by AndrewMc | 8/31/2008 12:12:00 AM
Let me start by saying that I'm curious how all of you teach progressive values to your students, without being overly political.

This is of some interest to me, because if the liberals in my department teach from what students perceive as a "liberal slant" students jump all over us. However, the military historian down the hall can rant and rave about the Clintons and the "socialist democrat party" all through a semester on Nazi Germany or World War I, and the students eat it up.

So, what do you do? Me, I try to emphasize progressive values--ideas of equality and diversity, of caring for the least in a society, and the ways in which we can see the values of a country or an empire by looking at the ways that it treats those in its society with the least access to power.

So, this week we're talking about ancient Greece. Among the many topics I'm covering are the rise of Greek democracy, the oikos, &c &c &c.

We're also going to talk gender, and gender comparisons. Within that we'll hit patriarchy, birth control, pederasty, and abortion. We''ll examine the nature of public roles for women in Athens and Greece, power imbalances, the phenomenon of the epikleros, Spartan marriage ceremonies, and differing ideas of sexuality.

I'd be curious to know how you all deal with progressive themes in your classes.

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Blogger Ahistoricality on 8/31/2008 10:12 AM:

"Reality has a liberal bias" someone said.

I really don't deal with values, except as historical forces. But the vast majority of our students think the present is pretty cool, and doing World History surveys, it's pretty obvious that we've made a lot of progress towards social opportunities they take for granted but which didn't exist five hundred years ago.

In terms of integrating things like women's history, I tell them up front that history is an accumulative process, that asking questions from multiple perspectives adds to our total store of knowledge. I treat it as a fairly matter-of-fact thing, rather than something I make a big deal of, and there's plenty of the traditional politics-economics-religion-trade stuff, too.