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Facing Up to Canada’s Colonial History in Gord Downie’s “Secret Path”

Erstwhile contributing editor Graeme Pente explores the implications of a new Canadian multimedia project that encourages the country to confront its colonial history with the region’s First Peoples. You don’t make a dent / In indifference / Ya gotta haunt them, haunt them, haunt them  — Gord Downie, Secret Path (2016) The graphic novel is the…

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Facts and Fictions of the Borderlands: Early Western Literature, History, and the Burden of Being (Just) a Primary Source

Contributing editor Julia Frankenbach considers the importance of early western American literature for academic historians and for a politically engaged American public. In this moment of political confusion, facts begin to ring hollow. The broader truths and guiding ethics in the writings of our western American forebears may help as we seek the way forward.…

D1RWGH HAITI Naive painting « The Zombies » by Hector Hyppolite (1894-1948) Museum of Haitian Art of St Peter College in Port-au-Prince

Happy Halloween from Erstwhile!

Welcome to the Halloween edition of the monthly links round up! Curated by Erstwhile editor Caroline Grego, these links are bound by theme: Halloween. Why Sasquatch and other crypto-beasts haunt our imaginations by Ed Simon From Florida to Indonesia to the Himalayas to Cascadia, humans persist in seeing that which is not there: the Sasquatch.…

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American Duopoly: A History of Third-Party Challenges to the Two-Party System

As Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s political fortunes fluctuate, Erstwhile editors Beau Driver and Graeme Pente offer an overview of the history of attempts, from both within and without parties, to change the United States’ two-party political system. With the spectacular collapse of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign during the last two weeks, political pundits are…

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October Links Round-Up

Erstwhile editor Sam Bock compiles and comments on a short list of links related to history and working in academia. From Toledo to Standing Rock: The recent decision to call up the National Guard at Standing Rock conjured up images of Guard–led repression throughout US history by Bradley J. Sommer Following up on our very own…

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“A Dangerous Mexican Weed”—Remembering Race and Agriculture in Colorado’s Cannabis History

Erstwhile guest contributor Nick Johnson shares some historical context on the history of marijuana in the Centennial State. Nick is the author of the forthcoming book Grass Roots: An Agricultural History of Cannabis in the American West (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2017). Known to the internet as “The Hempiricist,” he also blogs at Hempirical Evidence and…

Protest encampment near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Photograph courtesy Elizabeth Fenn.

Crude Entanglements: The Dakota Access Pipeline Controversy and the Troubling History of Corporations in Indian Country

Erstwhile contributing editor Alessandra Link reveals disturbing parallels between the present-day Dakota Access Pipeline controversy and the long history of covert corporate maneuvering in Indian Country. While mainstream media outlets focus on the legal conflict between the Standing Rock Sioux and the federal government, the oil company itself has slid beyond wide public recognition. Link…

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Remembering the Great Sea Island Storm of 1893: Mermaids, culpability, and the postbellum Lowcountry

Erstwhile editor Caroline Grego reflects on her dissertation research from the summer and explores the ways in which African Americans in the South Carolina and Georgia sea islands – the Lowcountry – understood the Great Sea Island Storm of 1893, a hurricane that killed thousands of African Americans.  Meteorologists later estimated that the storm was…

University of Colorado Boulder students walk past Hellems on their way to classes with the majestic Flatirons in the background. (Photo by Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado)

Graduate History Conference at CU Boulder this Weekend

Erstwhile introduces this weekend’s conference run by CU’s history graduate students. Every year for the past sixteen years, the graduate students in the Department of History at the University of Colorado Boulder have hosted the Rocky Mountain Interdisciplinary History Conference (RMIHC). This conference brings together aspiring historians from across the country for two days in…