Odd Bits

Are You Listening to History?

July 17, 2015

Over the last three years I’ve become a fan of podcasts. They’re great to listen to when I’m doing things that require my hands and eyes but only a small part of my brain: chopping vegetables, washing dishes, reconciling bank statements, sorting through the pile of mystery papers on the floor next to my desk. […]

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Happy Fourth of July

July 3, 2015

4th of July picnic in Rogers, Arkansas, ca 1904 Here in the United States we’re heading into the Fourth of July weekend: one of those holidays where the point is easily lost in the trappings. Take a moment in your celebrations to remember what we’re celebrating: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all […]

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Road Trip Through History? Sort Of.

June 26, 2015

Several weeks ago, My Own True Love took me to the Round Barn Theater at Amish Acres in Nappanee, Indiana to see Plain and Fancy, a musical I first discovered when I was in high school. I had developed the habit of checking out obscure soundtracks, opera recordings, and the like from our local library.* […]

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A Bit of (Really Gross) Waterloo Trivia

June 18, 2015

Let’s face it, there’s no reason for me to give you a quick synopsis of what happened at the Battle of Waterloo, what led to the Battle of Waterloo, why it mattered, or the battle’s social/political/artistic impact.  If you are reading this on or soon after June 18, 2015, blog posts and news articles related […]

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King John Was Not A Good Man…*

June 15, 2015

It’s a big week in History Land. History bloggers, history buffs, #twitterstorians** and re-enactors are all aflutter about the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo on Friday. But today we pause to recognize another historical anniversary, one that is less flashy and more ambiguous–the signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymeade in 1215. [If […]

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And we have winners!

June 2, 2015

As always when I have books to give away, I’m glad that I don’t have to choose the winners based on merit. As always, you responded with book suggestions,* thoughtful commentary, suggestions for future blog posts, and history-nerd humor–both in comments on the blog post itself and in wonderful e-mails. ** I think I’m the […]

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Big History and Big Buts

May 29, 2015

Several years ago, when I was working on a Big Project, I stumbled across the concept of Big History.* It’s basically the opposite of the academic mantra “not my field.”  Proponents of Big History integrate many scholarly disciplines in order to look at human history as a tiny part of the history of the cosmos.  […]

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History in the Margins Has a Birthday–and a Giveaway

May 12, 2015

It’s hard to believe, but we’ve been hanging out here on the Margins for four (4!) years. It started as an experiment; it’s turned into a conversation. I’m honored that you read. I feel even more honored when you respond, whether it’s in the form of a comment here, an email, sharing a link to […]

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Ballpoint–The Tale of a Tool

May 9, 2015

Like many readers, writers, and scholars, I am an unashamed office supply junkie. I trail through my local Office Depot with the same delight I accord to grocery shopping* and only slightly less fascination than I feel in my local independent bookstore. (Go Seminary Co-op!) I like my pens to have a fine-point and my […]

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In which I consider the nature of primary sources, with a little despair

April 25, 2015

My primary academic home is the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries,* periods in which primary sources and material artifacts are relatively abundant. As a result, the question of whether something counts as a primary source is generally clear–at least in terms of a given sources’s temporal relationship to the event/period in question.** (How we […]

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