History Department Introduces New Lecture Series

Thursday night marked the second evening in a new lecture series designed this year for U.S. History students. History department faculty member Heidi Woodworth presented a talk entitled, "Written Into the Bond: Political Roots of the Nation and American Slavery" about the legacy of slavery in U.S. history and its reverberations in society and culture today.

The idea for the new series came about over the summer when Woodworth, along with History Department Chair Kevan Bowler and fellow history teacher John West, met to reimagine the U.S. History curriculum.

With so much material to cover in U.S. History, including mechanics like writing and presenting, there just didn't seem to be enough time to fully explore all the relevant topics that our history faculty are so passionate about.

"We thought a lecture series could be a great way to share the various interests and expertise that the teachers in our department have," said Bowler. He is also hopeful that the new teaching format will promote team teaching and additional opportunities for collaboration across disciplines.

The lecture format--where all sections of U.S. History gather in Crawford Family Lecture Hall to hear from one teacher, not necessarily a student's own -- is a new one for the department, but Woodworth sees it as preparing students for what lies ahead. "The lecture series is an attempt to expose students to the passions of many of our teachers in a college-style format that most will run into after Berkshire," she said.

Jason Gappa kicked off the series by tapping into his AP Government background with a talk covering the history of the Constitution and its role in society today. The series will continue in the second semester with talks led by West, Bill Bullock, and Sandy Perot.

Bowler sees the series as evolving into a signature event that all U.S. History students will experience together, one of the many rites of passage our students undergo on their way to the commencement stage.