Teaching History So That Cultures Are More Than Footnotes


Published: July 10, 1991

Rami Muth's eighth graders in Benicia, Calif., learn that George Washington was an American hero -- and so were Mercy Otis Warren, Sacajawea, and Absalom Jones.

If those names sound unfamiliar, that is because they are only now being taught to American schoolchildren, as part of a fast-spreading and controversial movement known as multiculturalism. The idea is to change what children learn by including the contributions, perspectives, and sufferings of diverse ethnic and racial groups.

Beowulf (Binnington 2)

Considering our recent discussion of Beowulf, I thought list members might enjoy reading a review of two of the latest translations of that classic. They are _Beowulf: A New Verse Translation_ by Seamus Heaney and _Beowulf: A New Verse Translation_ by R.M. Liuzza.  The reviewer is Frank Kermode in a piece titled "The Geat of Geats" in the July 20, 2000 edition of the _New York Review of Books_.

Walter Johnson's River of Dark Dreams

I recently completed teaching Walter Johnson's River of Dark Dreams in an advanced undergraduate course and found it worked well despite its considerable length.  Although Johnson is going over familiar ground, he offers new perspectives on the development of antebellum slavery in the Mississippi Valley.  I am interested in what others think of the book and if anyone else has used it in a course.


David Herr

St. Andrews University


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