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Radical History Review 84 (2002) 137
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Teaching Radical History
Nurturing critical thinking and encouraging political activism in students are long-standing goals of radical teachers. The following two essays explore specific classroom approaches toward this end in university undergraduate settings. David Takacs and Gerald Shenk discuss a seminar on history, the environment, and civic action that they developed as fellows at the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and that they coteach at the California State University, Monterey Bay. Georgina Hickey and Peggy G. Hargis, who cotaught a course on social movements at Georgia Southern University, explore the challenge of urging students born in the 1980s to identify with critiques of privilege and individualism made by the generation of the 1960s. Both of these courses employ history as a tool for motivating students to engage with present-day issues. Much of their success derives from their authors' collaboration across disciplinary lines: David Takacs is trained in science and technology studies and teaches in an earth systems science and policy program; Gerald Shenk is a historian teaching in the social and behavioral sciences. Similarly, Georgina Hickey is a historian and Peggy Hargis a sociologist. While the student bodies served by these two teams of teachers are distinct in class, racial, and regional composition, both courses share the goal of getting students to question their assumptions and see the relevance of the past to participating in the politics of today.
Heidi Tinsman is assistant professor of Latin American history at the University of California, Irvine. She has written widely on contemporary Chile.