Flashback: Let Them Eat (Unbundled) Cake!

Oh, look–the “unbundling” folks are back at it, with a spate of recent articles in edtech and “edupreneur” sites dredging up the idea of finding “efficiencies” by stripping off certain components from the “process” of college/university education to make learning (which they define exclusively as degree completion, which should tell you something) more “streamlined.” Josh Kim has a good piece up today on Inside Higher Ed that pushes back against this “unbundling” fetish, rightly suggesting that it will do no more than exacerbate the divide between the privileged and everyone else. But this isn’t a new criticism of “unbundling.” We rail against Bryan Caplan’s blithe lack of self-awareness and is wrongheaded screeds “Against Education,” but let’s not forget that the disruption crowd has been riding this unbundling horse for a while. In fact, yours truly railed against this very trend three years ago, so instead of writing another rage-blog, I’ve decided to repost the original essay. The fact that it is still relevant today is a gloomy reflection on the state of higher education reformism. Continue reading “Flashback: Let Them Eat (Unbundled) Cake!”

Taking a Walk on the Civil War’s “Dark Side”

This year, I am embarking on a rather foolhardy ambitious scholarly agenda, and my central project is a textbook for the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. I know, I know…there’s a crying need for another Civil War textbook; there’s nothing at all being written on the subject, and it is incumbent on me to fill this egregious lacuna in the scholarship. Don’t worry; I’ll find sources somewhere. But in reality, I am addressing a lacuna in the scholarship of perhaps the most-published-about area of not just US History, but History in general (neck and neck with World War II). My project is a “continental history” of the era–and by era, I mean something different that the standard “two introductory chapters, ten chapters on the Civil War (with the one obligatory homefront chapter), one emancipation chapter, a Reconstruction chapter, and then DONE” model. I mean ERA–as in, “perhaps four years, no matter how important and action-packed, do not an entire era make.” So shameless plug: if you’re teaching this era and are frustrated by textbook options that are overwhelmingly battles-and-politics-centric, then look for my book in a couple years! I was similarly frustrated–that’s why I’m writing the book in the first place.

Continue reading “Taking a Walk on the Civil War’s “Dark Side””