American Studies

March 12th, 2014

The University of Chicago Magazine profiled WSPWH editors Amy and Leon Kass in its March/April issue. In the article, the Kasses describe their long teaching career at Chicago, their turn to civic education, and their ultimate embrace of digital learning. A snippet:

Now countless students can explore the big questions with the Kasses’ help without having to come to Chicago or even go to college. The Kasses launched a website last year, What So Proudly We Hail, that offers high school teachers curricula designed to get students thinking about what it means to be an American. The project—which includes free lesson plans, discussion guides, video conversations, and e-books—follows their 2011 anthology, What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song (Intercollegiate Studies Institute). But the enterprise was really born just a year after the pair began their long careers at the University.

“In 1977 we started the Human Being and Citizen course, which asks the question: what is the excellence of the human being, what is the excellence of the citizen, and are they in tension with one another?” says Amy Kass, AB’62. The couple taught the Common Core course for more than a quarter century, but over time—especially after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001—it became “more urgent,” as Amy puts it, to place that debate in the specific context of the United States.

“We think, notwithstanding the political differences between left and right, the fate of this country is important to everybody,” Leon says. “The principles and ideals of this country are important to everybody, even if different groups will emphasize different ones amongst them.”

Read the entire article.

Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

Tags: ,