Liberals, Conservatives, and Some Crazy Articles

History of Conservatism

If historical mindedness “is the superior way to make sense of reality,” then why is Carlson “troubled by the growing interest of American conservatives in the history of their cause?”  This is either contradictory, or – in the mind of Carlson – conservatives are unable to make sense of reality.  This is a deeply troubling introduction to a rather biased article based upon the premise that conservatism is based on illegitimate problems and is therefore dying out.  Carlson argues that Libertarians “grounding in Old Europe gave them a stronger sense of history [and] a deeper perception that allowed them to see beyond certain superficialities” that are obviously tainting the rest of the conservative party.  Carlson argues that Fusionism is its own brand of conservatism, linking traditionalism with libertarianism.  I would argue that Fusionism is Conservatism: linking Judeo-Christian traditions, American exceptionalism, and libertarianism.

Carlson emphatically states that “the Reagan Era is over [it has become] pretty well drubbed.”  If Conservatism can outlast eight years of Clinton and Gore, why can’t it outlast Obama? George W. Bush was able to create a four-stranded coalition much like Reagan, who is to say this can’t occur once again.  Carlson castigates Republican ideals, the Reagan Era, and George W. Bush in explaining all that is wrong with America (he calls it the “Where are we now?” section).  This article was written in 2009, during Obama’s first year of office.  Carlson’s so-called “Age of Obama” has done little to change any of the “problems” in America despite Obama having his way over the past few years.  I wonder if Carlson would still see an “Age of Obama” following the “Reagan Era,” or if he – like many liberals – would be disappointed that Obama has not brought substantial positive chage?  It is too bad this article isn’t more recent.  As for Carlson’s comments about conservatives embracing forms of distributism and communitarianism alongside cultural pessimism, I highly doubt these will occur.  These three ideas contain conflicting ideals, and these three ideas only speak to an extremely small minority within the current conservative party.

Republicans, Democrats, and the Constitution/Founders

I found Ken Taylor’s articles to be well written, open in their bias, and historically founded.  His assertions regarding the Founding Fathers, fun control, and Thanksgiving seem rather straight-forward.  While I found parts of Scott’s and the Optimistic Conservative’s articles well written, I hold reservations regarding both.

Scott’s article about three types of Democrats – he broke them up by their level of adherence to the Constitution – has great potential.  I agree with most of his assertions regarding the first two types of Democrats, but I have reservations regarding the third. “Open Opponents” to the Constitution will continue to fight against a document they regard as impeding progress, but at least they are open about their views and individuals electing them know this and are able to vote accordingly.  “So-to-Speak Supporters” of the Constitution are epitomized by FDR and Obama.  They oppose the Constitution as much as the first group, but understand how awful this sounds and therefore mask their true feelings in distastefully vague rhetoric in order to further their purpose to wholly disregard the Constitution in order to make way for liberal “progress.”  Scott argues that “Forthright Supporters” of the Constitution are few and far between in the Democratic Party because of inherently conflicting ideals.  He proceeds to explain why – in his opinion – Democrats simply can’t uphold the Constitution.  This is simply not true.  Just because liberals and conservatives disagree on most every issue does not mean that neither party is willing to (or has the capability of ) adhering to the Constitution.  I would definitely add that there are three types of Republicans: “Forthright Supporters” like the Tea Party and the New Right, “So-to-Speak Supporters” who choose which parts of the Constitution to uphold and which parts not to uphold, and “Open Opponents” like truly radical rightists who feel that the current form of government is so corrupt that a new government with a new Constitution needs to be created.  Neither party is perfect.  Yes, the Republican Party is more Constitutionally-minded; but, there are Constitutionally-minded Democrats and Republicans that oppose the Constitution.

The Optimistic Conservative writes about whether Americans have the right to disobey Islamic law or not.  As this individual points out, Americans are granted the undeniable freedom of religion.  This includes religions – like Islam – that are out of the mainstream.  So long as Islamic Law does not stand in the way of federal, state, and local laws and ordinances, Muslims are free to obey Islamic Law.  Once Islamic Law oversteps, wholly disregards, or disobeys American law, Islamic Law may be deemed unlawful.  Until that time, Muslims are free to practice their religion as granted them by the Constitution.  As for non-Muslims, I agree with the author, we have the inherent right to disobey Islamic Law, just like Americans have the inherent right to disobey Jewish Law.  This nation is not a theocracy, this nation is a democratic republic; this author would be wise to keep this in mind.


Why aren’t there any articles about Ronald Reagan, Thomas Jefferson, or George W. Bush?  Surely understanding these individuals is just as important (if not more important) as understanding Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln in gaining a better understanding of Presidents and conservatism throughout history.  Postel’s brief article on Lincoln sheds light on a greater American problem plaguing both Republicans and Democrats.  George Washington and Abraham Lincoln have become the go-to Presidents whenever someone wants to defend an idea.  Washington and Lincoln were both great men who did great things; but both were imperfect men as all men are.  I am extremely conservative, and I for one and sick and tired of having Lincoln flaunted about as the conservative poster-child.  It would be a toss-up between Lincoln and FDR as to who broke the Constitution more.  Regardless of my beliefs, Postel’s article is based upon primary documents, something the Heritage Foundation prides itself in.  I particularly enjoyed the Conservative Historian’s article on Teddy Roosevelt.  TR, as with many presidents, is utilized to perpetuate most everyone’s ideas.

Recent History

Ericksen’s article was an enjoyable read.  His sentence “It is amazing that within a one week period the media went from speculating that right wingers were celebrating Hitler’s birthday on tax day to blaming Chechen nationalism to hearing the bomber say he was inspired by Islam to announcing it’s not him, it’s us to blame,” sums up conservative sentiments about what is wrong with the liberal media ruining this country.  If the bomber had been a right wing extremist rather than an Islamic extremist, the media would be talking about this instance for months.  Because the terrorist was yet another Muslim – “In the past decade we have seen that not all Muslims are terrorists, but just about every terrorist has been a Muslim – the media is blaming America? I would ask where the logic is behind this, but I already know the answer, there isn’t any.  Longstreet’s article, while overtly passionate, political, and religious, brings up great topics regarding the current trends in America.  Something is clearly going wrong, at least Longstreet is offering ideas of how to fix this once great nation.

History Education: Educational Resources, Posts by Teachers, Posts about Education

A Conservative Teacher provided great insights into historical education.  I loved his ideas about a capstone project to end a World History class.  I wonder how he chose the ten people, places, events, ideas… when handing out this assignment.  Regardless, I absolutely loved the student examples he gave.  Any student that likens Obama to Mark, Lenin, Mao, Hitler, and Napoleon need only add FDR into the mix to see how often “great men” fail throughout history.  The best part of the first article was not the parts that got me to laugh, but the conclusion: “Students today, just like students in the past, are as smart, hard-working, intuitive, and creative as previous generations, as long as the previous generations get out of the way and let them be all that they can be.”  Well put.  History teachers need to allow students to think critically, form educated opinions, and become culturally literate members of society.

A Conservative Teacher’s assertion that a country will retain its national core regardless of the government’s attempts to “change” it is particularly comforting given the current regime’s constant attempts to “change” everything.  I wonder what A Conservative Teacher would say about the government’s attempts at educational change?  While I believe both Republican and Democratic Presidents have acted with the best of intentions in creating educational plans for America, most of these have failed rather miserably.  How would A Conservative Teacher categorize or justify this?  As for his article about state standards, I agree completely.  Liberal indoctrination is ruining our schools.  As more and more states adopt the Common Core Standards (a liberal-leaning, federal initiative to unify disparate state standards) misconceptions are furthered and less content is learned.  This is not to say that conservatives are not doing the same thing, skimming the Texas State Standards will show the exact opposite trend.

After reading A Conservative Teacher’s article about McCarthyism, I know that I would have loved him as a teacher.  He explained to his students that there is a conservative spin on McCarthyism and that there is a liberal spin on McCarthyism.  By addressing biases, he is allowing his students to discover the truth while forming their own opinions.  As for the “liberal” teacher’s notes he acquired, I think the teacher should be fired, unless he or she is teaching at Karl Mark High School for Socialist Minded Students Seeking Liberal Indoctrination.  J

The lesson plan on Gun Rights has the makings of a great lesson plan.  Both sides of the issue are presented and the majority of the questions allow the students to think critically.  By this I mean that most of the questions are not leading or worded in a way that expects a specific answer.  Seeing as the Second Amendment is the main point of this lesson, the teacher teaching the class would have to have a good understanding of the Constitution in order to effectively present the conservative opinion.  Similarly, the teacher would have to have a good understanding of social change and progressive movements in order to effectively present the liberal opinion.  As an educator that strives to present both sides of most every argument, I strive to be the ultimate generalist so I can understand and explain the main ideas behind most historical movements and ideas.  All in all, this is a good lesson plan; whether or not this lesson is effective depends upon the teacher presenting the lesson.

The fact that a self-described “liberal, queer feminist” is teaching about the history of conservatism should be disheartening to all.  During my undergraduate career, I had a white teacher from the middle of Nebraska who admitted that she never saw a person of color until she was 18.  This teacher taught me Multicultural Education, a class about integrating multicultural ideas into “white” curriculum.  This might shock you, but I got next to nothing out of this class.  Teachers that are so one-sided should stick to teaching about general historical topics where they can insert their biases.  As an aside, Potter could have left out the self-description, her biased opinions shaded the entire article.  Potter casts conservatives as unintelligent, illogical, and radical.  I am very glad that I was not subjected to this teacher’s poor explanation of history.

Klugewicz’s views on historical education run parallel to my own.  The reason I am becoming a history teacher is to encourage students to think for themselves rather than accept the “facts” that are purported by liberal teachers attempting to indoctrinate their students.  Too many teachers encourage nihilism when it comes to American history.  Too often, liberals emphasize American evils like sexism, racism, industrialism… rather than teaching about the good parts of American history.  Teachers need to inspire patriotism in their students.  American children should be presented with a history they can be proud of.  As such, historical educators should strive to present history in a manner that is true, but also in a manner that does not purposefully demean the United States every other page.  Americans need to learn about the great things this nation has accomplished, not just the terrible atrocities it has supposedly committed.  Why do we allow liberals, under the guise of diversity and liberal enlightenment, to dictate what our students learn?  The Common Core Standards are sure to ensure liberals are able to maintain a hold on the educational standards our students are forced to learn within.  Political correctness will be the death of this nation, education included.  Why can’t liberals recognize that flawed human beings are able to be admired?  After all, all people are by nature flawed.  Just because a historical figure was racist, sexist, or elitism doesn’t mean everything they did was bad.  Facts do not speak for themselves, humor needs to be integrating into historical curriculum, and reason must be maintained as subservient to truth.

Miscellaneous…Liberal Rantings about Conservatism

Hitt’s Conservative History of the United States contains quotes that are taken out of context and from individuals that strive for soundbytes that will land them publicity.  My favorite “historically quoted event” on this absurd timeline is September 11th, 2001.  According to Hitt, conservatives believe that nothing occurred on 9/11!!  Any conservative will tell you that Islamic Terrorists attacked the United States of America on 9/11!  That Hitt even thought to add this proves his lack of understanding of conservatism.  I could do this with most of the events on this timeline.  Hitt redefines ignoramus; this rivals Chauncey DeVega’s article as one of the most biased I have ever read.  Hensatri opens his article with “It is the mark of an intellectually honest person that they will take the occasional moment aside from the heat of debate and seriously consider the position of their opponent.”  He then proceeds to explain how he is such an intellectual.  After his self-aggrandizement is over, he gets to the point of his argument: “Social Conservatives are always wrong.”  How intellectual?  How honest? How ridiculous! Nathaniel Strickland’s article highlights how big the gap has become between conservatives and liberals.  This article makes me truly wonder whether the gap can ever be bridged.


Ethical Dilemmas: Take Two

King’s book was impressively straight-forward.  In line with his realistic approach, comes a pessimistic reality: even though there are impressive sounding federal laws, they fail to protect cultural, historical, and environmental sites in America.  I particularly liked King’s comments about the contractor’s approach regarding the EIS for building a parallel set of railroad tracks at Abo Pass, New Mexico.  The contractor felt that destroying historical and cultural sites would not have an adverse effect so long as they excavated and documented them beforehand.  King explains “If I burn your house to the ground, I’ve adversely affected it, no matter how well I may record it first.”  Obviously there is a disconnect in the formation of EIS documents.  Granted, this EIS did explain that specific pictographs would be avoided, but I am completely shocked that this is entire approach falls within the legal limit of environmental/historical/cultural preservation.  Similarly, the contractors failed to even consider visual effects, audible effects, the effects of railroad use in general…the list goes on and on.  This contractor is definitely going to get hired for future EIS formations; he plays the game to a tee!  He says all of the right things, contacts all the right people, and still ensures that the project can go on, all the while explaining how they are working to preserve the historical/environmental/cultural aspects of the site they intend to destroy.

King discusses the issue surrounding comprehensibility, and I wish he would have explored this problem with more depth.  Regardless of how deep he may have explored comprehensibility, I feel that it is a huge issue with grave implications.  If EIS, NEPA, NRHP etc. forms are fully comprehensive and taken completely seriously, nothing will ever get built.  If these forms are not comprehensive enough, nothing will ever be denied.  I have no idea where the middle road lies, but I would argue that a middle road needs to be developed and adhered to.  This links back to the issues between “bright green” and “light green” laws.  What is the point of having laws that are rarely able to be enforced?  While “light green” laws certainly look good on the books, appease environmentalists, and convey an environmentally friendly atmosphere to onlookers, they do little more.

Even “bright green” laws (and statutes) fail to be enforced on a regular basis.  King explains how the EPA systematically undercut its own standards in order to not have to deal with the Abo Pass railroad, automobile, gas etc. catastrophe.  If the EPA, the highest environmental agency in the bureaucratic mess that is Washington D.C. is purposefully finding ways to undercut its statutory responsibilities, I am afraid that I must agree with the author, saving historic, cultural, and environmental sites is a lost cause.  If I had to site a key problem, it would be the bureaucratic mess that exists.  King’s book is inundated with acronyms of government agencies; the whole thing reads like Campbell’s Alphabet Soup.  There are so many agencies with competing interests and varying degrees of oversight and legislative teeth that few things ever get done.  As King passionately explains, reform, restructuring, revision of laws, restoration of bureaucratic roles, and a widespread governmental clean up needs to occur.  King adds that the Constitution must also be amended.  While I (surprise, surprise) feel that this is overkill, I do concede that a constitutional amendment would fix the problem and ensure a feasible process to a beneficial solution.

I am currently working on developing curriculum regarding the intersection between politics and environmentalism.  One of the articles I am basing my lesson plans on is an impassioned speech by Richard Gottlieb decrying presidential elections and the lack of change they bring to the environmental arena.  King’s memo to Obama parallels Gottlieb’s hope for true change.  Unfortunately for King and Gottlieb, I am afraid that Obama, environmentally speaking, has followed most of his modern predecessors.  Save Carter (who actively fought to clean up the environment), Reagan (who actively worked to limit all aspects of government intervention, the environment included), and Nixon (who began his presidency as a staunch advocate for environmental change but ended his presidency wondering where his environmental hopes turned to governmental impediments) no president has done much of anything to truly alter the environmental scene.  While Obama has a few years to change my mind, he has, so far, failed to enact positive change with respect to the environment.

Ethical Dilemmas: Take One

Chauncey DeVega’s article has to be the most biased piece of literature I have read in a long time.  According to DeVega, every conservative in America is a white supremacist racist or an idiot!  DeVega is sure to admit that there are a few “token Republican Negroes,” I wonder what DeVega would say to the descendants of a famous “token Repbulican Negro” like Martin Luther King, Jr.?  I had no idea that every American politician, including our current Black president, has sworn allegiance to a document steeped in white supremacy!? According to DeVega,  white supremacy is the “bleating heart” of the United States Constitution.  DeVega dismisses any view that doesn’t fall right in line with his own.  As for conservatives, Tea Partiers, Republicans, and other members of the New Right (most of whom are old, resentful, racist, frightened, and possessed according to DeVega), they deserve the right to have their views, just like DeVega has the right (ironically because of the very Constitution he so despises) to espouse his distasteful comments about individuals he clearly does care about (even if states otherwise).  As for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, they are striving to maintain cultural ties to their ancestors.  These individuals have the right to celebrate their culture just as the rest of America has the right to celebrate their culture.  I would charge DeVega to read the Constitution, in particular the Bill of Rights which lists rights of all citizens, not just individuals DeVega agrees with.

As for school textbooks, I think every historian should get a hold of a California-based US history book and a Texas-based US history textbook.  During my undergraduate career, I studied secondary education, I compared these textbooks and felt like I was reading about two completely different nations.  Reading a California-based text book, one will realize that diversity is pushed so far that key individuals in history (that happen to be white males) are replaced by less influential individuals simply because they are female or minority.  Reading a Texas-based text book, one might wonder how many “founding fathers” there really are, I for one had never heard of half of them.  California-based text books stress white oppression against all other individuals throughout America’s history, to the point that I wonder how a white student is able to read this history and still maintain a sense of pride in their nation.  Texas-based text books utilize terms like discrimination and division in society rather than slavery as much as possible, to the point that I wonder how an African American student with slave ancestors will be able to truly understand the history of their ancestors in America.  I could go on and on, but these two text book variations are the result of intense politicization of the educational process, a sad reality in an increasingly bureaucratic nation.  Why do we allow politicians, on either side of the aisle, to dictate what our children learn?  Why aren’t historians more involved in the process of curriculum development?  These problems will only be exacerbated with the use of the Common Core Standard.

I found Larry Cebula’s letter to be both hilarious and very sad at the same time.  Anyone reading this article will see the humor in the stories, but the fact that this many misrepresentations are being advanced at one location is disheartening.  I sincerely hope the individuals that received the letter begin to advance a fuller, more accurate explanation of the property they take care of.  Education outside of the classroom is just as important, if not more important, than education inside the classroom.  While I found parts of the return letter to be ironic, I do feel that the author has some fair points.  While we need to teach an accurate history of what happened in America, we also need to create citizens that are able to be proud of the nation they live in.  American children should know that slavery happened, that slavery was terrible, that the Civil War was directly tied to slavery, and that there are still things being done to try and right past wrongs (affirmative action…); but, Americans should also be taught about all of the great things in American history.  Educators and public historians should strive to present history in a manner that is true, but also in a manner that does no purposefully demean the United States time and time again.

Jeff Robinson brings to light very important questions for historians, scientists, politicians, civic leaders, and educators.  Robinson asks “How do we bring both the diversity of opinion and the question of specifically politicized values into our public history work, especially at sites and discourses where energy development, climate change, corporate exploitation, and agricultural shifts are prevalent?  In the case of my hometown, do we side with the activists using history-tactics, among other methods, or do we side with the majority that supports fracking?  Is it possible to belong in the middle?”  As a citizen, I have the right to my own opinion, and I have the right to come to that opinion how I so choose.  As a historian, I feel compelled to look up the facts as well as the general ideas of both sides of the conflict.  As an educator, I feel compelled to present both sides of the issue to my students; moreover, I feel compelled to encourage my students to assess the issue themselves before making an educated decision to side with one side or the other.

After reading about the National Museum of the American Indian and it’s not-so-perfect presentation of Native Americans, I find myself at a standstill.  I truly believe that anytime someone is exposed to something historically and/or culturally significant, this is a wonderful opportunity for discussion and education; therefore, a true learning experience exists in this museum.  I do feel that the museum should work towards to better representing Native Americans as they continue to exist and as they have existed historically.  While most social scientists contend that African Americans are the most oppressed racial group in American society (these social scientists reference slavery, institutionalized segregation, Jim Crow laws and Plessy v. Ferguson) the plight of the Native Americans is even greater than that of the African Americans.  Native Americans have been oppressed physically, spiritually, emotionally, sexually and culturally since the first white settlers “discovered” America.  Moreover, racism, oppression and genocide against Native Americans have been institutionalized for centuries and continue to plague Native American society as well as American society as a whole.  The greatest injustice befalling Native Americans lies in the continuous and overt neglect of the United States government, which has oppressed Native Americans externally and internally.  While the National Museum of the American Indian has great potential, I certainly hope they add to the museum in order to ensure people gain a more accurate understanding of the rich history that surrounds Native Americans.  As an aside, I fully intend on visiting the museum when I am in D.C. this summer.




The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a plethora of information that can be interpreted many different ways.  The optimist will quickly realize that all of the history related fields pay well.  The pessimist will readily notice that the number of applicant far outweighs the number of history related jobs.  The realist will accept these realities and recognize that all of these jobs have a modest, modest meaning at par with the national average, job outlook percentage.  The real benefit of the Bureau of Labor Statistics webpages is the descriptions that explain the quick facts.  In order to garner a history related position, one needs something beyond the traditional educational experience; practical skills, hands-on work experience, and a competitive spirit.  Rather than being distraught with the current job market, I was assured that I am in the right program.  Getting a Masters in Applied Historical Research will allow me to fill the gaps of traditional academia while simultaneously boosting my chances to stand out above other candidates in whatever history related field I choose to enter.  Something else this website reminded me of was that historical research does not necessitate a historical position; people in the MAHR program are especially equipped to compete in a variety of job markets.  Sometimes looking for a job entails thinking outside of the traditional box and looking at where you can best utilize your skills and interests.

Bob Beatty’s article contained great insights about the public history; although, I wish he would have left the personal stories and clichés out.  The best sentence I found in any of this week’s articles was Bob Beatty’s “the process of doing history was, and should remain, the primary focus of academic history.”  He goes on to say that it isn’t always possible for public history programs to teach skills and provide service learning opportunities.  My questions is why isn’t this possible?  If public history programs can’t teach the necessary skills and provide the necessary opportunities then what are they doing?  What is the point of a “public history” program if no one is learning about doing history?  This should not be a question of possibility or need, there is no point in having a public history program that can’t train people to do history for the public!  He concludes his article stating that it is okay for public history students to not receive formal training in museum work, but I completely disagree.  If someone wants a museum job, they need to be working with museum things, they need to be studying museum things, and they need to be doing museum things.  Beatty’s article can be boiled down to some great sounds bytes that fail to truly benefit public history students.

Scott Stroh’s article read like a “How To” article for eternally happy and ambitious people ready to change the world.  He explains that organizations must inspire, challenge, question, nurture, inform, educate…the list goes on and on.  At what point does a descriptive list still help people?  Rather than provide bullet points of what an organization does, Stroh should add prose explaining why these things are imperative for a successful, beneficial organization.  Moreover, Stroh should explain how to do these things.  By this I do not mean that he should list eight ridiculously simple steps to, seemingly, succeed in life.  “Be relentlessly positive.”  “Take action on your passion.” Really?  This article lacks depth and life application.


I went to purchase my school books at the beginning of the semester, and I was rather confused that an entrepreneurial book was one of my required texts.  I was not particularly looking forward to the read.  As an academic historian, I know exactly what I want to do with my life.  I want to teach!  Teaching is fulfilling, always changing, and personable: everything I could ask for.  While I do not want to be a businessman and I have no desire to run a business, I did enjoy reading Chris Guillebeau’s “The $100 Startup.”   The book was informative, inspirational, and accessible.  Unlike many texts assigned in academia, this text was simple and to the point.  Guillebeau’s enthusiasm drenches every page; he truly wants to help people start their own small business.  For a person that is interested in doing just that, this is a must read.  His use of real life examples, real people and real businesses, substantiates his claims.  Many “How To” books lack this depth, focusing solely on the author’s personal experiences.  Guillebeau’s discussion regarding the “knowledge economy” explained how this text fits into public history.  Many budding historians do not want to fill traditional history roles in society (teachers, museum curators, or historical bureaucrats).  It is these historians that will gain from Guillebeau’s “The $100 Startup.”  These historians need only key in on what aspect of the “knowledge economy” they wish to fulfill, and begin!  These historians have skills, and are continually gaining more skills, and these historians have interests.  What these historians need to do, according to Guillebeau, is connect these skills and interests with what other people, their potentially clients, want.  Even historians filling traditional roles (teachers, museum curators, and historical bureaucrats) can gain from Guillebeau’s basic idea; the biggest difference being that that these individuals are selling themselves (their skills and interests) in hopes of a “traditional” job and a “traditional” paycheck.

“Historians as Consultants and Contractors” explained that there are numerous things a history consultant can do, many of which we have discussed in our Public History class.  Historical consulting is a growing industry that is almost always in need of hiring professional historians for short-term contracts.  As an educator, I immediately thought about how many summer opportunities there must be for a High School History teacher!  While I might be “constrained” during the school year, I will be the definition of flexible over the summer months.  While I am still in my initial year in the Masters of Applied Historical Research program, I have already gained invaluable insights into how to bring history alive, the digital humanities, and so much more.  These skills combined with my growing interests will allow me to gain a part time position as a historical consultant whenever I so desire.  This chapter stressed the importance of complementing a history degree, and I really liked reading that.  All too often, academic readings contain such a narrow focus that interdisciplinary approaches are rarely even mentioned.

Tyler Rudd Putman’s “Crafting a New Historian” elicits deep thinking.  While Putman could be described as a typical academic, he has a Master’s Degree and he is currently pursuing his Doctoral Degree, he could also be described as an atypical academic.  After earning his Master’s Degree, he spent a year sewing clothes to make a living.  It is this year outside of the traditional academic scope that led him to figure out what he truly wants in life, what he enjoys doing, and what academia entails.  For those individuals with an exclusive view of what “doing history” entails, Putman was no longer “doing history” in the garment business.  For those with an inclusive view of what “doing history” entails, Putman never left the history field; he merely found another way to “do” history, through sewing historical clothing.  He was making a modest living, enjoying what he was doing, and had time to yearn for academic comforts like the library.  Putman states that “the cognitive overload of an academic life prevents us from being truly thoughtful,” and I would argue that there is much truth to this statement.  Many academic are confined to specific topics, are embarrassed by their hobbies, and fail to associate themselves with the real world.  I agree with Putman, “Academic historians need to spend less time in the library and more time confronting the rigorously critical world of the nonacademic public.”  This is essential for anyone hoping to work in the public history field.  Putman concludes his article with explaining numerous reasons not to get a PhD, most importantly that there is a very real possibility that he will be sewing clothes after gaining his degree.  Despite problems like these, he is currently working towards his Doctoral Degree; to say I was shocked by his decision would be an understatement.

Historic Preservation: Take Two

I had no idea how convoluted, diverse, and complicated preservation was.  There are many types, levels, and functions of preservation.  While Tyler explained the National Register’s Criteria for Evaluation of a property’s historic significance, I couldn’t help but notice how subjective the criteria seemed.  The property has to be associated with a “significant” event in American history, associated with a “significant” person, on a “significant” site, or representative of a “significant” type, period, method, or form of construction or art.  These criteria seem ridiculously ambiguous and I wonder how often political/ethnic/racial motivations help make a specific site “significant?”  I particularly liked the thermometer metaphor in thinking about historic “significance;” specific criteria can benefit or detract from the overall “significance” of a building, area, or location.

While I understand the point of the Fifty-Year-Rule, I am sure there are numerous buildings over fifty years old that lack historic, architectural, or cultural value.  Likewise, I am sure there are more examples than the few Tyler mentions where historic, architectural, or cultural value exists to a great degree on “newer” buildings.  Why can’t history be truly lived?  Why the arbitrary number? Why 50? Why not 100? Why not 25?

On page 148, Tyler explained the criteria for excluding locations from the National Register.  Much like the criteria for including locations, I found these to be rather subjective.  Religious properties are generally not listed unless they have significant historical or architectural merit.  I have been to a great number of churches throughout my life.  Most of the churches either look extremely historic (because they are really old) or extremely new (because they are really new).  Many historic churches are located in historic districts and/or have “significant” architectural features.  Also, why is moving a structure such a big deal?  So long as visitors are informed of the move, I feel that relocating historically “significant” (to use their favorite word) buildings can be of great educational merit.  One of my favorite museums is a County Museum back home.  There are about ten relocated buildings that have been saved from being demolished and relocated to the outside museum.  When you go in the different buildings, the previous location is given as well as a description of when and why residents added to the original structures.  I have already argued about the arbitrary nature of the Fifty-Year-Rule.

In regards to dedesignation, I found one of the criteria to be subjective as well as ironic: a building or location can be dedesignated because of “prejudicial procedural error in the designation process.”  I would hate for a building to be dedesignated for the same reason, prejudicial procedural error in the dedesignation process.  The entire process seems like a bureaucratic mess.  As for dedesignating Soldier Field because they updated the structure, I feel that Soldier Field (Grant Park Field) still holds great cultural and historic value.  It is problems like this make me think twice about advocating the historic preservation of locations.  Economics drives society, America is after all capitalist in many ways.  Where do economics and historic preservation meet?

I found Tyler’s discussion on the “restoration” of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio in Oak Park, Illinois interesting.  I lived less than ten blocks from here during undergrad, and I went on the architecture and history tours a few times while I lived there.  While his specific home and studio have been restored to their 1913 selves, there are three buildings next to this complex that Wright crafted.  People live in these buildings and they reflect later additions as well as Wright’s evolving architectural styles.  If you go to the Frank Lloyd Wright home in Oak Park, they offer a walking tour that encompasses these buildings as well as parts of the local high school and a couple churches he either designed or built.  When his home and studio are places within the context of the other buildings, all of which are currently being used, the restoration efforts seem more than out of place.  Moreover, the museum’s tour guides never mention that the buildings were restored.  Most visitors are led to believe that Frank Lloyd Wright was the only occupant of the building and nothing has been touched since, this is not good history.  Regardless of these “problems,” the tour is a lot of fun, but I would definitely suggest taking the walking tour rather than the simple on site “point and grunt” tour.

I had no idea how many different types of preservation and documentation existed in the field of historic preservation.  After finishing today’s readings, I am very appreciative that I am not going into historic preservation.  Part of the reason for this is seemingly subjective criteria for determining how “significant” a place or location is.  Another reason for this is that I cannot imagine trying to decide which type of preservation to attribute to which building, nor can I imagine trying to defend the reasoning for my decision.  Tyler claims that preservationists are not against development, but I find his argument rather biased.  If preservationists feel that a specific structure needs to be maintained exactly as is, or that one original building materials can be utilized, preservationists are indeed against development.  Development and progress go hand in hand, therefore, being against progress is being against development.  There is a fine line between maintaining the cultural, historic, or architectural significance of a building and rendering a building useless or unable to make money.  As for the discussion regarding “experience economies,” I wish Tyler would have delved deeper into how a community, state, or region effectively pursues such an experience.  Furthermore, I wish Tyler would have discussed the, inevitably there are many, failed attempts at creating “experience economies.”

Wikis: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Before this assignment, I had no idea how many Wikis existed online.  I had heard of Wikipedia, but that was about it.  As both a student and an educator, I was not fond of Wikipedia.  Fearful of misrepresentations, falsehoods, and lack of depth, I rarely used Wikipedia when researching topics.  I constantly reminded my students to utilize reputable sources when conducting research.  Inevitably, one of my students would ask about Wikipedia; my answer was always something along the lines of “You can’t trust the information on Wikipedia, because anyone can edit Wikipedia pages,” or “use the links on the bottom of the page to do your own research.”  After going through the process of creating a Wikipedia page, I have gained a sense of respect for this online encyclopedia.  I will still tell my students to take Wikipedia with a grain of salt, as all researchers should approach any source; but, I will stop haranguing the use of Wikipedia as a source.

I spent a few hours clicking through Wikipedia pages, reading the “talk” portions, and seriously wondering if I would ever find a topic worth editing.  Dr. Madsen-Brooks had sufficiently scared me from creating a new Wikipedia page, so I began searching for a “stub” article.  I eventually stumbled across the Wikipedia “page” on the Nevada caucuses.  I say “page” because this article was the epitome of a Wikipedia “stub.”  The entire article read “The Nevada caucuses are held every four years to determine whom Nevada’s delegates will support in choosing Republican and Democratic presidential candidates.  Since 2008, the Nevada caucuses have been scheduled early in the nomination process.”  As is, this article was, in all reality, completely useless.  I set out to remedy this and began extensively researching the Nevada caucuses.  The updated version, a complete article, can be viewed at

In modeled my Nevada caucuses Wikipedia article on the Iowa caucuses page in order to legitimize the article.  I actually posted this information onto the “talk” page in hopes of deterring Wikipedia editors from deleting my article entirely.  As for style and content, I strived to copy the Iowa caucuses page as closely as possible.  The two pages now have similar subsections and look relatively the same.  Creating a Wikipedia article is much harder than it seems.  I thought I would be able copy and paste my article from Microsoft Word and be done within a matter of a few clicks.  I was sadly mistaken.  After much confusion, I ended up opening the Iowa caucuses “edit” page next the Nevada caucuses “edit” page and trying to mirror the symbols as best I could.  Once I began writing in “Wikipedia text language,” I grasped certain things rather quickly; for example, “[[]]” internally links words to other Wikipedia pages.  Creating references and citations, on the other, was much more difficult.  After about two and a half hours of adding “Wikipedia text language” to my article, I was ready to publish.  The links worked and the article looked professional.  I keep checking the article and “talk” page for the Nevada caucuses; so far, no one has edited or deleted the article.

Based off of this experience, Dr. Madsen-Brooks’ explanations of Wikipedia culture, and reading numerous “talk” pages, I now realize that Wikipedia is a fairly reputable source.  Why anyone in their right mind would try and change Wikipedia pages just to add lies and misconceptions is beyond me.  I also realize that many individuals, mostly young, white, males that have nothing better to do, constantly police Wikipedia to fix postings that fail to express general consensus regarding specific issues.  This experience has given me a newfound faith in the information that exists on Wikipedia.  I will no longer harangue my students and colleagues for using Wikipedia.

I had much less apprehension about posting to the Boise Wiki.  I wrote my article on the Boise Architecture Project, a local, student-based project I recently discovered.  Seeing as the Boise Wiki is a local Wiki meant to benefit the greater community, I strived to write accessibly.  Rather than posting a huge chunk of information, I decided to break the information up into readable sections that would entice Boise Wiki users to read the majority of the post.  My Boise Architecture Project article can be found at  At first, I found the Boise Wiki very user friendly.  Initially, I copied my article from Microsoft Word and simply pasted it into the Boise Wiki; this worked perfectly fine.  After browsing through other entries on the Boise Wiki, I realized that most of the entries contained pictures, which prompted me to search for Creative Commons pictures that would tie in with my article.  I found three pictures that I felt complemented the information I posted about the Boise Architecture Project, and proceeded to try and paste them into the Boise Wiki.  This process was extremely frustrating, because there is no usable formatting button.  I tried to format the pictures for about thirty minutes before giving up and simply placing the photos in between paragraphs.  Besides this frustration, the Boise Wiki was fairly easy to use.  My only advice for future Boise Wiki and Wikipedia editors would be to begin as soon as possible because, inevitably, there will be issues you need to conquer.

Historic Preservation: Take One

Historic preservation has a diverse, convoluted, and rich history.  I appreciated the author’s introduction to this varied field.  Tyler explains the increasingly important role historic preservation has played in American society while maintaining that “it is our duty as a society and as members of our own local communities to protect and preserve our heritage.”  Without this firm founding, his arguments would seem rather subjective; however, it is clear that Tyler only wishes to raise awareness about the field of historic preservation in order to better society as a whole.  As with most movements in society, historic preservation began as a grassroots movement.  Ever since this founding, infighting, bureaucracy, and individual interests have plagued the field.

In “Preservationists Are Un-American,” Clem Labine attacks the American spirit of opportunism.  In boiling all of American history down to capitalism and consumerism, Labine fails to grasp the diverse, rich history of the United States.    Labine must have a rather narrow view of American history if he truly believes preservation is un-American.  Preservationists in America, the West included, must strive to preserve all aspects of our nation’s history and culture.  Manifest Destiny is as much a part of American history as Republicanism and Individualism.  Buildings, paintings, pamphlets, the list goes on and on, from all aspects of America’s history should be preserved.  America is so much more than a “use it up and move on” society, the mere existence of preservationists counters this argument.  Recognizing the need to preserve “our built heritage because it represents who we are as people” includes preserving frontier homes, homesteads, and other edifices that were built as direct results of American opportunism, consumerism, and Manifest Destiny.  To preserve a homestead log cabin and fail to explain the history behind the building, the prevailing social norms that allowed the building to come into existent, and the frontier spirit led the settler to build where they did would be an injustice to the people.  Preservationists must protect and preserve the building along with its history, or preservation fails to be a service to the public, an “applied history.”

Coming from an educational background, I was particularly interested in the benefits of preservation from an education standpoint.  Tyler beat around the bush for a while when trying to explain that the more an individual is engaged with subject matter, the more they will learn, and the more they will retain.  I wish he would have delved deeper into the idea of “edutainment.”  On the other hand, Tyler gave a great explanation of “living history,” including its many forms, functions, and benefits.  People of all ages can learn simply through cultural (historical) immersion and experience.

After reading the differing views on urban revitalization and facadism, I had many questions.  How are city leaders supposed to deal with historical preservation while also dealing with intense poverty, degrading buildings, poor health and a plethora of other issues plaguing inner cities.  Don’t cities have a duty to maintain public health? What about the decades of asbestos insulated buildings?  What duty, if any, does a city have to ensure that gentrification does not occur when urban revitalization is successful?  Why are businesses attacked for preserving facades while building thriving backdrops?  If a business is forced to stay within the confines of a century old building, who is to say that business that can afford to maintain the facades in the first place will want to inhabit those buildings?  Preservationists need to realize that businesses will do things to benefit the community, including preserving culture and history, if they are able to thrive and continue to operate efficiently.  In the end, isn’t preserving a historic building’s facade better than destroying the building entirely?

Tyler’s discussion about bureaucracy, government oversight, and legislation.  The federal government enacted specific acts in the 20th century in hopes of encouraging  historic preservation.  Some of theses acts were very successful, take the National Park Service for example.  The National Park Service was protected and preserved numerous sites that were seen as important to our nation’s history after its founding in 1916.  Most of these acts, however, had great ideas, but lacked teeth with which to follow through with the ideas comprised within them.  Take the National Register of Historic Places for example.  The National Register’s rights are restricted to identifying places for evaluation, encouraging friendly activities, and providing lists for review.  The National Register cannot restrict rights, guarantee funds, stop development, or provide tax benefits.  A final example lies in the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation which was given legislative teeth with which to act, but individuals must jump through numerous bureaucratic loopholes in order to pass Section 106 Review.  Thankfully, preservation is more clear-cut (not perfectly of course) at the state and local level.  As with most things, the state and local community better understand the community, culture, and history and are therefore better able to engage in historic preservation.  As Tyler states, “only at the local level can historic properties be regulated and protected through legal ordinances.”


Reenactment and Wikipedia


Kowalczyk offers his readers a personal experience with reenactors and reenacting.  By posing as a scribe, Kowalczyk was able to act as a journalist in the midst of a reenactment of the French and Indian War.  His insights into the world of reenacting are both big and small.  Not being able to shower, he comments that “war really is hell.”  His more lofty insights include “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it.”  He also states that being on the battlefield exactly 250 years later, he couldn’t help but imagine the people who were injured and killed there during the actual battle.  Kowalczyk explains how reenacters are able to explain, in this case, the significance of the French and Indian War.  Reenacters are self-ascribed “people with an appreciation for history.”  He concedes that the reenacters are a fringe group of mostly white, overweight, uncoordinated men who take historical fashion to the extreme; however, he does not allow this reality to cloud his study of reenacting.  For Old Hickory, reenacting is a way to step out of his shell, engage with the history he so loves, and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with it.  These reenacters take their jobs (hobbies) seriously; for example, they never smile for pictures, striving to become a part of the history they identify with.  These individuals are public historians, they offer real-life engagements with historical events that allow others to learn about, engage with, and witness history.  These public historians are bringing history to life, what more can people ask for?

Little’s article denigrates Kowalczyk’s article for being too shallow, too journalistic in nature, and failing to ask questions about relevance, queerness, race, and gender.  Little views reenacters as queer, white men trying to regain the glory days of the republic where the world was a better place.  Little seems rather stuck on the point of race, explaining that blacks don’t want to reenact because they would have been slaves before the Civil War.  Little states that “romanticizing the past, like reenacting, is a White thing,” and Little might as well have added that it is a male thing, seeing as he mentions the lack of female involvement later in his article.  This article ends by explaining that only imperialistic, racist, sexist, horrific events are reenacted.  This is simply not true.  Vice President Joe Biden, politicized Reverend Al Sharpton, and politicized Jesse Jackson recently led a Reenactment of the Voting Rights March to commemorate a famous civil rights march.  Universities and cities reenact Martin Luther King’s Marches with his speeches annually.  People might not dress up for the event, but they certainly follow in MLK’s footsteps, read his speech, and convene on a historically accurate date.  As for women’s rights, there are reenactments of the beginning of the Women’s Movement in Seneca Falls, New York.  Many states and cities have reenactments commemorating women’s suffrage, even if they are only on seemingly important anniversaries (10, 20, 25, 50 years…).  I found these events through a simple Google search, and I am sure individuals searching for events to reenact will be able to find them just as easily.

Levin discussed the lack of growth and following currently being experienced by the Sons of the Confederacy.  Levin discussed the cultural transformations that have occurred in the past fifty or so years, explaining that American culture has become “tired” of “Civil War narratives.”  Levin explains that reenacters must “revise” their “expectations” and/or their “audience” in order to remain culturally, socially, or politically relevant.  He states that “making the Civil War relevant today is a formidable task;” but, I feel that the Civil War, having defined so much of our nation’s history, will remain relevant for years to come.  The mere fact that the Civil War boasts the most reenacters as well as a huge fan base both academically and non-academically disproves this statement.  As for Confederates, their beliefs, their culture, and their history, I wish Levin would have delved deeper.  Confederates, most easily symbolized by the Sons [and Daughters] of the Confederacy, are striving to maintain cultural ties to their ancestors.  These individuals have the right to celebrate their culture just as the rest of America has the right to celebrate their culture.  While I understand that St. Paul’s Episcopal Church does not want to be identified with a fringe group in society, I am rather disgusted that they have stopped a historic reenactment from occurring.  Some of the founding and leading members of the Confederacy attending this church before, during, and after the Civil War; as such, the historic and cultural descendants of the Confederacy deserve to follow their ancestors footsteps and celebrate their culture.


Cohen writes about the disparity that exists between male and female contributors to Wikipedia.  According to recent surveys, men account for 85% of Wikipedia entries and women account for a mere 15%.  Wikipedia allows anyone to [try to] publish and edit articles.  Wikipedia has not sought out male contributors; rather, the “current Wikipedia community is what came about by letting things develop naturally.”  In order to change current male-dominated trends, “conscious effort[s] to change” must be engaged.  While reading the section of the article about Ms. Gardner’s shocking discovery that a female author near and dear to her heart has a “mere three paragraphs,” while a video game character had numerous paragraphs, I thought to myself “Why doesn’t Ms. Gardner go in and remedy this?  She need only contribute to the entry on her beloved female author.”  I was relieved that this indeed occurred, as I read precisely that in the last paragraph.  Women are just as intelligent as men, and Wikipedia is all about general consensus of knowledge.  If Wikipedia has such a problem with having a male-dominated entry force, they should actively seek out female entries.  While this does not seem like a world changing problem to me, I am sure that there are many women with plenty to say, they just haven’t been asked yet.

Dr. Messer-Kruse, renowned Haymarket Riot historian, had a falling-out with Wikipedia.  His interactions with Wikipedia reinforced my distaste for the website Wikipedia.  Messer-Kruse had verifiable proof that Wikipedia was promoting incorrect understandings regarding the Haymarket Riot; and he would know, he is one of the foremost experts on the Haymarket Riot.  After trying to correct some of the wrongs on Wikipedia’s Haymarket Riot webpage, Messer-Kruse was informed that “Wikipedia is not ‘truth,’ Wikipedia is ‘verifiability’ of reliable sources.”  The Wikipedia editors continued to explain that “if most secondary sources which are taken as reliable happen to repeat a flawed account or description of something, Wikipedia will echo that.”  After publishing a historically accurate book, peer reviewed articles, and giving numerous lectures, Messer-Kruse tried yet again to fix the Wikipedia entry on the Haymarket Riot.  He was chastised for using his own work that promoted a fringe belief to back up his narrow view of the event.  The nail in the coffin came with another Wikipedia editor’s comments, “If all historians save one say that the sky was green in 1888, our policies require that we write ‘Most historians write the sky was green, but one says the sky was blue.’”  How ridiculous!  Famiglietti might believe that “Wikipedia holds a deep respect for a collaborative…process that is collectively more capable of producing ‘truth’ than any individual scholar,” but a general consensus does not equate with truth.  The general consensus in Nazi Germany was that Jews were disgusting, inferior creatures; but that does not mean that Jews are inferior or disgusting, nor does that mean that every person in Nazi Germany viewed Jews as disgusting and inferior.  It was however, the general consensus.  Does this mean that it was “truth?” Obviously not!  Just because a lot of people agree with you, does NOT make you write.  Wikipedia should rethink their policies instead of simply furthering falsehoods.   Consensus and truth are not the same thing.


Interview with Doug StanWiens

I interviewed Doug StanWiens, a local high school teacher who is both a public historian and a digital humanist.  Doug StanWiens is a very involved member of the Boise community.  On top of teaching at Boise High School, he runs the Boise Architecture Project, and he is Vice President of Preservation Idaho.  I tried to focus my questions on his work with the Boise Architecture Project (BAP); but, I soon found out that Doug StanWiens’ many positions, teacher, preservationist, public historian, digital humanist, and  head of BAP, often mix.

The BAP is “a student-directed new media project focused on architectural history and preservation in the Treasure Valley.”  The primary part of the project can be found at  Here historians, preservationists, and interested citizens will find pictures, architectural descriptions, and building history for over 350 buildings in and around Boise.  One of the great parts of this project is the diversity of the buildings the students choose to research and report on; one can find buildings over 100 years old, and one can find buildings that are relatively new on this student programmed website.  Students do most of the work for the BAP!  Students take photos, conduct interviews, and write a research paper about the building they select for their addition to the BAP.  On the website, a short summary of the building’s history and architectural style is accompanied by select photos.  Some auxiliary functions of the BAP include “conducting architecture walks, blogging, documentary film making, volunteering for local history related events, and working with local preservation organizations.”  The BAP is becoming a rather inclusive organization and certainly serving the local community.

Doug StanWiens explained that the BAP has many goals, and that the majority of the goals are student oriented.  He hopes that the BAP will help students learn about local history.  He also hopes that the BAP will help students understand and appreciate different architectural styles as well as their connection to history.  Of equal importance, Doug StanWiens hopes that the BAP will allow students the ability to contribute their research to the greater Boise community.  This project is a win-win for all the parties involved.  Students are able to learn beyond the classroom by studying architecture, acquiring historical knowledge of their city, and meeting the community. Students are able to “learn important project skills such as architectural photography, oral interview techniques, and digital project management through participating in the BAP.”  The BAP truly is a digital education project.

Doug StanWiens is in his 17th year of teaching.  He started the BAP as a Spring Project to fill the gap that follows the AP tests towards to end of the year.  He wanted to do something fun as well as meaningful with his Advanced Placement United States History (APUSH) students.  His inspiration for BAP was a class in architecture history he took as an undergraduate.  Doug StanWiens informed me that he took this class for fun, because it was the “cool class all the seniors took and you got to get off campus to look at awesome buildings.”  At the time, he never thought the class would have such an impact on him.  In effect, he tried to recreate his architecture history class, without the field trip aspect of course, for his APUSH students.  Because the field trip aspect was such a vital part of the project, he split the class into partners and had them visit their historically and architecturally significant buildings in order to create PowerPoint Presentations.  One of Doug StanWiens students offered to put the PowerPoint Presentations on a website and Doug StanWiens said that sounded like a great idea.  The project started with ten students choosing buildings they saw as historically or architecturally significant, and it has transformed into an ongoing project with over 350 projects.

BAP has grown a lot over the years.  Doug StanWiens informed me that he has a list of buildings that individuals throughout the community have asked him to add to the BAP.  This means that the project has gained widespread public support, and that students have a ready and reliable list of buildings to choose from.  The BAP was picked up by Preservation Idaho, something that is mutually beneficial for both organizations.  Preservation Idaho fulfills BAP’s need for funding and BAP fulfills Preservation Idaho’s need for education and advocacy.  The BAP also received a grant from Boise 150 that is allowing them to create fourteen documentary films explaining the building of Boise.  In these films, Doug StanWiens, with the help of students of course, hopes to explain the architectural and historical significance of buildings throughout Boise.  He also hopes to put the buildings in Boise into a national context, thereby demonstrating how national culture can be illustrated and exemplified through national architecture.

One of the things that shocked me about all the things BAP has accomplished is that it is not a class at Boise High School.  APUSH students work on it after their AP exams in May, but students are also working on BAP related activities throughout the year.  Doug StanWiens hosts meetings before school, at lunch, and after school.  He also has a teaching assistant that helps him with the BAP, but the BAP is not a class in it of itself.  Many students offer to help raise funds for BAP, give architectural tours downtown, and otherwise help the BAP as part of their service learning hours.  Judging from all the work the BAP has to do, I would not be surprised if it becomes a class in the near future.

As an educator, I was very interested in how Doug StanWiens tied architecture into his everyday curriculum.  He said that the BAP “changed how he teaches APUSH” as well as his other classes.  He encourages students to see the links between history, art, architecture, and national culture.  He strives to tie all of these things together in his curriculum.  He strives to use architecture, particularly buildings in Boise so that students can easily relate to them, to explain culture and identity.  In essence, Doug StanWiens is bringing history alive for his students.

At the beginning of the interview, Doug StanWiens said that he was surprised I was interviewing him as a public historian.  He said he was a digital humanist and an educator, but he did not see himself as a public historian.  After a short explanation on my part, we continued the interview.  At the end of the interview he said “You know, you are right, I am a public historian.”  He said he became a teacher because he wanted to help students get out into the public.  He wants his students to learn by experience and thereby benefit society later in life.  As for advice, Doug StanWiens said that I should take all of my classes seriously, because I never know how they will affect me later in life.  He also reassured me that education is a very fulfilling career choice.