Most Americans view the past as something boring, irrelevant, and unchanging. While it may have been taught so in past decades, history is a much different subject today. Studying the past now, involves asking deep, profound questions that can inform the present. In my courses, we will use the past to discover questions like:
“Why was the 20th Century the deadliest in human history?”
“Has science and technology actually improved the lives of past humans?”
“Why did people in the past prefer monarchies and authoritarian governments?”
Each question that I pose is open-ended and requires deep discussion and critical thinking. These questions can also be applied to the present, and help students to question and be skeptical of their own lives. History is about using the past to help us understand how alien our current civilization is, and to step out of our own cultural bias.