Author Archives: Guest Blogger

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.” 

High School Student Activism: Past and Present

By Dionne Danns

As a child, I always enjoyed watching Eyes on the Prize on PBS during Black History Month. I was fascinated both by the history of discrimination and the courageous efforts of young people to fight back against what seemed like insurmountable odds. The images of young children in Birmingham being sprayed by water hoses during peaceful protests, college students rising up on their campuses, and students desegregating schools inspired me. From participating in sit-ins to freedom rides to efforts to desegregate schools, students were on the frontlines of many of the civil rights protests.

Encouraging Nuance in Holocaust History

By Rebecca Erbelding

The story of the Holocaust is generally told with a great deal of certitude. Beyond white supremacist hate groups and the dark corners of the Internet, the genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its collaborators against millions of Jews and the systematic targeting of Roma, Slavs, Soviet POWs, the disabled, homosexuals, and other groups are universally condemned. Nazi leaders are rarely lionized, Germans don’t anticipate that Nazi Germany will rise again, and those murdered in the Holocaust are remembered as innocent victims of racism and antisemitism who bore no responsibility for their fate.

Part of the Religious DNA: Islam in America

By Ethan Ehrenhaft

In 2009, archaeologists uncovered a small copper medallion in a pit at Fort Shirley, Pennsylvania. Dated to the early 1750s, the trinket may have gone unnoticed were it not for the single phrase in Arabic emblazoned on its surface: “No god but Allah.” Its owner was most likely an enslaved person in the service of trader George Croghan. The Fort Shirley medallion has become part of a rare yet influential assortment of artifacts connected to the lives of enslaved Muslims in the United States.

2018 Humanities Advocacy Day: Building on Last Year’s Wins

By Beatrice Gurwitz

Over the course of February and March, advocacy organizations of all stripes host “fly-in” days, where advocates from around the country come to Capitol Hill to make the case for federal funding priorities. These events are concentrated in February and March to align with the beginning of the congressional appropriations cycle. After the president submits a budget request in February, Congress begins its own budgeting and appropriations process: Members of Congress submit individual requests and sign on to collective letters that make the case for particular priorities.

History at the Office: How a Business Analyst Uses Her History Degree

By Stephanie Fulbright

I earned my undergraduate degrees in history and business, and while my primary interest was in history, by graduation I had burned out on academia. Looking for a change of pace, I took a job at a healthcare IT organization. As I gained more work experience, I noticed I drew on the skills I learned as a history major more frequently than the skills from my business major. I began to see how well thinking like a historian applied to my roles as a project manager and a business analyst. 

Research-Oriented: Translating a History PhD into a Successful Career at a Think Tank

By Ashton Merck

Think tanks, also known as research institutes, advocacy organizations, and policy centers, are often described as “universities without students.” These organizations run the gamut of political orientations, thematic focus, size, and scope, but most share a common emphasis on research and writing—two core features of doctoral programs in history. Thus, working at a think tank seems like a perfect example of the kind of career outside academia that forward-thinking institutions and professional associations, including the AHA, are increasingly encouraging history PhDs to pursue.

Students in the Trenches: Using Operation War Diary to Teach the First World War

By Susan Corbesero

About a half hour into tagging frontline records in the Operation War Diary project, the room of high school sophomores erupted. “Rats! These trenches are filled with them.” “That’s not so bad; the officer here is talking about trench foot.” “It looks like 95 soldiers died on just this one day!” “My battalion doesn’t seem to move anywhere.” “Oh no! This unit is heading to Ypres.” As an educator, I could not have found the moment more gratifying.