Posts

Affective Practices and the Trauma of Ordinary and Extraordinary Life

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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

Derry City Book news!

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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. This code is good until 12/7/20. Until December 7, 2020, my book is 40% with free shipping using the promo code in your shopping cart: 14GIVEBKS here . 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

Come Talk To Me About Public History!

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

Why Public History?

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

Kavanaugh: This Was No Witch Hunt

I recently wrote this piece in response to the comparisons of Kavanaugh's hearings to the witch trials in Salem in 1692 on behalf of Voices Against Injustice, a Salem-based nonprofit organization: The winds of Salem are rising.  From Canada’s Calgary Herald to Fox News, in blogs and tweets,  reporters, columnists and pundits have compared recent Senate hearings on the confirmation of  Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the witch trials that consumed Salem, Massachusetts  in 1692.  Their claims, righteous and protective, defend Kavanaugh from his accusers and point to  a “witch hunt,” an hysterical web of conspiracy and lies. “No evidence!”  They clamor that Kavanaugh is “a convenient scapegoat” for those who identify with  the political left.  He is innocent, unjustly accused, caught in the turmoil of a political and cultural tempest  much like the victims of Salem.  The notion that Kavanaugh is a victim has been splashed all over  media. These claims are unfo

A Poem about Home

Just a few nights after my mother died, my sister Ellen and I were driving to a hotel near the small cottage at a senior community where my parents have lived since 2013. "What are we going to do?  Mom was home." she said. "I feel homeless," I said. It is true.  Our mother's heart was our port in the storm, an open welcome, a space of rest and respite.  The bricks and mortar surrounding her didn't matter.  She, herself, made us feel safe and loved, always and unconditionally. I came across this poem by Ruth Carr, that reminds me of our family home, and even more of our mom: There is a House there is a house whose door will not close in my face where there will always be a place for one more at the table. there is a house that lets in light all the year round even in the winter the weakest of suns reaches in. there is a house with walls that hold me like branches with a roof of summer leaves and roots that go deep. there is a house