As I walk to work in the morning, the first thing I see as I head toward the AHA office is the US Capitol, which not only symbolizes a public sector gone awry but also shares the honor of host for the current orgy of disregard for the common good. This observation isn’t partisan, at least not in the current moment: both Republican and Democratic policy makers from previous administrations have noted that “Washington” is not operating as it should. Nor, even, as it usually has.
“In order to make history, we first have to understand how history has made us,” reads the introduction to Made by History, a new history blog on WashingtonPost.com. The blog, which takes inspiration from a quote by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for its title, offers historians a major public platform to situate current events in their historical context. As co-editors-in-chief Brian Rosenwald (Univ. of Pennsylvania) and Nicole Hemmer (Univ. of Virginia) write, “In an era seemingly defined by the word unprecedented, it’s easy to feel like political, technological and social revolutions have severed our link to history.
The pages of the Hill Rag, Capitol Hill’s monthly newspaper, were filled with remembrances of Steve Cymrot last month. Steve, who passed away on November 29, was the founder of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, owner of Riverby Books on East Capitol Street, and the mastermind behind the Capitol Hill oral history project, all of which are projects that he worked on with his wife Nicky.
Historians can take a wide variety of career paths, from policy to public history and beyond. The 129th annual meeting has already hosted many sessions showcasing the nontraditional career tracks many of our colleagues have chosen. “Historians Writing Fiction: Outside of the Academy,” held on Saturday morning in the Hilton’s Sutton Center, featured three successful fiction writers who decided to leave an academic trajectory to pursue their craft independently.
Andrea Cremer, author of the bestselling Nightshade series; David Coe, an award-winning fantasy writer; and Laura Kamoie, who writes romance and historical fiction under the pen name Laura Kaye, had all earned doctorates in history before deciding to pursue fiction writing full-time.
Do you have what it takes to be a reality TV star? I recently received an open casting call for a “history based reality TV show” that will be filmed in the DC Metro area, and thought our readers might be up for a little fun in the lime light.
Although the parade is over, and everyone who attended Monday night’s inaugural ball has hopefully recovered, I still have one more addition to the 2013 inauguration conversation.