As the new school year progresses, the history department has been looking closer and closer into America’s past.
“American Downfall,” a discussion group focused on looking closer at America’s historical climaxes, has been meeting regularly to discuss important topics such as the U.S.’s involvement in World War II and what types of abortion the U.S. should allow.
This debate club was started by Luke Ritter, a history lecturer from St. Louis, Missouri, in response to student interest in American history and history-in-the-making.
With many discussion topics concerning issues the country is currently facing, the organization has drawn an eager crowd to these debates—the topic of abortion being the most popular subject, as its discussion on Wednesday, Oct. 26, drew the largest crowd since the group’s beginning.
“American Downfall has given me the opportunity to get to know and understand other students’ perspectives concerning relevant issues that still significantly impact our society,” said Kourtney Frye, a sophomore history major from Monroeville. “I am grateful for it because I believe that understanding other perspectives and values (whether I agree with it or not) is essential in having a better understanding of our society.”
The professors who oversee the discussions have also expressed their excitement for this positive response to the new club.
“As a faculty member, I’ve enjoyed watching these discussions develop and would love to see them become a greater part of our courses and extracurricular activities,” said James Todhunter, an assistant professor in the political science department.
Both students and faculty alike share this interest in American history as well as an appreciation for the decisions and politics of the nation.
“We call our discussion forum ‘American Downfall’ because each week we focus on a moment in American history during which our forbears believed the nation was in everlasting peril,” said Ritter.
“We survive still, and yet we go by ‘American Downfall’ because we worry about what the future of this country would be without its citizens knowing their own history.”
The club meets every other Wednesday at noon. The next meeting is planned for Wednesday, Nov. 9, in Patterson Hall Room 214.
The topic of discussion will be “What does the Confederate flag symbolize?”
Although these meetings have no enticement of free pizza or extra credit, Ritter promises “a warm welcome and a lively debate.”
For more information, you can contact Ritter at email@example.com or follow the History Club on Twitter @TroyHistoryClub for updates on the discussions.