussion of commercial photography.  You can read more about that assignment here .  Our second assig...
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Ben Wright

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Guest Post: Teaching the Native American Church Controversy
We are thrilled to have a guest post from Christopher R. Versen of Bridgewater College who shared his insights at the AHA as to how we should teach the Native American Church controversy.  He shares an abbreviated summary of those remarks here.   Finding
wa...
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On Teaching Writing
 We are thrilled to have a guest post today from Ariane Liazos, Preceptor and Faculty Associate at the Harvard Writing Program.  Ariane led a roundtable discussion at the AHA on the how we teach writing in undergraduate history courses. In the following pos...
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Photography, radio, and television
Tis the season... to grade.  But while the pile of essays to grade grows higher and higher, I've been distracting myself by planning for my next semester courses. I am thinking of pulling a dramatic audible and restructuring the assignments for the second h...
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Differentiated assessment in the survey (with help from Solomon Northrup)
I still remember the feelings of whiplash. As an undergraduate double major in history and education, I struggled to reconcile the wildly different pedagogical styles of my respective fields. I am deeply grateful for the rigorous quality of my undergraduate...
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Ben Wright

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In Defense of Teaching the XYZ Affair
I just got back from the OAH meeting in Atlanta.   It was a great weekend.   One of the panels that I was most excited to
attend was the SHEAR panel on “New Knowledge in Old Containers: How Early
Republic Scholars are Changing the Story.”   During the panel...
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Teaching the History of Media, Part 1: Photography and Race
As discussed in an earlier post , my second half survey this spring focuses on changes in media. In three assignments, I am asking the students to evaluate the relative impacts of commercial photography, radio, and television.    The survey at Rice divides ...
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Problems of Historical Memory: Teaching Martin Luther King Jr.
Who doesn't venerate Martin Luther King Jr.? When I ask my students for their three favorite Americans, King is nearly always at the top of the list, besting Thomas Jefferson, Sojourner Truth, and Abraham Lincoln.  But I would argue that MLK's consensus pos...
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In Defense of Teaching to the Test
Several months ago, I wrote about the importance of teaching like we write , that is having class sessions with clear introductions and conclusions.  I believe that the same logic extends to the way we think about a semester-long course.  As I get ready to ...
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Black Friday: Consumerism in Historical Context
I apologize for what may be the results of a tryptophan hangover, but I'd like to turn my disgust over Black Friday into a potentially useful discussion. The blogosphere has been filled with dozens of smart, helpful discussions of the history of Thanksgivin...
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The scenes of subjection in 12 Years a Slave
The nervous chatter was loud; the silence was louder.  I had four U.S. history survey students in my car on Wednesday evening driving back to campus after watching 12 Years a Slave . Some students were animatedly discussing the film, some were wiping tears,...
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