This past week, I started retooling my online presence, both on this website and on Twitter. I made the changes after a lot of reflection and with some misgivings over what I was doing. While not dramatic, I had decided to reduce the prominence of my academic qualifications and accomplishments. On Twitter, for example, my … Continue reading Life after academia: a status report
When Christopher Columbus strode ashore in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492, he famously called the indigenous people he met “Indians.” The main talking points of his legacy are still the consequences of his arrival for the people who bear that incongruous label: millions would suffer and die, and cultures would struggle to endure the … Continue reading Columbus, Indians, and the Guanches
No matter what you write, if you’ve done your research thoroughly, your first draft is probably going to be too long. If you’ve never written a book, the thought of having at least 80,000 words to fill might seem daunting rather than a restriction. For people who have asked me to help them write a … Continue reading Should it stay, or should it go?
In my blog post on book breaking (and the version published by Slate), I wrote of two items that ought to belong in an academic historian’s tool kit: narrative and microbiography. Narrative requires a blog post of its own (but no, I did not mean writing fancy sentences and dumbing down serious work for the … Continue reading Microbiography: Turn over all stones
Spend any time (it won’t take very long) listening to or reading the words of people in the pseudohistory and pseudoarchaeology worlds, and you will encounter a standard riposte to scholarly objections to their theories and evidence. The scholarly world is a closed shop that suppresses innovative ideas of outsiders—even of its own accredited members—in … Continue reading Pseudohistorians claim scholars are hostile to innovative ideas. Do they have a point?
Ship breaking in Bangladesh. Source: http://www.travelyourassoff.com/2012/01/abandon-ship-chittagong-ship-breaking.html In January 2018, Karin Wulf, a history professor at William and Mary and director of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, wrote an instalment for her blog, Vast Early America, entitled “Efficient Reading”. Professor Wulf tossed a lifeline to doctoral students everywhere struggling with the overwhelming impossibility … Continue reading Book breaking, and book mending
Excerpt from Chapter 7 of The Place of Stone In the summer of 1839, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, the superintendent of Indian affairs for the Michigan territory, arrived at his post at Michilimackinac, the island on the strait between lakes Michigan and Huron. Schoolcraft had been active in ethnology and philology in the United States for … Continue reading Shingwauk’s Reading: Dighton Rock and Henry Rowe Schoolcraft’s Troubled Ethnology