Teaching Methods

Teaching, I feel, is communicating with students.  A history teacher must first communicate to students the relevance of history.  With the collapse of a patriotic rationale for history and the growing diversity of historical studies, many students do not really see a reason to study history.  Their initial reactions to history seem to include anticipation of a boring litany of facts and dates, assumptions that historical writing is one-dimensional and unbiased, and feelings that history has little relevance in a fast-changing computer age.  Yet, I see historical knowledge as indispensable in a world more fundamentally interconnected than ever before.  I strive to reassert the importance of history in my courses and to challenge my students to approach the past with an open mind.


Presentations at Educational Conferences and Teaching Workshops

“Portraying War in Film: Historical Films and Interpretation,” Newberry Teachers’ Consortium, Newberry Library, Chicago, October 2011

“New Wars of Religion? Interpreting the European Wars of Religion in an Age of Religious Violence,” Devotion, Discipline, Reform: Sources for the Study of Religion, 1450-1650, Newberry Library, Chicago, September 2011

“Reformers, Heretics, and Soldiers: European Wars of Religion, 1520s-1660s” at Newberry Teachers’ Consortium, Newberry Library, Chicago, March 2011

“The Next Step: Getting Your Paper Published,” Round Table, NIU History Graduate Association Conference, Northern Illinois University, April 2009

“Galileo and the Medicean Stars: Early Modern Patronage and the Production of ‘Scientific’ Knowledge,” at New Ideas in Science and History: Galileo Conference, Northern Illinois University, February 2009

“Theoretical and Historical Considerations on Contemporary Religious Violence in Iraq,” at New Ideas in History: Conflict, Violence, and the Road Back to Peace, Northern Illinois University, October 2008

“Historical Perspectives on Religious Violence in Iraq,” in NIU Notables “Brown Bag” Lecture Series, Lifelong Learning Institute, Northern Illinois University, April 2008

“Women and Gender in the French Wars of Religion, 1562-1629” at Lifelong Learning Institute, Northern Illinois University, October 2007

“Historical Perspectives on 11 September,” in a Teach-In at Millikin University concerning the Attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, September 2001

“Violence and Conflict in the Early Modern World,” at World 2000 Conference on Teaching World History and Geography, Austin, February 2000

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