In this inaugural interview, Chris Martin speaks with Jon Zimmerman, professor of history of education at the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania. Jon Zimmerman is a former social studies teacher and Peace Corps volunteer. His research has been about educational controversies and debates. He has published books about sex and alcohol education, history and religion in the curriculum, and other contentious topics. He is also a frequent contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Review of Books. His latest sole-authored book is Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know (2016). In this interview, Jon talks about his new book The Case for Contention: Teaching Controversial Issues in American Schools (2017), which he co-authored with Emily Robertson, professor of philosophy at Syracuse University.
0:00 Introducing Jon’s new book
4:50 Preparing teachers to present controversial issues
15:50 “Lies My Teachers Told Me” and the sanitization of history
21:34 What are Jon’s 5 rules for presenting controversial topics?
31:59 How do you respect people who act in bad faith or, like Trump, violate democratic norms?
41:17 Jon’s book on campus politics, and the psychologizing of political discussion through micro-aggression accusations
- Jon’s other books available here.
- More about Jon Zimmerman.
- We also discussed Lies My Teachers Told Me by James W. Loewen