Students frequently ask me what my favorite period of history is. The answer to that question used to be really easy: Medieval history, particularly English history. My favorite course in college was England 1200-1700, or as it used to be called, Kings and Parliament, 1200-1700. In fact, I still have my binder for that course. (Professor Rappaport, if you’re out there, you are a great inspiration to me!)
More recently my response to that question changes pretty regularly. Ok, in all fairness, if I had to choose just ONE period of history to study for the rest of my life, I would say the history of the British isles without blinking an eye. I am endlessly fascinated with Chinese history – all of it, although learning about the Mao years is a bit like watching a humongous accident – you just can’t look away. (Apologies if that is offensive. I only mean that it something to which I am drawn.)
So, what is my favorite period of history? It depends on what I’m teaching, what strikes my fancy, what book jumps out at me at the book store. Currently I am reading Christopher Hibbert’s biography of Queen Victoria, but my “To Read” pile is enormous.
What’s YOUR favorite period in history? Why?