All posts by John

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The semester is ending…

It’s that time of year on college campuses, when we are all feeling the crunch. You may have noticed that our content has slowed down on the site a little recently. Well, it’s a mixture of being buried under grading and generally being ready for this to be over. There. I said it. I am ...

North Korea: How Did We Get Here?

Last week, I visited DePaul University to participate in a panel sponsored by the DePaul History Department, “North Korea: How Did We Get Here?” This panel is part of a series of teach-ins the History Department has organized this semester to reach out to members of the DePaul community. I used to work at DePaul, ...

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Centre Trail Podcast 8: Homecoming!

We hand things over pretty quickly to some alumni from our program! We recently had homecoming at Centre and at a History program coffee get-together we had some lovely conversations with people roaming the earth with Centre College degrees in History. We wish we could have recorded everyone, but we do have great chats here ...

American Baseball and the World Series

We’re all sports all the time on Centre Trail this week! The Houston Astros won a dramatic game two of the World Series last night, and it looks like we have a real series here to determine the baseball champions of the world. Wait, why do we have two American teams play every year for ...

What’s in a word? Minzu and the Chinese Nation

This semester I’m teaching an upper division class in Modern Chinese History, “Chairman Mao’s China.” The title is of course somewhat reductive, but it gives me a chance on the first day to talk about what I hope the class will do. We are not going through Mao Zedong’s biography nor do we ascribe all ...

80 Days and Breathing Room in the Classroom

In the most recent Centre Trail podcast episode, I talk a little about my decision to use 80 Days, a video game based on Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, as a reading (or “reading”, if you prefer) for my world history survey course. Specifically, I talked about how I used the game ...

Centre Trail Podcast 7: Columbus Day and Marching Season

John and Tara got together before Fall Break and all the wild times that entails (eh…. grading, actually) to talk about Columbus Day and Northern Ireland’s Marching Season. What kind of factors motivate people to commemorate certain events or people, and why do we choose to use public space to do it?

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Centre Trail Podcast 6: Colson Whitehead visits campus, the spring beckons

John and Tara get together to talk about author Colson Whitehead’s visit to Centre’s campus this past week and why his award-winning novel The Underground Railroad is so interesting as a contribution to wider historical discussion, our preparation for the semester to come, and some historical context for discussion of the Second Amendment to the ...

The Underground Railroad and Using History in Fiction

This past Monday Centre College hosted a Pulitzer Prize winner: Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad, for which he received this year’s prize for fiction, as well as the National Book Award. We invited Colson as the college had adopted the book as our choice for the first year common reading experience, a practice ...

Past and Present: Public Monuments

Last week the Centre College History Program hosted the first of three events this autumn featuring members of our program and colleagues invited from other programs to discuss large historical questions with our students. We chose as our first topic the question of what roles public monuments play in society and how different communities have ...