Erstwhile Interviews Dr. Kent Blansett on A Journey to Freedom

Erstwhile’s Alessandra Link caught up with Dr. Kent Blansett (Associate Professor of History, University of Nebraska-Omaha) to discuss his latest publication, A Journey to Freedom: Richard Oakes, Alcatraz, and the Red Power Movement (Yale University Press, 2018). Dr. Blansett is also the Primary Investigator of the American Indian Digital History Project. An exhibit featuring items collected…

What’s in a Name? Louisville’s City Parks as Sites of Learning

In the third installment of “The Monuments Among Us” series (see Sara Porterfield’s post on Bears Ears here and Travis May’s discussion of British memorials here), Erstwhile editor Alessandra Link reflects on three city parks in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Link makes abstract and concrete connections between the Kentucky frontier mythology enshrined in the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 and…

More than a Word, More than a Holiday Meal: Conversations for Native American Heritage Month

In recognition of Native American Heritage Month Erstwhile Contributing Editor Alessandra Link offers links to articles and projects that have recently caught her attention. From Indigenous-produced documentary films to a new digital Indigenous history project, authors are using a wide variety of media to convey Indigenous stories of past and present. Jon Hurdle, “Ruined ‘Apartments’…

In Defense of the Portfolio: A New Gatekeeper to Candidacy

Erstwhile Contributing Editor Alessandra Link shares her reflections on the portfolio comprehensive exam process at University of Colorado, Boulder. Modeled off of tenure dossiers, portfolios provide students with material that they can take with them to the job market. The portfolio process, Link explains, also prompts increased student-faculty interaction., This uptick in conversation should help…

Mindfulness in the Classroom: A Conversation

Today Erstwhile editor Alessandra Link and Dr. Rebecca Kennedy de Lorenzini (Lecturer, History & Literature, Harvard University) discuss mindfulness in the classroom. Link points out that many academics cast a wary eye towards the subject of mindfulness. And yet universities are increasingly turning to mindfulness strategies—an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of techniques aimed…

Beyond the Grid: An Argument for Capacious Cartography

Maps have oriented humans in space for millennia. Today Alessandra Link adapts her recent American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) roundtable presentation for Erstwhile. Link reflects on the roundtable theme of Indigenous mobility and place by exploring how Western mapmaking served an expanding U.S. empire and, in turn, how Indigenous cartographic knowledge shaped colonial encounters…

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…