The (Award Winning) Erstwhile Blog Entries of 2017

Erstwhile editor Julia Frankenbach has been recognized for the outstanding quality of her writing in the Center of the American West’s Thompson Writing Awards contest. Two of her Erstwhile blog posts “I Remember You: Wildness, Gratitude, and Western History on Horseback” and “The True Tale of Periquillo: Early Borderlands Literature, American Memory, and the Space Between” were honored this year. Erstwhile…

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…

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…

Reasserting White Supremacy: South Carolina’s Ben Tillman and the 2016 presidential election

On July 10th, 2015, members of a South Carolina Highway Patrol honor guard reeled down the Confederate flag from a pole in front of the statehouse. Ten thousand onlookers roared excitedly as the flag descended, some cheering “USA! USA! USA!” – a traditionally patriotic shout that took on new meaning when chanted at the flag representing the Confederate…

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…

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…

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…