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Category: Liberal Arts

Betsy DeVos Needs to go to School

Betsy DeVos Needs to go to School

What a dark and frightening world it is that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos sees awaiting the young people attending the nation’s colleges and universities. “The faculty,” DeVos warned an audience some time back at the Conservative Political Action Conference, “from adjunct professors to deans, tell you want to do, what to say, and more ominously, what to think.” Oh, Secretary DeVos, you have it all so wrong. I have attended colleges and universities, public and private, as a student…

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The Case for Civic Engagement

The Case for Civic Engagement

I published an opinion piece in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle today, “The Case for Civic Education.”  I argued that one possible explanation as to why so many of Donald Trump’s supporters have accepted his trampling upon the Constitution is because too many Americans are unfamiliar with the country’s basic institutions, its history, and what the Constitution says. I believe strongly that historians, and other academics, should engage the public.  We should write in defense of our disciplines.  We should…

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Whither History and the Liberal Arts: A Note to Students

Whither History and the Liberal Arts: A Note to Students

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently stated that “the future” involves “making the marriage between academics and economics.”  Of course there is some truth to this.  Cuomo has been promoting his new plan to make SUNY tuition-free to New Yorkers from families with an income less than $125,000 per year.  The plan is to be applauded, but it has been promoted largely as a way to create jobs and to spur on economic growth in New York State.  The value…

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Grief and History

Grief and History

When I teach Native American history, I frequently find myself describing the consequences of the policies and events we cover for children.  Boarding schools, for instance, but also the many times when children die—when children were killed.  I include these harrowing stories not to shock complacent students, but to try to get the kids in the class to understand more deeply the consequences of the policies, decisions, and events they have read about upon the most vulnerable people in a…

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Earn Big Money. Become a Historian

Earn Big Money. Become a Historian

Many students are getting advice that they ought to major in something useful, or practical, and that history and the other liberal arts are luxuries that really add little of value.  Fortunately, the historical profession has begun to push back against this sort of nonsense, as in this nice essay by Jacob Anbinder.

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