Wednesday, September 10, 2014

On Teaching a brand new course: Charity and Memory, 1066-1935

     Well, dear readers, I have neglected this blog for a whole year.  But now I'm back, with a new reason to blog on a regular basis: a brand new class at U.W. Oshkosh, indeed a whole new kind of class.  It's part of UWO's new general education requirements, requirements that are markedly different from those of the University of Pécs, as I discussed here and here.  It's called "Charity and Memory, 1066-1935," and it is the first class I have ever taught on the history of welfare, which is my research expertise.  It's also the second-ever class I have team-taught.  Unlike the first class I team-taught, I don't do much at all for the first half of the semester.  It's like I'm back in class again, while my team-mate, Dr. Kim Rivers, leads the class into Medieval England.  I'm excited to be a student again.
     The reason Dr. Rivers and I could teach this class, which touches on both our research expertises, is that UWO's new gen ed program requires students to do one class that integrates community service or, as the faculty call it: "community experience."  Dr. Rivers and I both thought that asking students to do some of the charitable work that used to be done by monasteries in her period and poorhouses in my period would be a natural fit.  Let's talk about charity and poor relief in the past, while doing charity and poor relief in the present!  It makes sense, does it not?
     Over the next fourteen weeks, our students and Dr. Rivers and I will all be blogging about our experiences and our thoughts on them.  I will occasionally link my blog to some others that are talking about the same things.  Until then, I leave you dear readers with a really cool image that graces the front page of our syllabus: The Seven Work of Mercy (1504), by the unnamed "Master of Alkmaar."

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