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Catalog Archive / Fall 2022

Understanding and Teaching Contemporary US History since Reagan
Edited by Kimber M. Quinney and Amy L. Sayward

The Harvey Goldberg Series for Understanding and Teaching History
John Day Tully, Matthew Masur, and Brad Austin, Series Editors

“Quinney and Sayward’s timely text is uniquely crafted to appeal to US history secondary classrooms. Enticing and exciting topics from Reagan to Trump lead students to research primary and secondary sources. Classroom students learn that contemporary issues are vital to America’s future and critical thinking skills guide them to articulate a better tomorrow.”
—Rowena McClinton, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

How to learn, think, and teach about the difficult and daunting history topics of our own lifetimes

Understanding and Teaching Contemporary US History since Reagan is designed for teachers looking for new perspectives on teaching the recent past, the period of US history often given the least attention in classrooms. Less of a traditional textbook than a pedagogical Swiss Army knife, the volume offers a diversity of voices and approaches to teaching a field that, by its very nature, invites vigorous debate and puts generational differences in stark relief. Older history is likely to feel removed from the lived experiences of both teachers and students, allowing for a certain dispassion of perspective. By contrast, contemporary history creates unique challenges, as individual teachers and students may think they know “what really happened” by virtue of their personal experiences.

The volume addresses a wide swath of topics, from social movements around identity and representation to the Supreme Court, law enforcement, migration, climate change, and international relations. Emphasizing critical thinking and primary-source analysis, it will aid teachers in creating an invigorating and democratizing classroom experience. Intended for use in both secondary and postsecondary classrooms, the book’s structure allows for a variety of applications and invites a broad audience.


Kimber M. Quinney is an assistant professor of history at California State University, San Marcos. Specializing in the convergence of ethnicity, immigration, and domestic politics in the making of US foreign policy, she is also advisor to her students who intend to become history-social science teachers.

Amy L. Sayward is a professor of history at Middle Tennessee State University. She is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books, including The United Nations in International History and Tennessee Histories.




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Table of Contents


Introduction: Teaching Contemporary History since Reagan
Amy L. Sayward and Kimber M. Quinney

“Life, Liberty, or Property”: Analyzing American Identity through Open Resources
Monica L. Butler
Examining African American Voter Suppression, from Reagan to Trump
Aaron Treadwell
“Work Does Not Stop with This March on Washington”: LGBTQ+ National Mobilizations, 1979–2009
Josh Cerretti
Public Debate, Citizenship Participation, and Recent US Supreme Court Nominations
Leah Vallely
The Drug War Era: From the Crack Epidemic to the Opioid Crisis
Kathryn McLain and Matthew R. Pembleton
A Difficult Balance: National Security and Democracy from Reagan to Trump
Kimber M. Quinney
Explaining Waco: How Historians Come to Different Conclusions about What Really Happened
Andrew Polk
A Nation at Risk? Education Debates and Policies from Reagan to Trump
Carl P. Watts
Undermining the Sandbags: How Neoliberalism Encouraged Undocumented Migration, from the 1980s to the Early 2020s
Benjamin C. Montoya
Racializing Legality in Post-1965 Immigration Debates
Natalie Mendoza
Something Old, Something New, Something Purple? US Military Adaptation from the Renewed Cold War to Resurrected Confrontation
Hal Friedman
Arctic Nation: Climate Change Changes Policy
Jeremy M. McKenzie and Laura Krenicki
Pushing Back: Nuclear Disarmament and Peace Activism during the Cold War and Beyond
Lori Clune
Framing America for the World: Understanding US Foreign Policy Rhetoric: Using Presidential Speeches before the UN General Assembly
Amy L. Sayward
Teaching Women and US Foreign Policy: Hillary Rodham Clinton and Women’s Rights as Human Rights
Allida Black and Kate English

List of Contributors


Also in the Series


Understanding and Teaching the Civil Rights Movement
Edited by Hasan Kwame Jeffries


Understanding and Teaching U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History
Second Edition
Edited by Leila J. Rupp and Susan K. Freeman

Understanding and Teaching Contemporary US History since Reagan: Cover depicting an illustration of a red book with a hole shaped like the United States in the center of its cover. A wooden ladder emerges from the US shaped hole. Behind the cover is a blue, tiled background.

Larger images

December 2022
LC: 2022013226 E
280 pp. 6 x 9
16 b/w illus.

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Casebound $39.95 A
ISBN 9780299339500
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