Archive | March, 2012

Teaching American History: My pre-20th Century Syllabus

31 Mar

The last few weeks have been somewhat busy: marking, writing a draft chapter of the thesis, presenting said chapter at our American History Workshop here at the university (which was excellent and very useful.) So, I have miserably failed in my aim of making at least one substantive post a week. Oh well. I’m sure my two readers will be most upset.

As I’ve mentioned before when talking about my 20th century syllabus, I currently teach on the highly regarded American History 2 (AH2) course here at the University of Edinburgh.(1) Lecturing is carried out by the senior academic staff, while the majority of tutoring is carried out by postgraduates (here referred to as tutors. The equivalent in the US and other countries would be the teaching assistant.) Although there is a broad structure set out for each semester, tutors are at liberty to modify this as they see fit and according to their own particular expertise.

This can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the freedom to arrange tutorials according to your own preferences and the needs of particular classes is great. On the other hand, it involves additional work when compared to other courses (although, it must be said, this is by no means an onerous workload.)

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Confronting the Conspiratorial

1 Mar

I never imagined when I started this Ph.D that would have to confront conspiracy theory as part of the project. Just goes to show how much I know. Not that my topic area involves any of the big conspiracy theories: the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Kennedy assassination, or allegedly faked moon landings to name but three of the most widespread and popular.

The condensed version of the theory that impinges on my research goes like this: Western governments (mainly the U.S. and to a lesser extent the UK) willfully looked the other way when it came to the Pakistani nuclear programme and in some cases actively encouraged nuclear proliferation amongst states that would become (or were) enemies of those self same Western nations.

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