Roving Scholar workshops

Workshops for students

Stuff! American society through its cultural artifacts

We can learn so much about the beliefs and values of American culture by looking at the stuff Americans use every day.  These things can be as small as the contents of our pockets (cash or credit? Apple or Android?).  They can be as large as the buildings and landscapes we walk through.  They can even be entirely immaterial—digital files, for example.  The early days of American consumer culture can be studied using archaeological data and sources like the store account books from Stagville Plantation in North Carolina.  How similar are people today to the shoppers of the 1800s?

OOPS!  I haven’t finished this page.  In the meantime, here’s

Workshops for Teachers

Digital tools for teaching about American culture

Digital technologies make it much easier to bring primary sources into the classroom.  I have designed a number of exercises using on-line datasets to teach about American history and culture. The workshops will address two key areas: digital primary sources (such as databases of artifacts or online archives) and digital platforms (tools that provide “big data” perspectives on large collections of texts, allow multiple contributors to a shared project, or offer alternatives to standard written assignments). Links

Teaching with (material) culture

I learned during my own secondary education about the power of objects to evoke an era or a place. I propose to share a selection of the resources, tools, and techniques I use to teach about America using material culture (the things we make and use in our daily lives). The workshop includes a general discussion for thinking about the relationship between culture and material culture. I will explain the strategies I use to get students to observe carefully, consider sources critically, and reflect on the broader implications of what they have learned from their observations. Links

Pragmatism and Pedagogy

My interest in pragmatism (a major American philosophical tradition) began with linguist CS Peirce and the application of his ideas to the interpretation of artifacts. However, pragmatism also includes WEB DuBois, whose work on race anticipated the conclusions of modern anthropologists, and John Dewey, whose ideas about education underlie innovations such as project-based learning, authentic assignments, and service learning. Paolo Freire and bell hooks have taken pragmatist principles even further, framing teaching as a tool for liberation, social justice, and cultural understanding. Pragmatist ideas will form the basis for conversations about the ways that educators can create classrooms rich with meaningful experiences that help our students to develop the skills and perspectives to build a more peaceful and equitable world. Links