“In its simplest meaning, Public History refers to the employment of historians and the historical method outside of academia: in government, private corporations, the media, historical societies and museums, even in private practice.”
About once every quarter or so, I have an existential crisis of some severity in which I wonder if I made the right decision by not pursuing academia. The answer is usually yes; watching the education bubble inflate, with the number of history students exceeding history job openings, as well as the “publish or perish” mantra all reassure me that that’s something I’m ok without.
To assuage the academia FOMO*, I pursue history in other ways that, I think, prove history can be just as enjoyable outside of the ivory tower, if not more so. Whether that’s historical reenacting (lite, not hardcore), reading books, or staying up to date with historical scuttlebutt online, I keep my brain engaged, if not very organized.
*Fear Of Missing Out
I don’t claim to be a public historian, even by amateur standards, but in my travels across the internet, I have come across public history done many different ways by those of whom the ivory tower would probably disapprove. What follows are some of my favorites:
“The Allison Brothers of PA” by Jared Frederick of History Matters
I just wanted to encourage people to go be interesting. Go find things that interest you and explore them further. Don’t be ashamed. It’s ok to be weird.
Was I ashamed, running through Valley Forge National Historic Park while listening to the Turn soundtrack with my Avengers knee socks? NO! Just the opposite! In fact, I wanted to stop other runners/walkers/bikers and inform them of what I was doing. If they appreciated my utter dorkiness, I would categorize them as “cool”. If they didn’t, I could feel sorry for them and be about my merry way.
When I say running, I actually mean a brisk walk. I didn’t realize how little minuets and harpsichords lend themselves to running. Continue reading
Speaking of history …. Guys, I don’t even like baseball but you betcha I’ll be watching Game 7 tonight. May the best losing streak break.
In the meantime, here’s a pretty awesome commercial from 2012:
Edit: I just discovered this video too. Also pretty awesome:
I recognize I’m bandwagoning. But I also hail from South Bend, and the Cubs are the home team there. It’s a shame Jeff “The Shark” Samardzija no longer plays for them.
It’s nice to support an exciting team this season. coughNOTREDAMEcough
I just had to get this in before the results of the Scottish vote are published. I was trying to follow this at work but … the Scottish are so civilised about everything and voting isn’t a full-contact sport like it is here in the states. So there were lots of people casting ballots against a cloudy sky but there weren’t anything like exit polls or a little counter ticking off all the precincts as they close or a preliminary result or even a percentage of population that has voted.
It’s a good thing I’m not Scottish because I have no opinion one way or the other. On the one hand – a repressed peoples sticking it to Britain and breaking free (think of my Irish loyalties…), on the other hand – could an independent Scotland survive economically?
And so without further ado, this is the day’s stream of thoughts regarding the issue:
If you noticed, it has been peculiarly quiet around here. I haven’t forgotten about you, my loyal reader(s)! Work was unexpectedly hectic and though it was cancelled a dozen times since Christmas because of Weather, that time was used to catch up on Life. It might stay quiet of a while because my MA Comp review may or may not be happening over the next 10 weeks.
But fear not! I have plenty of things I want to write about!!
Monuments Men book review (definitely read it)
Monuments Men movie review (definitely see it. Read the book first if possible.)
I went to Fredericksburg in December!
And then there are links that are relevant to my interests:
New Exhibit on Post WW2 Japanese
The death of Wild Bill Guarnere, who once said I was another fine gal. (He had a HUGE effect on the reenacting community. I knew grown men who cried when they heard he passed.)
How the Government can save money by switching to Garamond from Times New Roman (And typographers are basking in their five minutes of fame.)
Principles of using white space in Graphic Design (good designers treat white space as its own entity)
And because everyone’s been so good at reading, I’ll reward you with some personal information …