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Dr. Stearns  // Posts published by Dr. Stearns

Amazon

Amazon

Just a quick note on the heralded Amazon arrival in Northern Virginia. As a humanist I have to hope that any company that picked that name can’t be totally bad news for liberal education – think mythology or geography or both. But there is a broader and more serious response that warrants discussion, and I […]

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A Real Path Forward for AP World History

A Real Path Forward for AP World History

After a recent period of deep concern, there’s some (pretty) good news for those involved with AP World History: a real chance for constructive compromise Is emerging. Over the weekend, I had written a blog designed to join many others in expressing disapproval of the proposed change in the chronology of the AP course, cutting […]

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Conference on Emotions History: some thoughts about the field

Conference on Emotions History: some thoughts about the field

We have just emerged from a conference on the history of emotions at George Mason University that Susan Matt and I organized and that drew participation from about 70 people. It was, to our knowledge, the first extensive conference on the subject in North America, though participants came not only from Canada and the US […]

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We Need No More War

We Need No More War

This little essay is partly a statement of deeply felt personal opinion, for whatever it’s worth, and partly an appeal, for those similarly disposed, for a discussion of possible action. It’s an invitation to create an urgent collective voice for peace. The recent appointments of a new secretary of state and a new national security […]

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Another Take on History Learning

Another Take on History Learning

I’ve been teaching an honors course on the history of emotion for a few years now, and have always enjoyed both the course and the students – despite or because of the fact that few if any intend to be history majors. The year the course has been particularly lively, and it – along with […]

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Why (Older Folks) Study History?

Why (Older Folks) Study History?

As part of a project aimed at discussing what (if anything) studying history does for wellbeing, I thought it would be relevant to ask a group of people actively engaged in a learning in retirement program (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, linked to George Mason University) what they thought. I have some experience asking, and thinking […]

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A Little Global Review?

A Little Global Review?

One of the advantages of no longer being Provost, but retaining interest in some of the issues that attracted me before, is that there is an opportunity for additional thinking and reflection. This can be slightly embarrassing, when one realizes that some of the thoughts should have been thought before, when there was more chance […]

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The Nuclear Analogy

The Nuclear Analogy

I have been intrigued, recently, by how often the media (particularly, the print media, who still enjoy the time to think) are turning to history to find some guidelines amid current uncertainties. It’s great to be reminded of how essential the discipline is, and I hope anti-humanists will take note. Thus we are told about […]

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Bridging between Expression and Dignity

Bridging between Expression and Dignity

The last few months have seen some unnecessary, and certainly undesirable, tensions emerge between passionate advocates of greater dignity for minorities of various sorts, and partisans of free speech. The issues have roiled a number of campuses and have provided yet another set of targets for critics of higher education. It’s time to step back, […]

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The Challenge of Terror

The Challenge of Terror

In the aftermath of recent attacks, including those in Beirut, in Paris, and apparently against a Russian airliner, and with deep respect to those who have suffered in result, a few thoughts. It is really important to remember several things about terrorism, recently and historically. Terrorists are not able to use conventional military strength OR […]

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