This past week I traveled to two parts of the US empire. People, American citizens especially, still resist and wrestle with this concept. High school history courses, promoting the narrative that the US flirted with imperialism during the Spanish-American War but then quickly abandoned the idea,
don’t help. I find it amazing that this narrative persists as the dominant one despite the scholarship that has discredited the national myth. For me, the first book that really drove the idea of American empire home was Niall Ferguson’s 2004 Colossus. Ferguson points out “Many Americans doubtless play Age of Empires…But remarkably few Americans -or, for that matter American soldiers – would be willing to admit that their government is currently playing the game for real. This book argues not merely that the United States is an empire, but that it has always been an empire.”
Six years later, the 2010, 500 page plus tour de force Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference by Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, compares the development of two mighty land based empires the USA and Russia. In essence, anything beyond the boundaries set by the treaty of Paris in 1783, were imperialistic gains via war, treaty, and treasure. “Within the extension of continental empire to the west, the Euro-American “pioneers” marched along the road to full political participation and statehood; Indians were on a path to the reservation…” Native Americans are the conquered peoples of the overland American Empire (Seattle, Washington included). The US Virgin Islands, bought from the Danes in 1917 were part of the overseas island empires (Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Samoa, Guam etc) and are classified by the UN as a Non-Self-Governing Territory, and are currently an organized, unincorporated United States territory. But if you go to the US VI, you realize that trading deeds and making inhabitants citizens (of sorts) doesn’t erode a culture of difference. The resort staff is almost entirely black. And as I talked to a white immigrant from Ohio on the island, she recognized that she had moved to the US imperial hinterland and lived “where the white people do” on the island.
So, while at a conference in Seattle, former home to the Duwamish and Suquamish, and then on vacation in St. Thomas VI where resort workers uncomfortably wished me a “Happy Thanksgiving”, I reflected on these 5 items related to global, history, education, and teaching. Enjoy.
1) 3rd Annual Global Ed Conference: Wow! Another great conference. For three years Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon have co piloted a landmark event. This year’s conference was co-sponsored by iEARN. With an expanding staff, following, presenters, archive, and energy, the conference is part of the present and future of professional development. Check out the archives over the past three years, there is so much there. Time and space no longer restrict PD opportunities. My two presentations are linked below. The first as a presenter and the second as a guest panelist. Get involved!
(a) Navigating a Flat World: Teaching Globalization in Secondary Education: Recording is found here This is my 3rd presentation at GEC conferences (See my blog menu for the other two). How come the most influential concept, process, and phenomenon not explicitly taught in high school? How can we claim to have a 21st century education without it being part of school curricula?
(b) Keynote Speaker Ed Gragert: Conference Wrap Up: Recording is found here . I presented ideas about the future of professional development (PD) and how it can catch up to how we teach students – Personalized, Teacher Created Knowledge, and Technology Enhanced and Networked PD.It was a great tribute to all those who made the conference possible.
2) 93rd NCSS Conference: The theme of the 2012 conference, held in Seattle WA, was “Opening Windows to the World.” The event offered 3 days programing and presentations across the social studies educational landscape. Everyone knew, however, that the main event was the unveiling of the NCSS social studies framework. That event, however was pushed back until the next conference in St. Louis. In the interim, a panel outlined what had been done, what future work can be expected, fielded questions from the audience, and shared the Vision for the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Inquiry in Social Studies State Standards . This document “provides guidance for states to use in enhancing their standards for rigor in civics, economics, geography, and history in K-12 schools. The C3 Framework, currently under development, will ultimately focus on the disciplinary and multidisciplinary concepts and practices that make up the process of investigation, analysis, and explanation which will be informative to states interested in upgrading their social studies standards. The forthcoming framework, to be released in 2013, will be a significant resource for all states to consider in their local processes for upgrading state social studies standards, rather than set standards for states to adopt.” Take a look, start the discussion, and post your comments. For example… where does sociology, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology fit? Is civics a discipline?
3) Online Facebook Debate: Anyone can engage Harvard Historian and Department Chair David Armitage in an online Facebook debate! Sponsored by the journal Itineario, Armitage’s opening statement addresses the question “Are we all global historians now?” Part of Armitage’s response is “But in one strong sense we could say that we all have to be global historians now. By that I mean, if you are not doing . . . this formulation will get me into trouble, but let me nevertheless put it in these strong terms: if you are not doing an explicitly transnational, international or global project, you now have to explain why you are not… The hegemony of national historiography is over.” Join the conversation and comment on Facebook here. Armitage’s full interview is here.
4) Contributors Wanted: American Imperialism and Expansion: ABC-CLIO Press is publishing Imperialism and Expansionism in American
History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia, an ambitious, 880,000-word, 4-volume project that will serve as ABC-CLIOs lead American history title for 2014. Each of the 4 volumes will include an historical overview, chronology, thematically organized A-Z entries, primary sources, glossary, and bibliography. For topics pertaining to the 18th and 19th centuries, including expansion within the continental U.S.: David Bernstein:
David@davidbernstein.net. For topics pertaining to the 20th century: Chris Magoc: firstname.lastname@example.org I have signed up for three so far – “Isolationism”, “GI Joe (yes the toy)”, and “Top Gun (film)”.
5) Online Education & Best Practices: What makes an online class a successful experience for students and teachers. One answer is the same one we can yse for a F2F classroom… good teaching. Effective online educators are made not born. Regardless of the platform you use or the subject you teach, these 20+ characteristics should be core beliefs and practices for online education shared by teachers and students. Sponsored by edudemic, the list will reinforce some strategies, remind you of ones forgotten, and reveal new pedagogy to consider. My favorite is number 2 “Online should never mean easy, for teachers or students“… which is yours?