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And another thing

29 April, 2007

And Another Thing

It’s book order time. That time of year when some of us say, “Oh bollocks! How am I supposed to know what I’m using for my new preps?” I’ve ordered for the surveys and one of my UD classes (which class I’ve never taken, let alone taught — thank goodness I took a grad seminar with the dread early modern economic historian, or I’d have no idea where to even start!). The other UD class is in Ancient Greece and Rome. It’s filled already. Had I known, I’d have done single-semester classes, but I had no idea how popular it would be. Anyhow, now I have to find books. I am not seeing anything, textbook-wise, that I really like. I’m seriously considering putting some general histories on reserve and just teaching primary sources and articles. What do you think? The students I’ve mentioned this to all love the idea, but I think they’re mostly just into saving money.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. 30 April, 2007 12:51 pm

    I’m not in your field but I find generally that they like at least one “reference” textbook that you can point them to in case they have trouble understanding everything in class. However, with the popularity of the class, it appears you have more leeway to do it whatever way you see best. 🙂

  2. 30 April, 2007 4:13 pm

    I’ll definitely have textbooks on reserve, and will ask them to do some textbook reading/skimming. It’s just that I’m trying to really come up with a new set of standards and approaches that will prepare the students for the senior thesis. Also, for Ancient and Medieval, there is a lot more emphasis, I think, on being aware of the primary sources.

  3. 1 May, 2007 12:57 pm

    What aspects or era for the early modern? I heartily recommend Merry Wiesner-Hanks’ “Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789” as the best on offer. It’s more thematically organized in the chapters, though. If they need a conventional, chronological narrative, there’s always Koenigsberger’s hoary old survey, though I would go with Konnert’s “Early Modern Europe: The Age of Religious War, 1559-1715” instead (and just supplement as needed to fill out the timeline).

  4. 1 May, 2007 1:30 pm

    I had to re-read that — and will save the recs, thanks! But no, the course itself is the one that LDW taught for the first time in his 30-odd years of teaching, and I’m going to be using the book you recommended to him on the workblog. The Early Modern reference is only that in grad school, the only seminar I really came close to getting less than a B in was the one taught by the dread economic historian, who was an EM person. Having somehow missed taking the relevant course at Beachy U, and never really having to deal with it in Ancient and Medieval, I didn’t get that I wasn’t supposed to be writing about what happened, but about what people said about why it happened, if that makes sense.

  5. 1 May, 2007 6:35 pm

    A story with a happy ending.I called Penguin about a book of theirs that I’ve used before, remembering that they just barely had enough copies to fill my order two years ago. I have been left in the lurch too many times not to check.The person on the other end of the line admitted that there weren’t any copies in Canada and not likely any elsewhere. But she’d check.She checked with Britain and — they are reprinting! Smart move, but how often are publishers smart?

  6. 1 May, 2007 10:31 pm

    You don’t really want an answer to that, do you? 🙂

  7. 2 May, 2007 2:37 pm

    We incorporate primary sources throughout in modern US history – especially with all the online sources. In other words, it’s not that I was advocating relying primarily on a regular text. I just find that if a text is not part of the required reading, they don’t go utilize the reserve books. Hopefully your experience is better.

  8. 2 May, 2007 5:17 pm

    That’s my fear, but OTOH, books are so expensive…

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