Bridging Historias


Foodways in Early American History

The goal of this assignment by Megan Elias is to learn to read historic texts for evidence about foodways and attitudes about food. Students will reflect on cultural exchange through food, continuity and disjunctures in food traditions. In finding and thinking about food references in historic texts, students will consider how attitudes toward indigenous peoples are reflected in descriptions of cooking and eating practices, and how hunger plays a role in shaping power dynamics.  Download Lesson

The Ostend Manifesto and Filibustering

This lesson by Craig Coenen is designed for History of the United States to 1865. The exercise will test student ability to read and understand primary-source documents while at the same time introducing them to a more true “American” experience of United States history.  Download Lesson

The Mexican-American War and Beyond

This lesson by Professor Samantha Gross, Bucks County Community College, focuses on events following the Mexican-American War. Students will explore what legal (particularly property) protections were due to Mexicans who found themselves living in the U.S, and use case studies of individuals and families to examine who did and did not receive such protections. This activity can be paired with documents to explore more modern cases of property and mineral and water rights that cite the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo as the legal basis for their claims. The activity could be followed by a debate in class or online on the topic: The Mexican-American War: U.S. Aggression or Natural Extension of Manifest Destiny. Download Lesson

Cabeza de Vaca: Minorities in the United States

This two-part exercise by Karen Miller is designed to happen over two course sessions. In the first session, students will examine the assigned secondary source carefully in small groups. They will be asked to answer questions about the source in order to deepen their understanding of Native/Spanish relations in the 16th century and examine how the author of the book, Andrés Reséndez, used primary sources to make claims. In the second session, students will remain in the same small groups and will look together at Cabeza de Vaca’s writings, a primary source.  Download Lesson

Touring Anglo, Latino, and Native Identity in New Mexico

This visual culture lesson by Megan Elias and Donna Thompson Ray will help students to understand how culture can be commodified, how Latino, Anglo, and Native American identity have been constructed in relation to each other in the Southwest, and will develop the ability to read visual culture for historical understanding of change over time.  Download Lesson

Reading for the Argument: Bilingual Education

The purpose of this activity written by Pennee Bender is to encourage a close reading of secondary and primary sources to understand the arguments and evidence presented in each. In addition, it asks students to recognize how historical context shapes points of view and to consider how historians use primary sources to construct their argument. Download Lesson