In the latest installment of our ZooMX experiences, American history expert, author and associate professor in Northwestern University’s History Department Daniel Immerwahr gathered virtually with students and teachers to share insights from his second book, How to Hide an Empire: Geography and Power in the Greater United States.
After 7th grade history teacher and department co-chair Anthony Shaker introduced him, Immerwahr opened with a personal account, from early in his career as a history teacher, of his recognition of the pervasive U.S. influence well outside its traditional contiguous borders. This realization has influenced his views about and methods of teaching history, and many consider him an expert on the topic of empires.
Immerwahr used the 2008 presidential election to demonstrate how notions of citizenship, foreign-ism and succession-ism came to play. From the controversy surrounding John McCain’s birth in the Panama Canal Zone to Sarah Palin’s support for her husband’s work with the Alaskan Independence Party to Barack Obama’s disputed birth records from Hawaii, Immerwahr made clear that the lines that define our country’s history are often blurry.
Those attending submitted questions to the visiting professor, and all left with a much better appreciation for the influence of the concept of the American Empire.
Immerwahr is the third visiting expert to share in a ZooMX experience at Parker, following. Parker alumni Eric Klinenberg ’89 and Jonathan Alter ’75. Two more ZooMXes are scheduled for this year: one on Vietnam and the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago with University of Kansas Professor David Farber ’74 and one with Harvard Professor Jill Lepore on her latest book, These Truths.