As a public historian, I take an active role in these very processes while sometimes guiding and offering critical perspective and scholarly insight into them. I am interested in participatory memory work at every level, so I initiate projects, advise on them, teach students how to implement them and study them ethnographically. The ways we reflect on, live through and transcend the past is my passion.
For more about my commitments to public history, please click here. Teaching is central to my work in public history. To see examples of some projects I have developed with my students at Salem State and Sewanee: University of the South, click here.
I found my way to academia after pursuing other things, most of which involved efforts to animate a vision for social justice in places that mattered very much to me, the cities of central Connecticut where I was raised and the hills of western Massachusetts that became my chosen home. I ran a six-bed home for HIV symptomatic residents in my hometown, Meriden, CT. I raised funds, conducted research and did marketing for a nonprofit community loan fund developed dedicated to community development, historic preservation and community reinvestment in New Haven, CT . I spent many years developing and directing service-learning programs, all the while striving to push the movement for civic engagement towards deeper reflection, more critical analysis and more honest dialogue about both the structural inequalities in U.S. society and the ways that our strengths and talents as individuals, communities and constituencies could improve our individual lives and our common lot.
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Why the flickering lamp? The name of my website comes from a quote by Winston Churchill: "History, with its flickering lamp, stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days." I love the image of the flickering lamp and I love the imagery of resolution despite inevitable clumsiness and incompleteness. I like to think that our curiosity, our imagination and our commitments to deep, careful and generous exploration of the past can help us make better sense of the present and create a more just future. Most people I know just use their name.com or whatever for their little piece of web real estate, but as many times as I've considered changing it, I kind of like it.
Around the Web
- My Salem State faculty page
- Some of my published work and the text of talks I've given can be viewed or downloaded from Academia.edu.
- If you are interested in my book, there is 40% off and free shipping until March 19, 2021 with the code:14AWP21 here. (Type, don't copy and paste the code.)
****The views expressed on this blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Salem State University.