I don’t remember where I read it, but I do remember who it was: Jeffrey Perl, professor of literature. “History begins at the moment of recognition,” he quipped. Immediately, almost reflexively (because that’s how historians read), I began to switch those words about. If “History” begins when we recognize it, then “History” ends when (more…)

At Butte College, students and I have begun work on a Civil War project. We’re using the University of Virginia’s digital archive collection called Valley of the Shadow. In teams of three or four, students are to put together a podcast that tells the story of just a single family who experienced America’s most bloody conflagration: the war between the states. What I have done here is to (more…)

This podcast, the next episode of Key Concepts in History, focuses on the historical practice of “abridgement.” Now, don’t go thinking that’s a good thing. I assure you abridgement is a faux pas, something to be avoided at all cost. But, unfortunately, it’s a common error, especially with budding scholars. This podcast focuses on Sir Herbert Butterfield’s cautioning about abridgement, a warning he made to budding historians all the way back in 1931. Give it a listen.  (more…)

The way the twenty-first-century media bandies about the terms “Liberal” and “Conservative” is it any wonder that many incoming college freshman really don’t know the meaning of these words? (more…)

Last Semester, when I asked this question to students: “Where do your rights come from?“, none of these twenty first-century learners answered quite in the way the people of the eighteenth century would have. Here’s a podcast that explains why. Be sure to (more…)

My research led me to the British Museum in London to explore their holdings of satirical prints ala the mid-eighteenth century. Among the thousands of excellently stored and catalogued prints lay one particular visual depiction that has become central to my dissertation: “Bung Triumphant,” print number 3361 (image 4 of 4 shown at bottom). Chock full of symbolism, none more so than (more…)

2,400 words plus into the body of one my dissertation chapters, it dawned on me that I was not in a place where I wanted be. The words were halting, the research I had conducted less giving, and, well, if one could use an honest phrase, when I read my work “bull s*#t” came to mind. Arrrggh.

“Writing is a thinker’s game,” said (more…)

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