Response Paper: History and Society

In Why Study History? John Fea contends that “one small way of cultivating the virtues necessary for a thriving democracy is through the study of history” (p. 117). After reading ch. 6 in Fea’s text and listening to Prof. Rivera’s talk on “History for a Multi-Cultural Society,” write a 300-word response paper by noon on Wednesday 4/5, in response to the following broad question:

Do you agree with Fea’s assessment of the role that history and historians have to play in American society? Why or why not?

You should engage with an idea or two from Fea’s chapter, but also incorporate some reflection on (a) Prof. Rivera’s talk and (b) your own experience/perceptions of American politics and society. Some further questions to consider: Do you agree with Fea’s diagnosis of the problems of American democracy? In light of what you heard from Prof. Rivera, do you agree with Fea’s emphasis on history cultivating certain virtues — or his chapter-ending critique of progressive activism detached from historical study?

We’ll continue this conversation via blog comments and then at the beginning of class on Friday.

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