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Teaching History with Primary Sources Courtney J. Campbell Department of History

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Presentation on theme: "Teaching History with Primary Sources Courtney J. Campbell Department of History"— Presentation transcript:

1 Teaching History with Primary Sources Courtney J. Campbell Department of History

2 Definitions What is a primary source? What is a secondary source?

3 Definitions “Primary sources are original materials. They are from the time period involved and have not been filtered through interpretation or evaluation. Primary sources are original materials on which other research is based. They are usually the first formal appearance of results in physical, print or electronic format. They present original thinking, report a discovery, or share new information.”

4 Definitions “Secondary sources are less easily defined than primary sources. Generally, they are accounts written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. They are interpretations and evaluations of primary sources. Secondary sources are not evidence, but rather commentary on and discussion of evidence. However, what some define as a secondary source, others define as a tertiary source. Context is everything.” Source: sources.html

5 Examples? Primary SourceSecondary Source

6 Game time! Primary vs. Secondary Sources: Rags to Riches:

7 What are benefits & challenges of using primary sources in your classes? BenefitsChallenges

8 Ways to Use Primary Sources

9 Historical Thinking “We contort the past to fit the predetermined meanings we have already assigned it.” Sam Wineburg “The past should not be comfortable.” Richard White Wineburg sees the tension between the familiarity of the past and the strangeness of the past as the space for historical thinking.

10 The Big Benefit “Historical thinking... in particular the disposition to think about the past by recognizing the inadequacy of one’s own conceptual apparatus, is essential in teaching people how to understand others different from themselves. If we never recognize that our individual experience is limited, what hope is there of understanding people whose logic defies our own, whose choices and beliefs appear inscrutable when judged against our own standards?” Source: Sam Wineburg, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past (Philadelphia: Temple University, 2001), page 110.

11 Interrogating the Sources


13 Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies (ESSSS) Please send us your lesson plans, suggestions, links, games, suggestions for other teachers! Consider translating a document or page!

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