J D Davies

Labels in History: Corrections and Clarifications

Sam McLean, this week’s guest blogger, has asked me to post this clarification. I’m happy to oblige.


This blog post is not intended as a criticism of either Kings College London, the Department of War Studies, or the individual courses that I teach. I use them as examples because I am most currently familiar with them. I do not believe that students at the University level are intentionally being taught that history is a series of problems that can be solved, but that the analytical leap between how history is taught in secondary school, the level of analysis inherent to courses like Conduct of War, and the pressure of an intense University program can lead students to focus their efforts in a way that encourages a solution-based study approach and the preference to memorize an extant argument instead of creating their own. I have also seen this in action as a TA in Canada at Wilfrid Laurier University. I do not expect everybody to share my assessment of the situation, and welcome comments, concerns and criticisms of my argument.