Three ASU professors contribute to national history textbook

The free textbook is the first of its kind for AP curriculum

By Mason Hightower & Kionna Brown
On October 7, 2020

Photo courtesy of ASU Communications and Marketing:
(from left to right) Dr.Tony Bartl, Dr.Ken Heineman, Dr.Jason Pierce

3 ASU professors were among the contributors to the first open source AP U.S. History textbook.

The Bill of Rights Institute contacted Dr. Ken Heineman about contributing to the educational resource because the editors were familiar with his previous work.

“There were a number of historians involved with the project whom I knew of and whose views/analysis of history ranged widely.  All were top-notch in their areas of expertise,” Heineman said.

When the editors asked him if he knew of other scholars who might be able to contribute to the work, Heineman immediately recommended Dr. Jason Pierce and Dr. Tony Bartl. The three professors come from different disciplines. Heineman is a professor of security studies, Bartl is a professor of political science and Pierce is a professor and chair of the history department.

“They are objective, analytical, and lively thinkers,” Heineman said of his colleagues.

Pierce commented on the need for open source work in the history field. 

“In some disciplines, and history is certainly one of them, there’s no reason for textbooks to be as expensive as they are,” Pierce said.

Pierce said the need for brand new and expensive textbooks every three years is unnecessary as history is a field that changes slowly. The idea behind the project was that it would be available to anybody, but still written by professional and accredited historians. This motivated Pierce to contribute to the project.

The open source textbook will include contributions from the top historians from Harvard and Yale and many other history departments around the country. The textbook is available now online at Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness.

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