Roundtable Whither the Future of the History Textbook

AHA Session 232
Sunday, January 8, 2012: 11:00 AM-1:00 PM
Chicago Ballroom VI (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)
Timothy Thurber, Virginia Commonwealth University
Daniel J. Czitrom, Mount Holyoke College
William Lombardo, Bedford/St. Martin's
Janice L. Reiff, University of California, Los Angeles
Ann West, Wadsworth/Cengage Learning

Session Abstract

This session will bring together representatives from publishers as well as textbook authors to explore what role the textbook will play in future college courses. Numerous scholars of historical learning have argued that presentation of large bodies of facts risk sacrificing depth for breadth. Similarly, many have called for a model of historical learning that brings to the fore the ways in which history is a question-driven discipline marked by debate and ambiguity. In this view, historical thinking skills, and not simply facts, must be at the core of history courses. Can textbooks facilitate this type of learning? If so, how? Moreover, can textbooks adequately reflect how historical scholarship has expanded over the past two generations to include a much wider and richer array of topics and approaches? Finally, there is the question of technology. Does the textbook have a future in the digital age?

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