Teaching and Learning History

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  • 1.  Research in the Classroom

    Posted 07-15-2013 04:42:00 PM

    Since 2000, I have used my research on drug trafficking in my classes.  I did not know that with the 2006 presidential election, Mexican President Felipe Calderón would escalate the drug war triggering waves of violence in Mexico and Central America.  That war has been sensationally covered in the press, movies, telenovelas, literature, and music.   The media and popular exposure has both positive and negative consequences in the classroom. On one hand, it has given coverage to the century old problems of organized crime, violence, and crime that has long been an outcome of U.S. drug demand and global supply. On the other hand, the coverage is cast in a dichotomous fashion using a good v. evil narrative ploys that pay little or no attention to historical contingency, complexity, continuity, and/or change.  Thus, how do we, as historians employ our research in the classroom to address contemporary questions or shed light on current events?  What methods do we use?  How do we guide students in their research projects and coursework to think critically about the past and the present? 

    Elaine Carey
    St. John's Univ., NY
    Queens NY