My name is David Roberts and I am in my senior year at Framingham State University. I am majoring in elementary education as well history. My aspiration is to become either an elementary or middle school teacher and inspire students the way my second grade teacher—Ms. Nonis—inspired me. I chose history because I view it as a dangerous subject out of all the major content areas of elementary school. Math is what it is, for example, because no one can change the Pythagorean Theorem: a squared plus b squared equals c squared. A noun will always be regarded as a “person, place, or thing.” History, however, is extremely malleable and dangerous in the hands of individuals with ulterior motives. History, therefore, can be changed to suit the agenda of people with less than historically accurate ends. Case in point: Republicans, usually around election time, love to tout how their party were abolitionists championing the eradication of slavery. This is exemplar of how history’s pliable nature makes it susceptible to inaccuracies. While some Republicans were abolitionists, the vast majorities were not. Yes, many Republicans opposed slavery but not for the virtuous reasons that present day Republicans would have you believe. There are many reasons to oppose slavery that have absolutely nothing to do with rejecting the ills of that barbaric institution: a racist yeoman farmer not wanting a wealthy, southern landowner to absorb all the fertile land in the west would resoundingly oppose slavery, yet keep his bigoted believes. Many elementary schools still teach children that Columbus was responsible for convincing people that the earth was round, even though evidence shows that ancient Greeks did that thousands of years prior. My point is that history can be made to prove whatever someone wishes for it to prove, regardless of documented proof: that makes history a dangerous subject and different from other disciplines. I want to teach history the way it should be taught, with accuracy, no matter how ugly the stories of our collective pasts are.
I am taking this course on the history of communications and media because I have two electives I must fill and this sounded like an interesting choice: examining the evolutions of media and communications in all its forms and how those evolutions have affected and changed us as a society and conversely, how we have affected and changed its evolutions. I needed my electives to be a topic that I have an interest in because I believe electives are your opportunity to study something you care about versus being told that you must. I hope to use this course as another exercise in critical thinking skills and gain more understanding of something that is part of everyday life. I hope to use a historical perspective to look at how and why media/communications evolved as they did and hopefully answer this question: Does media simply communicate our culture or help create the culture itself?