New Directions 🗺
Hello, hello to you lovely people 👋🏻
Firstly, some news. This is the last newsletter you'll receive before September. No, I promise I'm not being bougie. Really. I'm not going to spend August lolling around the garden with an Aperol spritz. (Well, maybe once or twice🤭). I’d like to take some time to think and write, which will (hopefully) make this experience even better for you.
You see, things are changing in the best possible way.
When I first started messing around with Integrated Histories, all I wanted to do was just make things less awful. It's a bit like accidentally touching the inside of the oven when it's hot. As soon as your body realises that you've just burned it, you pull that hand back so fast that you could take gold at the Olympics. I wanted to get away from that bad history sucker as fast as I could.
I deliberately started with the 'Industrial Revolution' because it is, in my view, right in the middle of the oven. It's a solid 10 out of 10 on the scale of historical awful.
By "awful," I mean that current teaching around this topic tends to:
Push a single narrative of history.
Approach the past from the top-down, not the bottom-up.
Continue the tradition of excluding historically underrepresented people.
Tell young people what to think by misrepresenting opinion as fact.
Encourage young people to see the past in neat and tidy boxes. HAHAHAHA.
Not connect past, present and future.
Because school history is not disconnected from the wider public conception of history, all these problems also exist outside of the classroom.
I see the same issues repeated all over the place: from podcasts to history magazines to books.
What I wanted to do was change it. Because it's all well and good saying these things but if you don't present a viable alternative, you might as well stay quiet. People don't want to hear about problems; they want solutions. And who can blame them?!
Even though it's my work (and I'm a teeny bit biased towards its appreciation), the historian and ex-teacher in me see that Integrated Histories is a viable solution. It works. And I am OVERJOYED to type that 🥳 And I sincerely hope that you’ve gained a new perspective about this period in our history. Above all, I hope you see that it remains a living and breathing part of us all.
But two issues now present themselves:
Can its success be replicated in other topics? (Because that’s the true test, isn’t it?)
Let me elaborate on Point 2 😂
The world is changing, isn’t it? Lots of things are happening. And even though I prefer to spend my days in different centuries, it can’t be ignored. Ultimately, the profile of women needs to be raised in a more intentional and purposeful way. Again, this needs to happen inside and outside of the classroom.
Reading the feedback that many of you have kindly sent over the last few weeks, it’s clear that you feel this way, too. (And if you want to leave any more, you can do so here). Best of all, it’s fired me up to finally get writing courses and move to open an online school for women’s history 😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄 (I’ll have more info about that very soon!)
So, I shall see you here again on Substack in September. I’ll still be posting on LinkedIn and I’ll be at my desk if you want to say hello. But for now, I’m going back to some different times and places.
Have a wonderful summer,
For Your Summer Reading 📚
The Creation of Patriarchy by Gerda Lerner. I’ll never ever stop recommending this to you 😂
The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd
The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
Femina by Janina Ramirez
For Your Summer Scrolling 📱
No, I won’t apologise for my work
For Your Summer Listening 🎧