C-Span’s “History College”

Posted on December 1, 2010 by

Now that the Obama-era transformation fantasy is obsolete, how do we keep busy?

We can talk about the federal pay freeze, the Russian nuclear treaty, the deficit commission, those Bush tax cuts, the Korean crisis, wikileaks and don’t ask, don’t tell?

But does anybody really want to hear another depressed democrat complaining about the president?

Though much less urgent and consequential than the defining issues of the day, a new feature on C-Span’s “American History TV” has caught my eye:

Unfiltered and unedited lectures by high-ranking American History professors at various colleges.

What’s distinctive and especially appealing about this series is that the scholars are not talking to each other at a history conference but to eager young undergraduates who take notes, raise their hands and try to impress their instructors with an answer worthy of C-Span coverage.

For C-Span geeks – you know who you are – taking a seat in the classroom for an hour-long discussion on the election of 1860 [click here for preview] or the American South in the 1920s [click here for preview] can be very engaging.  (If you carrier denies you C-Span 3, you can always peak through that tiny box on cspan.org).

C-Span’s “History College” may be a bit quaint (“infotainment” it’s not).  And it helps if you like history books – I’ll admit to that – and do not reject all conventional interpretations.  Though some of the scholars will tilt left and underscore our nation’s legacy of brutality, inhumanity and hypocrisy, this series will not be The Peoples History of the United States.

But I’ll take it.

Because as liberals stumble and the tea party ascends, looking back not only offers comfort to the afflicted, it may provide some valuable hints about what’s ahead.

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