Teaching the History of Money
Stephen Mihm, University of Georgia
Rebecca L. Spang, Indiana University Bloomington
Carl Wennerlind, Barnard College, Columbia University
Money is everything. Money is the bottom line. Money makes the world go around. And so, at a time when many History Departments are experiencing falling enrollments, offering “The History of Money” can seem one way to address students’ desire for courses with “practical” and “real world” content. The panelists, all of whom have taught this subject, agree that teaching such courses presents real challenges and offers distinctive rewards. Drawing on their own classroom experiences, they will outline some of these challenges and present responses to them. While Wennerlind focuses on textual class materials, Fitz-Gibbon considers how studying the history of money can also encourage students to think actively and critically about material culture and museum conservation. Mihm shows that the history of money can be linked to other topics currently engaging large numbers of students, while Spang observes that it is “history” as much as it is “money” that makes this course especially challenging to teach.
This workshop session is intended to engage both colleagues and students who already teach related subjects (history of capitalism and/or political economy, economic history, global history) and those interested in developing their own courses from scratch. Panelists will share syllabi and other materials and ample time will be left for audience participation.