It seems to me that such principles are not just for helping to decide questions about who wrote Shakespeare's plays, whether the Piltdown Man is an authentic fossil, or whether Copernicus could have invented Newton's Laws of Gravitational Motion. The principles of internal and external criticism seemed to be crucial techniques in analyzing recent discoveries in the tobacco industry that led to the lawsuits settled in 1998. Such principles might also help to clarify questions about any company or culture or college, when the questions become important. Did our college have phone in registration before 1997? How could McD's have sold 99 billion hamburgers--and when did they start counting?
The oral history component could have many applications, too. For instance, does anyone know the history of your college? As the VCCS professoriate ages and retires, will each college lose track of its origins and its pioneers and have to redefine its anew? Putting an archive of photos to use, getting old-timers to talk about what registration was like before computers or running the college before it had buildings--these might be worthwhile activities.
*Source: Dr. Lynn Sims, "Taking an Active Role in Learning History," Inquiry 2.1 [Spring] 1998:22-24.
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