“I enjoy introducing students to complex ideas and big questions and helping them understand how these ideas and questions relate to our experiences in the modern world.”
What’s so important about teaching history to Transylvania students?
History is the study of human experience—it links the past to the modern world by investigating culture, politics, the economy, and much more. It gives us a clearer picture of who we are and how we got here.
Greg Bocketti has seen countless history students ponder those big questions and move on to become not only historians and teachers, but medical practitioners, bankers, lawyers, and insurance agents.
“History asks students to think with all the parts of their personalities—with all their senses as economic, political, social, and cultural actors,” he says. “It asks them to understand people with experiences outside their own. The protagonists of history are actors in the past, whether in this country or others.”
Bocketti’s research interest is in Latin American history, and he teaches unique courses related to that field, including History of Brazil, Sport in Latin America, and Public Celebration in Latin America. He encourages his students to explore those subjects in a thoughtful way, and it shows in their work.
“Students have helped me clarify my thinking about historical subjects, which has made me a better writer and better historian, asking new questions and thinking more deeply about the significance of my work. I especially enjoy reading students’ work and hearing students’ ideas about the subjects we study, because I always learn from them.”
Transylvania’s small classes make it easy for students to interact personally with their professors. As they pursue their study of history, they may also find that they have more in common with their professors than they realized.
As Bocketti points out, Transylvania students of history have the opportunity to “work with teachers who are active in the field and engaged with the same set of challenges students face—working with sources closely, thinking about historical questions, and honing their critical writing skills.” For his part, Bocketti wants to help his students develop their “habits of thinking,” as well as their research and communication skills.
And if they happen to find the answers to some of those big questions along the way, perhaps we’ll all have a better understanding of the conflicts and complications that shape this human drama.