Rachel Feinmark leads a public tour at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City.

Who’s Afraid of Being a Generalist? On Being a Historian outside the Academy

By Rachel Feinmark

After two years of endless academic job applications, Skype interviews, and harrowing job talks, I was exhausted from reinventing myself on a daily basis. For all the effort, I was starting to suspect that I might not even want any of the jobs I was working so hard to get. When I finally gave myself permission to apply for the public history positions I’d secretly been coveting, I felt a sense of relief. But as I revised my teaching statement for a museum studies role, I came to realize that I was less interested in refining my class on the history of display than I was in creating the display myself.

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Historians in the News: Linda Colley on Brexit

By Linda Colley

“Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?”

This is the question on which citizens of the United Kingdom will vote on June 23. Historians have actively participated in the debate during the lead up to the national plebiscite. A group of 42 calling themselves Historians for Britain have advocated leaving the European Union, while a much larger group of historians have signed a letter saying that leaving the EU will “condemn Britain to irrelevance.” Given the long interwoven fates of the countries that now make up the European Union, contributions by historians are vital to understanding the geopolitics of remaining or leaving.

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AHA Member Spotlight Eric G. E. Zuelow

AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.

Eric G. E. Zuelow is an associate professor of European history at the University of New England. He lives in Portland, Maine, and has been a member since 1998.

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Manor home of Shirley Plantation, Virginia's oldest plantation, founded in 1613 in Charles City, Virginia. In her research, Holmes compares the evolution of the plantation house in Virginia, South Carolina, and Barbados. Credit: Library of Congress

Visiting the Past and the Places in Between: Buildings and Landscapes as Historical Documents

In 1953, L.P. Hartley wrote that “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” Historians and lay readers alike are familiar with the idea that the past is a different place, but often lose sight of the word “place” in that discussion. Like any other place, we can travel to the past. Most often, we do this through the written word. We read primary sources that introduce us to foreign cultures and practices that once existed in the very location (sometimes down to the exact longitude and latitude) we do today, albeit in a place—a historical context encompassing geography, culture, and more—that would be utterly alien.

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Outer Space Exploration in Divided Germany

By Colleen Anderson

Outer space travel during the Cold War is most often associated with the Space Race, when the United States and the Soviet Union competed to achieve increasingly ambitious milestones in space travel. However, outer space exploration during these years stretched far beyond the borders of the US and USSR. Across the globe, people followed developments in space travel, from the launch of the first satellite Sputnik in 1957 to the Apollo moon landing in 1969. Scientists and engineers from places such as Europe, Japan, China, and India participated in space research and built the technology used on manned and unmanned space missions.

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The Rise of Dalit Studies and Its Impact on the Study of India: An Interview with Historian Ramnarayan Rawat

Last month, controversy erupted again in California over the portrayal of the South Asian subcontinent in history textbooks. Among the disputed points was whether schools in California should teach Dalit history and the history of the caste system to students. While the word “Dalit” may ring unfamiliar to most outside the subcontinent, Dalit history is a burgeoning field of study in academia, both in the United States and India alike. We caught up with historian Ramnarayan Rawat (Univ. of Delaware), co-editor of the recently released Dalit Studies (2016), to ask him what Dalit studies is and what the future of the field looks like.

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