Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Social, Behavioral & Global Studies


Social and Behavioral Science - Social History

First Advisor

Rebecca Bales

Second Advisor

Michell Figueroa


History education is at a crossroads. The availability of information at our fingertips has the potential to change how the non-historian sees history and the other social sciences. This capstone researched ways the non-historian can utilize the changing face of history education by implementing the pragmatic methods of John Dewey’s education philosophy called instrumentalism. Principal issues discussed include the pros and cons of out-of-classroom history education, utilization of exploratory inquiry for research and the usefulness of primary sources for a historiography. To apply instrumentalism ideals and methods, I created a historiography about my ancestors and how their lives intertwined with United States’ history from the Civil War to the Dust Bowl era.