Loyola University Chicago

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Undergraduate history alumnus publishes article in The Atlantic

Undergraduate history alumnus publishes article in The Atlantic

"History is not indoctrination. It is a wrestling match. For too long, the emphasis has been on pinning the opponent. It is time to shift the focus to the struggle itself."—Michael Conway, LUC (History) '14.

Michael Conway, a 2014 graduate of the Loyola History Department, recently published an essay in The Atlantic monthly, entitled "The Problem With History Classes: Single-perspective narratives do students a gross disservice." His excellent article discusses the challenges and importance of historical interpretation that have recently been hotly contested in battles over the AP US History standards. He explores what is at stake in these controversies, and how attempts at inclusive historiographical inquiry threaten a singular narrative of American exceptionalism.

Michael shared with us how his time as a Loyola History major had a profound impact on his intellectual development and the ideas he shared in his piece. He credited mentoring by Professor Stephen Schloesser, S.J. as essential to his own interpretive work. He said that "few classes have had as long and lasting an impact" as Schloesser's Historical Methods course (HIST 291), a course required of all departmental majors. Michael spoke to the importance of learning about the contested practices of writing history in his coursework at Loyola, and argues forcefully in his article that an engagement with historiography is a critical function of a history education. Michael shared that Dr. Schloesser's class "actually altered my worldview."

Dr. Schloesser praised Michael's work as "a prime example of the deep thinking and critical engagement that the Loyola History Department seeks to encourage in its students. As a recent graduate, he has used his History education to speak to larger issues of national memory and public debates surrounding the teaching of History in secondary education. His work speaks to the many platforms through which Loyola History grads can shape the field and engage the broader public."

In addition to his essay on History education in The Atlantic, you can also read Michael's first-hand account about Loyola's Labre ministry to the city's homeless in America magazine, entitled "Hot Dog Hospitality: Seeking Solidarity on the Streets of Chicago"; his interview with Tony Meale, author of The Chosen Ones: The Team that Beat LeBron; and his "Tom Brady Chronicles" on Project Shanks.