“I Don’t Want to be a Historian! I Just Want to be a History Teacher!” A West Texas Historical Methods Odyssey

  • Byron E. Pearson West Texas A&M University
  • Bruce C. Brasington West Texs A&M University
  • Timothy P. Bowman West Texas A&M UNiversity
Keywords: Methods, Historical Writing, Historigraphy, Chicago Style Citations, Historical Analysis, Course Sequence, Assessment

Abstract

Undergraduate history majors are often overwhelmed by the discipline’s research and writing expectations. Most history departments require only one or perhaps two courses in historical methods. In response to the alarming erosion of student writing and critical thinking skills brought about by years of standardized tests, the history faculty at West Texas A&M University has created a three-course historical methods sequence to teach students the research, writing, and interpretive skills they need to succeed. In this article, three WTAMU history professors discuss how these courses and their own teaching philosophies have evolved over two decades of teaching history in an increasingly ahistorical world.

Author Biographies

Byron E. Pearson, West Texas A&M University

Byron E. Pearson, PhD (Arizona 1998), JD (USD 1988), professor of history, has taught environmental history at West Texas A&M University since 2000. His first book, Still the Wild River Runs, was published by the University of Arizona press in 2002, and the University of Nevada Press will publish his second, Saving Grand Canyon, in 2019. He served as department head from 2008 to 2013 and was recognized as WTAMU’s Magister Optimus in 2010.

Bruce C. Brasington, West Texs A&M University

Bruce C. Brasington, PhD (UCLA 1990), professor of history, has taught thirteenth century legal history at West Texas A&M University since 1990. He has published both articles and books, most recently Order in the Court. Medieval Procedural Treatises in Translation (Brill 2016). He was named Regents’ Professor of the Texas A&M System in 2011.

Timothy P. Bowman, West Texas A&M UNiversity

Tim Bowman, PhD (SMU 2011), associate professor of history, has taught Borderlands History at West Texas A&M University since 2012. Bowman's book, Blood Oranges: Agriculture and Colonialism in the South Texas Borderlands, Texas A&M University Press, 2016, received the Américo Paredes Book Award for 2017 from the Center for Mexican American Studies.

Published
2019-03-27
Section
Articles