Comments on: American slavery in the elementary school classroom http://www.historiann.com/2011/04/10/american-slavery-in-the-elementary-school-classroom/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Tue, 30 Sep 2014 03:56:21 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Teaching Slavery to Elementary Schoolers. « History and America's Schools http://www.historiann.com/2011/04/10/american-slavery-in-the-elementary-school-classroom/comment-page-1/#comment-814194 Wed, 13 Apr 2011 00:33:23 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=14820#comment-814194 [...] on teaching the Holocaust to young children, I thought I would direct readers to an similar post by Historiann about how American schools handle slavery. Lots of thought-provoking questions (and interesting [...]

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2011/04/10/american-slavery-in-the-elementary-school-classroom/comment-page-1/#comment-814016 Tue, 12 Apr 2011 14:55:14 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=14820#comment-814016 I see what you’re saying, -k-. I think what you’re seeing is also the optimism of youth and–if you teach at an overwhelming white uni–the Whiggish tendencies of white privilege.

Most white people don’t think racism is a problem for them, ergo they think it’s not a problem for anyone.

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By: -k- http://www.historiann.com/2011/04/10/american-slavery-in-the-elementary-school-classroom/comment-page-1/#comment-813979 Tue, 12 Apr 2011 11:48:35 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=14820#comment-813979 “To the contrary, I think it shocked the students to see what an insignificant amount of time has passed since the Civil Rights movement relative to the rest of American history. The discussion we had was all about slavery times, anyway.”

Sure– the post-’64 discussion wasn’t really what you were there to talk about. My comment mostly had to do with the way that/this time period gets treated in the broader school discourse that set the context for your talk. It’s shocking how hard one has to work to get (fancy public R1) undergrads to honestly consider that Everything Is Not Alright; maybe more of what you’re doing earlier on would help. The timeline’s powerful stuff. (Still, I say, the ‘ending’ matters.)

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By: Tenured Radical http://www.historiann.com/2011/04/10/american-slavery-in-the-elementary-school-classroom/comment-page-1/#comment-813843 Tue, 12 Apr 2011 02:20:27 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=14820#comment-813843 Dear Mrs. Historiann, Today our teacher Dr. Radikal tought us Kathryn Harrison’s The Kiss, and we lerned insest is bad excep when girls make bad decisions and deserve it. (illustrated with smiling, white girl holding hands with her smiling father.)

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2011/04/10/american-slavery-in-the-elementary-school-classroom/comment-page-1/#comment-813797 Tue, 12 Apr 2011 00:12:24 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=14820#comment-813797 NE Nat–I think you’re right that region has something to do with it, but I seriously question how anyone can say that about any region of the war. Maybe they were counting only combat deaths as a result of war wounds? Because I can’t think of anything much bloodier or more devastating than the men who perished of smallpox outside of Quebec in 1775-76 or at Gwinn’s Island in Virginia. Anyone who knows anything about the history of medicine knows that until WWII, more soldiers died worldwide of camp fevers and infectious diseases than of combat wounds. And that’s just the soldiers–what of the civilian casualties, intentional or not?

Clearly, only some deaths count, only some are heroic or worthy of remembrance. The others–well, sucks for them that we don’t want to remember the *majority* of deaths in the Revolution.

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By: New England Nat http://www.historiann.com/2011/04/10/american-slavery-in-the-elementary-school-classroom/comment-page-1/#comment-813796 Tue, 12 Apr 2011 00:06:03 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=14820#comment-813796 I should add, that when we asked the professor who was an 18th American history specialist for the Canadian point of view he thought this was novel and a strange quark of our group dynamics.

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By: New England Nat http://www.historiann.com/2011/04/10/american-slavery-in-the-elementary-school-classroom/comment-page-1/#comment-813795 Tue, 12 Apr 2011 00:03:23 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=14820#comment-813795 Canuck Down South,

The same class (which was for the record a history of american legal theory class) that I had that reaction against the “relatively bloodless” happy American Revolution narrative the class started to actively ask for the Canadian point of view. In part this was because the American histrography seems to use “British North America” for “pre-Revolution US” with some obvious erronious assertions as a result.

But my partner is a Canadian and my favorite thing to do is to bring her to American historical sites and tell the tour guide that her great great grandfather burned down the White House. Not a joke, her grandfather specifically. Washington was burned by Canadians is something we’ve lost too, along with the burning of York by Americans during the War of 1812.

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By: New England Nat http://www.historiann.com/2011/04/10/american-slavery-in-the-elementary-school-classroom/comment-page-1/#comment-813792 Mon, 11 Apr 2011 23:55:29 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=14820#comment-813792 Historiann, really interesting questions to think about and I’m still pondering most of them but I had to comment on your American Revolution question. I’m a graduate student and a few semesters back was reading a paper by someone whose name escapes me but was respected in the field who described the American revolution as “relatively bloodless.” I was shocked that none of my compatriots found this representation as off base as I did. My professor pointed out that this was likely because this was a classroom in the north east and I was from the Carolinas so my perception of the war is that it was ugly, bloody, and full of vengence and reprisals.

While I accept that that was the reason for my reaction, I’m a little disturbed that a room full of history graduate students had never heard of the American Revolution as ugly civil war narrative.

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By: Janice http://www.historiann.com/2011/04/10/american-slavery-in-the-elementary-school-classroom/comment-page-1/#comment-813764 Mon, 11 Apr 2011 21:19:05 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=14820#comment-813764 I visited a fourth grade classroom a few years back as part of their medieval history coursework. I think the teacher was a bit overly optimistic in how much of the introductory background they’d mastered by the time I came. When I asked them to give me an example of someone from or something that happened in the Middle Ages, I was bombarded with “World War II!” “Queen Victoria!”

Needless to say, my plan to lead them through a workshop on the Crusades scaled suddenly back and we spent the hour talking about social ranks & lifestyle of the Middle Ages. Learning the words “serf” and “peasant” and some of the concepts of manorial life was a much better outcome.

About 1/5 to 1/4 of our majors are in the concurrent B.Ed., taking an additional one year to get their teacher’s degree. A fair chunk more will follow up with the separate one-year B.Ed. program. So, we teach a LOT of teachers.

I think it’s important to keep in mind that they learn not just content, but ideas of how to educate in our classrooms. Creating projects that can be adapted to the K-12 classrooms, encouraging them to think about how they address important historical issues? These are all ways we can enrich their experience as students and beyond.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2011/04/10/american-slavery-in-the-elementary-school-classroom/comment-page-1/#comment-813752 Mon, 11 Apr 2011 20:39:29 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=14820#comment-813752 Benedict Arnold = Revolutionary flip-flopper.

Benedict Anderson = the “imagined communities” guy.

In response to your big question, Canuck Down South, I haven’t looked at Canadian views of the AmRev., but I will the next time I teach Eighteenth Century America. It’s really appalling after 3 years of reading/teaching comparative/transnational colonial histories to return to the Revolution historiography and see how jingoistic it all is. Even the New Left historians don’t question the righteousness or correctness of the Whig perspective–they just argue that it was unfinished or incomplete when it came to universal sufferage/emancipation/women’s rights, etc.

Just as there’s a strong (and pretty much uncontested) argument to be made that African Americans were completely rational and sensible in their loyalism, I wonder if there’s a longue duree argument to be made w/r/t women’s interests, too. As I look longingly at the universal health care that Canadians and Britons enjoy, it strikes me that it’s a pretty easy feminist argument to make that 20th C American women would have likely been better off with a Canadian-style 1867 Confederation-like separation. All too often, U.S. style “individualism” is really all about the traditional privileges of white manhood (gun ownership, the fetishization of the so-called “free market,” federalism, etc.)

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