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.

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 dad is French, and a professional baker and so they decided to bake bri…

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. Use promo code 14MHA20in the shopping cart of ND Press for 40% off and free shipping. The sale prices apply through May 31, 2020. )

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 can 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 transmitting folklore, staging…

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.

Discussing Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites

I really like teaching Susan Ferentinos' book Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites.  I like the "primer" nature on the history of sexuality and and how historiography meets interpretative practice.

Here is a class discussion guide I've created for my students, followed by the essay questions I've assigned.  Feel free to use them if they help you.

Peer-Led Class Discussion on Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites

You have 10 minutes to review the questions. You should all have your books. You will discuss the book for 45 minutes.  These questions do not need to be addressed in the order which they appear, but I have conceptualized them in order:
1.Who was this book designed for, do you think?  Given that, what can we surmise about the demographics and interests of its target audience? Why is it necessary for museums and historic sites to take on this work? 2.What are some of the biggest shifts in American historical understa…