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…

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…

How to run a graduate student conference: RMIHC co-chairs provide a guide

This week, contributing editors Caroline Grego and Graeme Pente share their tips for organizing a graduate student conference. Both have served as co-chairs of the CU Boulder History Department’s Rocky Mountain Interdisciplinary History Conference (RMIHC), which is in its eighteenth year and attracts graduate students from across the country. Graeme was a co-chair in 2015…

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…