Why Another History Blog?

The first day of my PhD program, my advisor said, “You know there are no jobs, right?” I knew, but I didn’t care. I wanted to write about South Asia and history for a broader audience than the other five people interested in my dissertation topic. I wanted to write for history buffs and nerdy kids and the intelligent general reader.

When I finished my degree, I started writing for magazines aimed at history buffs, nerdy kids and –you get the idea. My first, and second, and third sales came straight from my dissertation research. Then I got an e-mail from an editor that said: “I know this isn’t what you normally do, but….” Suddenly the words “not my field” no longer applied. The fence of academic boundaries that had been both bulwark and prison was gone.

These days I write about a wide range of historical topics, from ancient Peru (Not just the Incas. Who knew?) to World War II. At least half the time I’m writing outside of “my field”. And at the end of every day I have a great story that didn’t quite fit in the piece at hand, a dangling idea that I want to play with, a connection I want to explore, or a book that I can’t wait to share with someone else.

I hope that someone will be you. Read along. Make a comment. Suggest a topic. Enjoy the ride.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Davide September 18, 2013 at 11:07 am

The first day of my PhD program, my advisor said, “You know there are no jobs, right?”

Funny, They told the very same words when I began University so many years ago, across the pond
I discovered today your blog and I have to say that it’s the best finding in a lot of time.
Keep up the good work and never despair.

Davide, History PhD


pamela September 18, 2013 at 1:48 pm

That is funny. Maybe it’s now part of the standard orientation package for history students.

Thanks for the good words.



Jane January 8, 2014 at 5:50 pm

I’m brand new to your website, but I want to say anyway that it is beautiful. “History in the Margins.” What an intriguing name! I remember a teacher cousin, reading a history text with her students, came upon something like “the fort was taken with little effort.” She stopped and told her class, “It wasn’t that way at all!” and gave them a fuller picture.


pamela January 8, 2014 at 11:51 pm

Your cousin sounds like my kind of history buff!


Sarah Towle January 26, 2014 at 11:15 am

Great Blog Pamela! I’m so delighted to have discovered it!


pamela January 26, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Thanks, Sarah. The more places our paths cross on line, the more I realize how many interests we have in common.


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