Teaching US History in the Age of Trump: An International Perspective

AHA Session 248
Sunday, January 6, 2019: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
Continental B (Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level)
James T. Sparrow, University of Chicago
Shanon Fitzpatrick, McGill University
Sarah Miller-Davenport, University of Sheffield
Emily Remus, University of Notre Dame
Joshua Specht, Monash University

Session Abstract

Since the 2016 election, many international observers, no less than Americans themselves, have asked challenging questions about the nature of U.S. democracy, culture, and society. Often these queries are posed by students in our own classrooms—and we, as their teachers and experts in American history, are expected to have answers. Where do the politics of the present moment fit into debates about the past, and how do different national contexts shape these debates? This roundtable will bring together participants from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Europe, and the United States to address these questions. Together, we will explore how the current political situation has—or has not—changed the way we approach teaching US history. We will consider what new areas for inquiry have been opened by the election and how to make connections between right wing populism in the United States and abroad. We will also address some of the practicalities of teaching in a heightened political atmosphere. How, for example, do we manage discussion of students’ political opinions or navigate anti-American sentiment in the classroom? How can those working abroad “translate” Trump for an international audience? Ultimately, this roundtable will provide a forum to discuss the difficulties and opportunities of teaching American history in the Age of Trump.
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