Recent Posts by Alexis Mamaux

The Depths of Despair: Long Winters and their Effect on History

General Winter by Louis Bombled (1862–1927), via Wikimedia Commons In this era where there is a lot of talk about the climate and its effect on our lives, and as a signal of what we have done to the planet we inhabit, it is also worthwhile to discuss its effect on history. There are several notable situations that had repeated impact on historical events, most notably in Russia.  It was in a Russian winter that Napoleon's forces were halted and nearly ...

Halifax Explosion of December 1917: The Effect of War on the Home Front

There are certain subjects which warrant treatment of the subject even if they do not fit neatly into the envelope of the IB Subject Guide.  One such example of this is the collision of the SS Mont Blanc and the SS Imo on 6 December 1917. The Mont Blanc was a French ship loaded with ammunition in New York City that was sent up to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to join an convoy  across the Atlantic. At dawn on 6 December it ...

Silent Night

In this week, when few are in school, and many are on break for a number of reasons, it seemed worthwhile to consider traditions.  Now, Eric Hobsbawm talked about the invention of traditions in his book of the same name, but he was thinking about something slightly different: he was considering how, in the act of nation building (and not in the Kennedy-esque US way), that people create stories and customs about the past that are more nostalgia, and that have limited relationship to the past.  On the ...

The Ten-Year Rule

I have decided that, when school resumes in January, I will give my students an assignment in which I will ask them to analyse the IB's 10-year rule and determine if they think that it is a well-reasoned rule. This morning, I was reading an essay by Umair Haque titled What Do You Call a World That Can’t Learn From Itself? Although it begins as a criticism of the US and its decline in standard of living, especially when compared to Europe, ...

Happy Anniversary – or when is Wednesday?

Soviet-era propaganda poster On October 25 1917 the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd, beginning the process of Communist control in what would become the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  Based on that information alone, most would think that we are currently marking the centennial of the revolution, but. we aren't really. As students of Russian history know, the Tsars followed the Julian calendar while most of Europe followed (and continue to follow) the Gregorian calendar.  The change was evolutionary in nature, ...

The May 2017 Subject Report is now available

Most understandably, there was a small delay in the release of the subject report.  With all new assessments, there was much to report on and the examiners responsibly clearly wanted to provide clarity on the expectations of the assessments, and advice for future candidates.  A lot of work goes into these reports, and in IB history, with nearly 50,000 students writing 10 different exams and completing an internal assessment, there are a lot of variables to consider. (Please note that as of ...

Rights and Protest: 60 years since the Little Rock 9 entered Central High School

When I opened the paper today (yes, some of us still do that), there was a brief interview with some of the members of the Little Rock 9.  60 years ago today, 9 African-American teenagers entered Central High School, in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, in a bid to begin the end of segregation in education.  If you look at the photo of the students that the Associated Press/Fox News used in its article, you see a group of pleasant, well-dressed young people on ...

The 6 key IB history concepts through the lens of current US interest in World War I

If you have studied the First World War as an IB student, the importance of this war is not lost on you.  World War I sowed the seeds of communist revolution in Russia, independence in Ireland, decolonization in much of the world, and a change in the international perception of a number of countries. 2014 marked the beginning of the centennial for most of the belligerents involved in the war, and this has led to a renewed interest and reconsideration of ...

Are you new to DP History?

By Wednesday, August 23, 2017 No tags 1

For those of you who are entering DP Year I there may be a degree of trepidation about what is to come.  There are plenty of websites and blogs out there that are dedicated to 'telling you like it is', which usually comes in the form of fear-mongering with a healthy dose of sarcasm.  There are countless aphorisms, the most famous of which, in historical circles, is "the wisdom of the IB is that students are given 2 hours to ...

And the results are in!

...Well, they were in a month ago. As teachers, more than anything we are most interested in the grade boundaries for each paper. For two years we were flying blind, trying to guide our students to passing, or in some instance, the elusive 7. And now that information is freely available, and from this point forward, our work will be authentic and based on experience rather than conjecture. So, without further ado, here is the assessment-by-assessment breakdown: IA (the moderated, final mark ...

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