Kathleen Barber

One Comment on “Kathleen Barber

  1. Kathleen Barber was one of the best professors I ever had, from K-12 through Stanford and graduate school.

    In those days (early ’80s), we registered in the gym using a little oaper card and walking around from table to table to fill it with courses.

    I was a one-year senior and knew nothing about NMH at that time.

    Some counselor saw me signing up for generic (required) U.S. history, and told me (why me, I’ll never know) that I should instead sign up for Conflict and Consensus.

    So I did.

    Kathleen being demanding meant I couldn’t get ‘As’ without taking my academic game up several notches from what I had been used to. The first step was understanding what that even meant, after she gave me a C- on my first exam (when I thought I had done decently).


    I came to understand that she expected us to be able to (for example) compare and contrast the views of five scholars on, say, Reconstruction — from memory, citing relevant historical events, as well. She taught us how to do that.

    Her toughness led me to buckle up, find a study buddy, and get very serious about meeting the challenge she gave us. Ulltimately, it led me to win the history award. She led us, she pulled us; yes, she *demanded* we *all* take it up several notches. She got us all in fine thinking shape.

    Now when I read scholars like Gerald Horne, who turn “well-known” events like “the Revolutionary War” on their heads through their original research, I think of her. She taught us rigor. She taught us how to write.

    She also hosted me once after I graduated, when I came back to campus to visit. That was above-and-beyond generosity I will never forget.

    She was a gift to the NMH community and everyone who passed her way.

    She made great use of her life.

    And Frank, I remember her talking about you to us. It aounded soecial. She was probably a tough mom, but you featured.

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