The Right Kind of Digging (A Poem)

Managing Editor Julia Frankenbach offers a poem seven years in the making. Originally composed in the author’s sophomore year at Mount Holyoke College, the poem has endured flurries of adjustment, gradually rooting itself in the northern California landscape as the author focused her studies there. Like the unpredictable layering process for British artist Rebecca Vincent’s original monotypes…

Historians Speak: A Collection of Resources, by Historians, on Charlottesville and the Charged Politics of Civil War Memory

  Following the violent demonstration by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12th, national dialogue about the significance of American history—and its telling—has crescendoed. Two weeks after white supremacists clashed with counter-protestors over the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, public leaders have turned unprecedented critical attention to other public…

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!

The True Tale of Periquillo: Early Borderlands Literature, American Memory, and the Space Between

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.…

Finding the Words: An Account of UW-Madison’s 2016 CHE Graduate Student Symposium

Erstwhile editor Julia Frankenbach recounts her experience at “E is for Environment,” UW-Madison’s recent graduate student symposium hosted by the Center for Culture, History & the Environment (CHE). Last Saturday morning, an unfamiliar rosy light filtered through curtains. Expecting a rosy sunrise, I looked from my window on the fourth floor of a conference center…

Re-Membering the Llano: California’s Multiple Histories as an Island

Erstwhile blogger Julia Frankenbach reflects on historical and contemporary notions of California as an exotic place. California has come together more than once. In multiple histories—in matter and in mind—the massive swath of land on the western cusp of North America assembled and assumed a place on the continent. My efforts to assemble memories of…