Understanding and Teaching Contemporary US History since Reagan



“Quinney and Sayward’s timely text is uniquely crafted to appeal to US history secondary classrooms. Enticing and exciting topics from Reagan to Trump lead students to research primary and secondary sources. Classroom students learn that contemporary issues are vital to America’s future and critical thinking skills guide them to articulate a better tomorrow.” — Rowena McClinton, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Understanding and Teaching Contemporary US History since Reagan is designed for teachers looking for new perspectives on teaching the recent past, the period of US history often given the least attention in classrooms. Less of a traditional textbook than a pedagogical Swiss Army knife, the volume offers a diversity of voices and approaches to teaching a field that, by its very nature, invites vigorous debate and puts generational differences in stark relief. Older history is likely to feel removed from the lived experiences of both teachers and students, allowing for a certain dispassion of perspective. By contrast, contemporary history creates unique challenges, as individual teachers and students may think they know “what really happened” by virtue of their personal experiences.

The volume addresses a wide swath of topics, from social movements around identity and representation to the Supreme Court, law enforcement, migration, climate change, and international relations. Emphasizing critical thinking and primary-source analysis, it will aid teachers in creating an invigorating and democratizing classroom experience. Intended for use in both secondary and postsecondary classrooms, the book’s structure allows for a variety of applications and invites a broad audience.