Professor Andrew McMichael

 

Associate Professor of History
Ph.D., Vanderbilt, 2000
Fields: Colonial/Revolutionary America, Borderlands, Atlantic World
Office: 207 Cherry Hall
Phone: 270-745-7023
E-mail: andrew[dot]mcmichael[at]wku[dot]edu
Curriculm Vita

 

Scholarly Interests

My primary scholarly interest is colonial American Atlantic World, focusing on British colonial North America and its connections with Latin America. My first monograph, Atlantic Loyalties: Americans in Spanish West Florida, 1785-1810, is out from the University of Georgia Press.
I am currently working on several projects related to the colonial Atlantic World. I have been researching and will start writing a book on the transatlantic components of the Seven Years'/French and Indian War, focusing especially on the "international-ness" of the war. The project grew out of research in Cuba on the siege and capture of Havana during that war. I am also researching an article in which I analyze slave punishment in the New World by placing it within the context of medieval punishment and torture in order to understand the context in which slave torture evolved, and then how and why brutal punishment "blackened." Finally, I am finishing a short book for Harlan Davidson, tentatively entitled 1492 and the Convergenace of Cultures, the purpose of which is to provide a short survey reader that would help students understand all of the commonalities between Europe, Africa, and the Americas that brought the three areas together at the moment of Columbus' landing in the New World.
Previous to coming to Western, I served as an assistant editor of two volumes of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Princeton University.
 
My other interests include the use of computers and history. I serve as a consultant for several history projects and have written a couple of articles on the subject and taught a course on history and the Internet. I work with the Ecclesiastical Sources in Slave Societies project, which "advanc[es] the study of slavery and the African diaspora by identifying, inventorying, and creating a digital archive of rich, underutilized, and at-risk ecclesiastical sources for Africans and persons of African descent in Brazil, Cuba, and the Spanish circum-Caribbean." Additionally I wrote a short book on teaching students how to use the Internet to do history.
 

 

Teaching Interests

My teaching following my research interests, to a large degree. At the same time, I want my personal interests to influence my teaching as well, which I believe helps keep my classes "fresh" for students. So, in Spring 2008 I taught a class called "The History and Science of Beer and Brewing" with a friend from Biology. In additon to learning about the science and history of beer, we brewed 10 gallons of beer every other week. We conduct beer tastings with small samples. The class is difficult [it's an Honors section] but the students really enjoyed it.

I believe that students should be challenged to think about history in new ways, that they should think about how history is packaged in the public space, and the ways that a knowledge of history can help them better understand their own time. If my classes don't challenge students's identity, their assumptions about the world in which they live, and their social and cultural viewpoints, then I'm not doing my job.

I lecture, but we also spend a great deal of time discussing readings, concepts, and problems. I hope to challenge students to think in new ways. As an example, in my Western Civ class we are playing two computer games—Civilization and Europa Universalis. Both are sim-type games that require the player to lead a "country" to prominence in some way. How are these games packaged? Do they reflect reality in some way? What reality are they intended to reflect, and what does the format and popularity of these games suggest about the way that history is "sold" in the public sphere? I have published an article on this topic that appears in the February, 2007 issue of The History Teacher.

One of my other interests is teacher training. I am about to begin my third "Teaching American History" grant. In Fall 2008 I'll teach an online grad course on teaching methodology entitled "U.S. History for Secondary Teachers." I'm really looking forward to the class.

 

Different courses I've taught at Western

  1. Western Civilizations through 1648
  2. Colonial America to 1776
  3. History of the Atlantic World
  4. The Cultural History of Alcohol in America
    • Also taught as "The History and Science of Beer and Brewing"
  5. The American Revolution and Early Republic
  6. Slavery and Freedom in the Americas
  7. The United States to 1865
  8. The United States Since 1865
  9. Senior Seminar
  10. Latin American Studies
  11. History and the Internet
  12. Colonial Latin America
  13. U.S./Latin American Diplomatic Relations

What I'll be teaching in Fall, 2008:

  • Western Civ. to 1648
  • The United States to 1865
  • The Atlantic World
  • (Graduate) U.S. History for Secondary Ed. Teachers

 

 

 

History and the Internet Atlantic Loyalties