At least, that’s how it might feel for the next few weeks… Some explanation:
Next January, for Bethel’s three-week “interim” term, I’ll be debuting a new course on the Second World War (HIS231L), designed to alternate J-terms with a long-standing class on the First World War (HIS230L) that I’ve converted into a travel course in Europe. HIS231L has been a long time in coming, mused about in full hearing of Band of Brothers-loving students almost every one of my first ten years in Arden Hills. Beyond the evident student demand for such a course, it fills an obvious hole between the WWI course and another popular one that I teach on the Cold War, and it lets me hearken back to some things I studied in graduate school.
But because I spent the summer creating and teaching a fairly ambitious new online version of Bethel’s venerable Christianity and Western Culture survey, I haven’t had any time to think ahead to January. So as soon as my grades were submitted (and with the gracious permission of my impossibly patient, bewildered, and/or bemused wife), I packed the car and set off on a three-day tour of war and veterans memorials in southern Minnesota.
Along the way I listened to Ken Burns read Geoffrey Ward’s book version of his WWII documentary, The War, and read Max Hastings’ Inferno and Thomas Saylor’s oral history of Minnesotans Remembering the Good War. It was good to get out of town and away from my computer in any event, but immersing myself in the war in this way did succeed in sparking some thoughts about how to teach it.
And before we’re too far into a new semester, I hope to share at least some of those reflections and plans here at The Pietist Schoolman. I don’t expect to blog day by day through this new course like I did with the travel version of the WWI course, but I will have a brief series on how WWII has been commemorated (akin to another WWI series of mine) and some other one-off posts.
Meanwhile, you can sample some of my earlier writing on that war:
- Chamberlain and Churchill: Empathy, Judgment, and Hindsight Bias
- Moral Histories of World War II
- This Day in History: The Worst of Sinners
- “When You Supervise a Woman”: Management Advice from WWII
- Which Modern War Has Yielded the Best Movies? (part 2)