Title: Associate Professor of American History
Arrival at Soka: 2006
Degrees: Ph.D., The College of William and Mary M.A., The College of William and Mary B.A., The University of Massachusetts at Amherst
About James Spady
Areas of Interest
"My main field of training is early American cultural history. The focus of my research is the importance of colonialism and colonization to American cultural development. I research Native American people, African American people, and non-elite whites seeking to understand how racism and education became intertwined."
A Pivotal Feature"The small class size is a pivotal feature of Soka. It allows me enough time and space to relate to students as individuals. The best learning is built on prior knowledge, but it takes time to understand each student's needs and learning style. At Soka I have the opportunity to do that."
Like Grad Students"Soka is organized with the presumption that undergraduates can do a lot of the work that was previously given only to grad students. Every student is expected to conduct original research for their senior project. And in the general curriculum and the more advanced courses every student is trained in interdisciplinary modes of reasoning, preparing them with the skills and content knowledge necessary for research. They become more like grad students-prepared for graduate school."
Learning Clusters"Most of us receive an education in which somebody tells you what problems to solve. In a Learning Cluster course, students become leaders of their own education. They help define the topic of the course, set the expectations, and experience the open-ended nature of research."
Globalized Economy"The development of a globalized economy isn't new; it has been well underway for centuries. The question is whether we're going to develop a globalized economy that is more just, peaceful, and sustainable and better able to accommodate diversity. Many students come here with concerns about the global future. They come with questions about climate change, poverty, and other forms of injustice, and we help them develop skills and competencies to research and pursue solutions."