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Take a Historian to School Project

By Blair Overstreet, history department chair
On Wednesday, October 18, Michael González, Ph.D., University of San Diego professor and author of multiple writings on the history of Spanish and Mexican California, visited LJCDS as part of the Western History Association's "Take a Historian to School Project." At USD he teaches Cold War history, modern U.S. history, Chicano/a history and historical methodology.
Dr. González began his day in Upper School history and social science teacher Blair Overstreet's 10th-grade class talking about the spread of terrorism in the Middle East. The students watched propaganda and recruitment videos and dissected the visual and narrative techniques used by ISIS to appeal to students their age.

He then visited two of Upper School history teacher Robert Grasso's classes, leading them in discussions about a variety of topics such as free speech, definitions of hate speech, mass shootings, opinions on the second amendment and why we study history. Mr. Grasso said of Dr. González, "His ability to engage students (whom he had never met) was very impressive. He learned the students’ names so quickly, which created a more personal discussion."

Upper School English teacher Joanne Bradley and Upper School English and history teacher Jane Healey, Ph.D., welcomed Dr. González into their American Literature classes. Having discussed his article “Baptism by Fire and Water: Forced Conversion and the Subjugation of the California Indian," students asked questions such as "Why did some scholars not believe that the history of the forced conversion was true?" and "Why do we build this narrative that these missions were used in a positive aspect rather than realize it was detrimental to the Native Americans in California?"


La Jolla Country Day School

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La Jolla, CA 92037

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