I teach history and political science to people who are majoring in business or technology, so how do I get them to take an interest in my subject? First off, I recognize that history is a literary genre not a social “science.” Central to literature and history is creating a story that explains something that happened and why, and what the effect was on the future history.

Central to this isn’t names, places, and dates…it’s people. Characters. Something that people understand and care about. Why do we talk about these people? What did they do? To be remembered for centuries, it must have been interesting, so what’s the hook? What did they do and why? Dates are there for order, to show causality. Tell them the story — the why that lead to what they did, how that action let to other actions and events. Have a point — a narrative, which means an end, even if it’s for that one particular story.

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