What Is the Future of the Introductory Course in History?

AHA Session 205
Sunday, January 5, 2020: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Sutton South (New York Hilton, Second Floor)
Kenneth Pomeranz, University of Chicago
Isis Artze Vega, Valencia College
Laura McEnaney, Whittier College
Eric W. Platt, St. Francis College
Tomiko Meeks, Texas Southern University

Session Abstract

Content versus skills. Survey versus introduction. Coverage versus uncoverage. The debates over what students should learn in an introductory course to history are long and varied. Do these courses draw students into the further study of history? Do they promote equity and access in the study of history or do they turn students away from the pursuit of higher ed? Are they a burden to faculty or a fundamental expression of disciplinary practice? Of perennial concern to postsecondary teachers of history, who teach them year after year, the design and purpose of introductory courses in history also have implications for departments, as introductory courses are often linked to larger questions of enrollments, majors, and the role of history in general education requirements.

Based on the rationale for the AHA’s History Gateways initiative, this panel will draw on experts and experienced teachers from a range of institutions and perspectives, exploring how the introductory course in history might be reimagined to better serve students from all backgrounds and align more effectively with the future needs of a complex society.

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