History by the Numbers: Some Basic Quantitative Approaches to Teaching History

Friday, January 5, 2018: 1:40 PM
Washington Room 3 (Marriott Wardman Park)
Peter Burkholder, Fairleigh Dickinson University
It's a truism that students arrive to our classes with expectations about what the classes will entail. In history, one of those expectations is an emphasis on qualitative evidence and argumentation, and a corresponding absence of anything having to do with numbers. But as instructors, we often want to break students out of their expectation shells and get them to see our discipline in a new light. Such a readjustment is critical for students' ability to tie together disparate subject areas, as opposed to a tendency to view their curricula as atomized. This presentation will provide examples of how some quantitative approaches can be used in undergraduate history classes, and it will share evidence of students' experiences in such settings.