That’s me, “profhistorygeek.” It’s not just who I am, but it’s what I am as well.
I am an historian (I have a PhD from the University of Toronto, if that makes a difference) and I am rabid for all things history. Right now, I teach as a sessional or adjunct (part-time) professor at a number of universities in and around Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. I spent the decade prior to that teaching at just about every university that you could possibly commute to from the Toronto area via Greyhound bus, VIA train and/or Air Canada flight. Like many who have run the gauntlet of graduate school and survived/graduated, I am still in search of the elusive tenure-track job. But in the meantime, I keep busy with teaching, mentoring students, writing historical zombie fiction (yes, historical zombie fiction) and doing union work advocating for part-time professors’ rights.
I will be using this blog to post about history matters, teaching experiences and ideas (and frustrations) and about various other history and geek-like things that catch my eye. I will also, from time to time, be blogging about more general stuff: you know, the sort of day to day stuff that gets us interested, angry and ready to say something public. So don’t be surprised if you see a blog post about politics, politics or politics! I may even trot out some of the zombie historical fiction!
I will be posting my first “real” post later this week (when I find time in between teaching, preparing for next semester and normal life chores). But here are a few things you need to know about me before you start reading anything I might post. Call them “trigger warnings” if you will:
- I love a good debate. And by “good,” I mean one that all ideas and opinions are welcome, so long as they are expressed in a respectful manner. Being able to voice an opinion carries with it a reciprocal responsibility to listen thoughtfully and attentively to the other side of the issue. Debate is lively and mutually respectful. Trolling is not a form of debate.
- My main area of research is war, politics and society in France and England (and their colonies) prior to 1815, so there may be some posts that talk about these subjects. This does not mean I am a war-monger, neo-Conservative or some sort of historical trog who just doesn’t get that “history has moved on” and worships the military complex. I am none of those things. I am simply someone trying to understand the workings of power through social, political and military capital in an age where war was a constant. I find it fascinating but also realize that others may not. And if I can help to dispel the idea that all military history is simply tactical history, so much the better. There is a socio-cultural history of war that badly needs to be written and I hope to help bring that about.
- I am not sure I believe that people of the 15th century (as an example) should be chastised for not holding to or acting in such a way that reflect the values of those 21st century people and historians who study and discuss them. I am not sure it is entirely sound historical methodology. But I am interested in hearing differing views on that . . . (see point #1).
- I love teaching and helping my students to learn and grow as people and scholars. There will be a great deal said about my work with students here. I will speak only in the general, however, to preserve their privacy. No students will be named or harmed by this blog.
- I may say some things — pointed, blunt and/or downright rude things — about the treatment of adjunct/sessional/part-time professors in higher education. Be prepared.
- I am a vintage toy collector, so there may be some of that mentioned.
- I am a fan of the Oxford comma. Be forewarned.
Thanks for reading. More to come!