Doing history requires many things of us. One of those is a sense of detachment from what we are studying, so that historians can maintain their sense of objectivity. In an ideal world, I suppose, historians would only focus on events long after they happened. But, as the singer-songwriter John Prine (himself a victim of coronavirus) wrote, "It’s a crooked piece of time that we live in."
What I'd like to try, then, is to do some history of the year 2020, making use of our historical skills to help us understand and to process these extraordinary times. There are challenges inherent in trying to study an event that is so recent. I think the benefits to us of studying the America in 2020 outweigh these difficulties. So, your assignment is as follows:
Historians love to serve the academic community, and we have been called on, once again, to rise to the occasion. The Head of the Burroughs History department contacted me from 2075 (apparently, they have time machines and this is how they chose to use them). She wants help teaching how the nuttiness that was 2020 affected America by having you create a set of materials for her to teach. She also let me in on a little secret—strangely, each one of you has a grandchild in her class. So, to help your grandchildren and the future Head of the History Department, in your groups, you will:
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