Reckoning with the Past: Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial as Model

In the fifth installment of “The Monuments Among Us” series (see Sara Porterfield’s post on Bears Ears here, Travis May’s discussion of British memorials here, Alessandra Link’s reflection on Louisville’s city parks here, and Caroline Grego’s review of South Carolina house museums here), Erstwhile contributing editor Graeme Pente draws attention to the National Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. Covering…

Moving away from monuments: Doing southern history well at two South Carolina house museums

In the fourth installment of “The Monuments Among Us” series (see Sara Porterfield’s post on Bears Ears here, Travis May’s discussion of British memorials here and Alessandra Link’s reflection on Louisville’s city parks here), Erstwhile contributing editor Caroline Grego considers how two house museums in her hometown of Columbia, South Carolina, could provide a counterpoint to Confederate statuary. The featured image…

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…

An American Band with Baggage: Drive-By Truckers and the Weight of History

Erstwhile editor Graeme Pente reviews the historical content and engagement of Drive-By Truckers’ well-regarded eleventh album, released in 2016. “Even in times of vast upheaval, things just don’t change enough.” — Patterson Hood, American Band liner notes The Drive-By Truckers’ eleventh studio album American Band (2016) topped numerous best-of lists last year for its fine compositions…

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…

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…

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…