Strawberry Queen

In case you missed it on Historians Cooking the Past, I am posting my essay about my mom,  Janice Weigand Shea, here.

June 30, 2020

If he had a tail, my father's would have been wagging. He would dash from wherever he was when the car approached the driveway and stand at the screen door, waiting. "Here she comes! All hail the Strawberry Queen!"
My mother emerged from the shadows into the flourescent light of the garage, smile and sneer competing on her face as she kicked off muddy construction boots. "Oh, please." Still, she liked the title. Returning from a 16-hour work day at the pick-your-own strawberry farm she managed with fields in Plainville, Hamden and North Haven, Connecticut, she'd kiss him hello and head to the shower, first peeling off dirt-encrusted jeans and a tee shirt with a big red strawberry on it.
My dad would bring her a cocktail or an icy glass of white wine and heat up whatever he had made for dinner. It was a reverse from business…

My Coronavirus Cooking

I love to cook.  It will come as no surprise to most readers that my response to the suspension of ordinary life in the face of a public health emergency is to retreat to the kitchen and to experience and process this moment through and with food.  Over the next few weeks (or months,) I will be posting images of what I am cooking along with a short reflection on how the food relates to what is happening in my head and in the world. Am I fiddling while Rome burns?  Yes, of course.  I know this.  It is human, though, to try to retain control in spheres where we can, and to nourish ourselves and our loved ones......

The posts are in chronological order, with the most recent post appearing first.  It got difficult to continue to update this, so it is pretty dated.

MAY 6, 2020
Brioche Breadmaking with my Student
 My public history students had the option to contribute to Historians Cooking the Past. Generally, this has been awesome and I am really proud of their work. One student's d…

Nancy MacLean to come to Salem State March 5, 2020

I am so excited for this event!

Affective Practices and the Trauma of Ordinary and Extraordinary Life

I've been doing some more reading in this great book  in which I had the chance to include a chapter.

It's made me want to generalize a little about emotion and affect in heritage -- to take some lessons away from the work I did for the book and try to apply it more generally.

I see it this way:

Affective practices simply refuse to be contained within binary frameworks like before/after, war/peace, public/private and us/them and insist on the traces that link ordinary and everyday experiences to histories of conflict. Bodies interrupt discourses as well as participate in them. Visitors, bystanders and participants in heritage practices may confirm, deny or, in this case, simply complicate the goals of heritage in the present. 
My work here was in post-conflict societies.  Many post-conflict heritage projects aim to explore and expunge emotional burdens associated with histories and heritages shaped by conflict and forged in violence. But I really think that we need projects t…

Derry City Book news!

Very excited to share the catalogue info for Derry City!

(Note: If you want to buy the book, check here regularly, because I post discount promo codes from the press as they become available. The paperback won't be out for awhile, and the hardcover is pricey. Enter promo code 14SUM20in the shopping cart to redeem 40% off your purchase. Note that I had to try it a few times to get it to "take.")

The book traces the social and cultural history of Catholic and nationalist Derry from the end of the 19th century to the 1960s through the lens of memory and thus explores how engagements with memory might help us better understand history. Mapping memory work and historical consciousness, I argue through this book, illuminates a deep reservoir of a community’s experience and makes visible battles that were waged quietly, out of the limelight over long periods of time.

When they were producing formal historical accounts, local chronicles, telling ghost stories and transmittin…

Come Talk To Me About Public History!

I'll be hanging out on Saturday ready to talk public history with you!  Come see me.........

Why Public History?

When you search Google for a definition of public history, this is one of the first things to pop up.

My own definition of public history is very different from the one proffered in that piece.  Public history, as far as I am concerned, is not a bridge between academic history and the public.  It is not simply history for public audiences.  The field, in fact, is somewhat split between those who see public history as primarily public-facing and those who see it as, first and foremost, public-engaging.  There is no animosity between practitioners with these different orientations, at least not that I am aware of. Me?  Public-engaging all the way.  More fun, more interesting and for me, more meaningful.