I am really excited to share Defending History: The Graduates’ Manifesto with the world. This small book emerged over the course of my graduate historiography seminar. The student authors, Peter Baganz, Yonca Çubuk, Nicholas Graves, Joseph Kalka, Matthew G. Marsh, Janet Wolf Strand, and Susanne Watt wrote, edited and compiled this little book in response to learning that our graduate program had been defunded and the current cohort of graduate students would be the last for at least a little while.
The book contains a series of essays that explore the intersection of the budget cuts at the University of North Dakota, the character of higher education in the 21st century, and the role of humanities and history, in particular, in the past and future of American life. The essays are sharp, critical, and do not shy away from controversy or provocation.
The work benefited from a round of public comments that served as a kind of peer review. You can see the comments here.
The work concludes with a sweeping call to action that embodies the arguments throughout the book:
- Apply historical thinking to higher education policy decisions.
- Recognize the relationship between higher education and community building.
- Understand that the historical success of the American university as a means of promoting prosperity is not necessarily linked to job creation.