Professor of History David Raney taught not only to Hillsdale students, but also to a crew of cameras Wednesday afternoon. C-SPAN filmed Raney’s Sectionalism and the American Civil War course for use in its “Lectures in History” series.
Russell Logan, a producer for C-SPAN, contacted Raney in January. He told Raney that his class had been recommended as a good candidate for the series. C-SPAN has filmed a variety of different classes at numerous universities. It filmed its Book TV program “In Depth” with talk-show host Dennis Prager on campus in September 2016.
“C-SPAN has taped and aired more than 350 classes to date,” Logan said. “These include three at Hillsdale with Bradley Birzer and Paul Moreno as well as Victor Davis Hanson as a visiting professor.”
Raney’s course focuses on the American Civil War. In class on Wednesday, Raney chose to focus on the homefront during the Civil War, specifically the roles of the United States Christian Commission and the United States Sanitary Commission.
“I always provide time within the semester to talk about the homefront during the war both North and South,” Raney said. “I scheduled this presentation to correspond with the C-SPAN taping. The specific placement of it within the scope of the class was tailored to the C-SPAN group, but it’s something I do cover.”
In addition to choosing that day’s class topic based on C-SPAN’s presence, Raney also amended his teaching style.
“I knew that the C-SPAN audience was looking for certain content,” Raney said. “This was going to not only be content-driven, but they were looking for primarily a lecture-based approach. I altered things to accommodate that. I did prepare remarks. I had notes that I actually drew from to stay on topic, so I didn’t wander and indulge my occasional forays into related matters.”
Senior Grace Moran said the class felt no different from any other day. There were just cameras in the room, and Raney did not have any extra expectations for his students.
“He just told us to be on time — and to do our homework,” she said.