A peer-led exploration club for history enthusiasts in the effective altruism community!
Background and motivation
History is endlessly fascinating, and studying our shared past can also be immensely valuable for our shared future!
By strengthening our understanding of history, we’re better able to contextualize and deepen our understanding of the world, and this can help us be more prepared to shape it for the better!
About the club
The Historea Club is meant for anyone who wants to broaden their knowledge of history in general, with a particular leaning towards topics that most people in the effective altruism community care about. Members are divided into groups of 10 and meet once per month on Zoom. Each month, we choose a different historical time period or subject matter and study it in-depth. Then, during monthly Zoom calls, we share what we’ve learned with our fellow club members and learn from each other!
Examples and possible topics
- Studying public health responses to the 1918 Great Influenza could better inform current approaches to vaccination campaigns against Covid-19.
- Examining the emancipation of slaves in the US and the abolitionist movement in the 1800s could lead to a more thorough understanding of moral circle expansion and have implications for ending the factory farming of animals.
- Learning about near-miss extinction events like the nuclear wars averted by Vasili Arkhipov and Stanislav Petrov could shed light onto the fragility of single chain-of-command military structures and the need for fault-tolerance.
- Submit more ideas here and register your interest to join the club!
What’s an “exploration club?”
An exploration club differs from a book club in that its members don’t all read the same book and then discuss it; rather, each member chooses a different book (or documentary, web series, blog post, interview recording, podcast, etc.) related to the chosen subject of the month, and then teaches what they’ve learned during the monthly group discussions. This provides an opportunity for us to share what we’ve discovered over the month and learn from our peers, thereby absorbing much more about the chosen topic than we could on our own in a single month.
Where and how will this take place?
The club meets virtually (for now!) and we have a Slack group to coordinate with one another. We vote as a collective on which historical subject to study each month, then we divide into groups of 10 and have each group tackle a more specific sub-topic within the broader subject.
The time commitment will varies depending how much energy each member devotes each month - we don’t want to go overboard, but we don’t want to disappoint our fellow club members either! The monthly Zoom calls are ~90 minutes long.
Who’s running this?
Hi! I’m Aaron!
I’ve always loved studying history, but I’ve never been too good at doing it on my own! I’ve been involved in the EA community for nearly 10 years, and I love how curious and open-minded EAs can be! I started the Historea Club because I wanted to invite others on an intellectual journey, and I’d love to have you aboard!