All posts by historiantara

Olympic Roundup

In honor of our podcast coming out tomorrow, here are a few links to good reads about the olympics: Why are Jamaican runners so good? This article tackles some of the historical and cultural issues embedded in that question. Skis are more than 4,000 years old.  And according to this piece they have changed a ...

We are Pain and What Cures Pain, Both

Below is a story from Tara’s CentreTerm Class on Alternate History.  Our author is Aarthi Vadhanam, a senior math major, who chose to think about the creation of the modern Middle East.  In this story, she imagines an Iran that was friendly with the United States and a major player in Middle Eastern politics.  She ...

Standing Armies and Military Parades

The latest news cycle is full of reports concerning President Trump’s desire to have a grand military parade in Washington D.C. The impetus behind this supposedly lies with the President’s positive reaction to experiencing France’s annual Bastille Day parade in person and a desire to recognize the service of the men and women of the ...

“Founding Fathers”

Did you know that the phrase “founding fathers” wasn’t coined until 1916? It was then that Warren Harding used that wording in a speech to the Republican National Convention.  Somehow, I always find this a surprising fact.  Have Americans only thought about the revolutionary generations as father figures for a century? Americans before 1916 certainly ...

What If?

I’m teaching a Centre Term class on Counterfactual and Alternate history.  We spend our time asking “What if?” and reading short stories and articles that also ask this question.  By the end of the term, my students will write their own alt hist short story and a historian’s counterfactual argument. Asking “what if?” is a ...

NFL Kneeling in Historical Context

There have been a number of great pieces on the history of sport star activism in the wake of NFL player protests.  I recognize that this is a very charged topic and I’m not here to tell you what to think.  I do, however, think historical context can always help us understand our world.  These ...

Why Columbus Day, Anyway?

If your facebook feed is anything like mine, you are seeing a number of memes about Columbus Day.  This is one of the more popular: And also: Both of which make me laugh and make good points about the age of European exploration.  There are a host of other memes about the holiday from the ...

A Day with Isaac Shelby

This weekend, I had the honor of talking about Governor Isaac Shelby at the unveiling of a memorial at his burial site.  The Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) have worked for a long time to put memorials at sites of importance to the Revolution and this was a particularly nice event. It is always ...

History through Biography*

This term, I’ve focused my upper-level colonial America course on biographies*.  Our books, with one exception, use a biographical lens to examine the time period.  In part, I chose to use biography because European colonists themselves were biographical people; interested in a narrative of who they were, how they came to be in this “new ...

Historian Spotlight: Annette Gordon-Reed

I thought you all might enjoy a collection of articles and books centered around one person.  Annette Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and is also on the faculty in the school of Arts and Sciences.  In 1997, she wrote Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy, and ...