History Is Not an Exclusive Subject

Re “A History of Flawed Teaching,” by Sam Wineburg, Commentary, Feb. 24: Having recently retired after teaching political science to undergraduates at a local college, I do have some perspective on the teaching of history.

Political science you say? Yes, political science.

Political science and history are so intertwined that, as the song says, “You can’t have one without the other.” My wife recently retired after teaching high school English. She taught Irish literature. Can that be taught without also teaching the Great Famine? Can you teach Hemingway without also teaching the Spanish Civil War? She claims, with some justification, that the English department taught more history than the history department. My point is that history is not an exclusive subject. It overlaps all subjects, even math and physics.

Boring? Only when taught out of the context in which it occurs -- politics-literature-math-physics.


David Strauss