March 2013


The  third weekend in April continues to be excessively popular for conferences in our (dear museum/history-inclined reader!) fields, which this year includes Museums and the Web and NCPH (which looks like a terrific meeting in Ottawa this year.)

I will be attending neither of these, but will instead be attending this conference in Minneapolis, “Practicing Science, Engaging Publics,” in honor of my graduate advisor, Sally Gregory Kohlstedt.  It’s a one-day event on April 20th, free and open to the public, and if you’re in the area I highly suggest you stop by!

I will be talking about my research on this guy, and my academic siblings will be talking about other interesting topics around the history of biology, history of anthropology and field work, popularization, and professionalization, all in Sally-inflected ways.  Hope to see you there.

Advertisements

Nostalgia can be an emotion that gets people interested in the past and that draws them back to their own and their family’s history.  But it’s a distorting force.  It puts a scrim of sentimentalization over real events and real people and recasts challenging, uncomfortable stories as quaint and harmless.  Nostalgia robs history of its ability to surprise, shock, amaze, replacing all stories with a generic one of how people sure were different in the old days.  It erases the stories of people who didn’t appear in charming advertisements.  It ignores specificity.  It’s ahistorical.