Graphic Histories: “Castro” by Reinhard Kleist

Graeme Pente reviews Reinhard Kleist’s graphic novel surveying the life of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Erstwhile‘s Graphic Histories series.   “No one fears that we should transform ourselves into dictators. Only he who does not have the support of the people becomes a dictator.” — Fidel Castro, January 1959 Few figures of the twentieth century…

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Archive

Erstwhile guest contributor Amelia Brackett (Ph.D. student, CU Boulder) considers the perplexing influence of identity in the practice of oral history. Unlike other historians, oral historians must consider how the outward manifestations of their identities and personas shape the conversations they can incite and, therefore, the evidence they can gather. Brackett shares some of her experiences…

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…