The Historian as Writer, in Letters

This week Erstwhile’s Alessandra Link meditates on the creative possibilities and common stressors that touch writers during these unsettling times. Drawing inspiration from Aaron Sachs’s “Letters to a Tenured Historian,”[1] Link considers the seeming tensions between the craft of writing and the disciplinary requirements of the historical profession in a series of letters to a…

An appeal for grace: The white historian’s responsibility to radical empathy and refuting the “invented past”

On February 14th, 2017, Representative Joseph “Joe” Neal (D) from Richland County, South Carolina, died unexpectedly at age sixty-six. Rep. Neal served as a pastor, an advocate for environmental justice, and a civil rights activist. He descended from slaves in lower Richland County, a rural and predominantly African American community south of Columbia, the state’s…

“Better Professors, Better Professionals”: Career Diversity Programs in Practice

Jen McPherson (PhD Candidate, University of New Mexico) is a graduate project assistant for the American Historical Association’s Career Diversity Initiative  at the University of New Mexico. Today she shares some important lessons from her work with Erstwhile.  For the last three years, the History Department at the University of New Mexico has been one of four pilot programs participating…

Donald Trump and the Failure of the Enlightenment

Erstwhile contributing editor Graeme Pente reflects on the rise of skepticism about observed reality and what it means for the intellectual foundations of our modern world. The president lives in his own reality. From erroneous claims about voter fraud to explain away his losing the popular vote to “alternative facts” about the size of the inauguration…

“There’s Nothing Sacred About the Academic Path”: Reflections on the American Historical Association’s 2017 Conference

Erstwhile is back from our holiday break! This week Sara Porterfield reflects on her experience at the American Historical Association’s annual conference and the relationship between academic and non-academic careers and historians.  The American Historical Association (AHA) held its annual conference in Denver over the first weekend of 2017, complete with single-digit temperatures and a foot of…

Happy Holidays from Erstwhile

The contributing editors at Erstwhile wish you a happy holiday season. While the bloggers are on leave, we hope you will revisit and enjoy the semester’s material. Thoughtful historical commentary on current events, research, and ideas will resume in January!