Author Archives: Guest Blogger

History Is Relevant Everywhere: An International Scholar’s Perspective on the Annual Meeting

By Antia Wiersma

On the one day between the first European winter storm of the year and a North American snow blizzard, I flew to Washington, DC, to participate in the 2018 AHA annual meeting. The United States and the Netherlands are both dealing with difficult issues regarding structural discrimination of certain groups in society, and both are engaged in vigorous debates about history and memory in the public sphere. I came to the AHA annual meeting hoping to get some new perspectives on these issues, and to see how historians in a different political and social context are tackling these debates. 

The Gallery and the Gridiron: Learning about Career Diversity at an NFL Football Club

By Matthew Reeves

When I arrived at the headquarters of the Kansas City Chiefs Football Club it was like landing on another planet. Gone were the cinderblock walls, linoleum flooring, and flickering fluorescents of campus; in their place was a plush, tastefully designed working space shared by coaches, executives, and current players. It was nearly impossible not to be star struck by celebrity athletes, especially in a city that adores its local team. It was immediately clear to me, however, that I, like everyone else in the building, was there to work. 

Can We Right the Past? Memory and the Present

By Caroline E. Janney

Last night, the National Geographic Channel aired the first episode of Katie Couric’s new six-part documentary series, America Inside Out. In Re-Righting History, Couric investigated the contentious and at times violent battles that have erupted in the past three years over the removal of Confederate symbols and names from the public landscape. Beginning with extensive coverage of Charlottesville where Couric was on site for the far-right rally ostensibly to protect a statue of Robert E. Lee, the episode offers an opportunity to reflect on how contemporary Americans continue to both romanticize and struggle to come to terms with the more complex and less triumphant aspects of the nation’s history.

Collaborative Historical Research: Notes from Eastern and Central Africa

Editor’s Note: This piece is second in a series of two posts on collaborative historical research. The first post can be found at blog.historians.org/2017/08/when-historians-collaborate-scholarship-benefits/ 

By Catherine Cymone Fourshey and Christine Saidi

Between 1880 and the early 1960s, all of Africa, except Ethiopia and Liberia, was under colonial occupation by European powers. Colonial rule came with political and economic domination and contentious struggles between the colonized and colonizers over cultural and social values. Gender relations, in particular, were strikingly impacted by colonial norms and needs.

Exploring Career Possibilities with ImaginePhD

By Kaete O’Connell

I arrived at my first AHA annual meeting layered in clothing and emotions. The expected trepidation (is there anything more overwhelming than stepping into a hotel literally buzzing with historians?), was coupled with curiosity and a smidge of excitement. I was attending as an observer, getting my feet wet for next year when I will be on the job market. To get the most out of a busy three days, I attended a variety of panels discussing everything from teaching methods to writing historical fiction.

Food in the West: Using TimelineJS in the Classroom

By Julia M. Gossard

“Never underestimate the ‘hangry.’” This might as well be one of the learning objectives in my Foundations of Western Civilization course at Utah State University. Whether the bread riots of the 1790s in France, the “Hungry 1840s,” or the starvation of Russian citizens after the conclusion of World War II, food (and access to it) has continued to be a mobilizing factor in history. By examining what people ate and how they ate at different points in time, we can know a lot about a particular era’s economic conditions, social mores, political conflicts, religious issues, and nutrition.

Defying Gravity: The Origins of American Space Tourism

By Emily A. Margolis

On the morning of February 20, 1962, Mrs. Curtis Hamilton served her family a “good, hot breakfast,” just as she did every day. But on this day her family dined al fresco, sipping coffee from thermoses on the dunes of Cocoa Beach, Florida, as they awaited the start of America’s first crewed orbital spaceflight. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Hicks, drove in with their granddaughter Debra from Waco, Texas, to join the catered launch party. Meanwhile many more onlookers gazed skyward from the Beach Causeway, which now resembled a parking lot rather than a roadway.

The National History Center’s New Teaching Decolonization Resource Collection

By Annabel LaBrecque

In a Native American history class, during our second in-class discussion of the semester, I mentioned the term “decolonization” while deliberating over that week’s readings about ancient Cahokian and Caddoan civilizations. My professor stopped me mid-sentence: “Is everyone familiar with this concept? Decolonization?” My classmates remained silent, and my professor turned back to me. “Please, elaborate.”