These pages are for my students, who need a place to find links to their courses, and for anyone else who might be interested in my historical work or links to experimental publishing projects.
By way of introduction, I’m posting this photo taken by Linda Burton at the Seattle museum of science fiction. Gort was the robot from a movie called The Day the Earth Stood Still. Despite the uncanny resemblance, I’m the handsome one on your right. The museum is extremely cool, and if you don’t see it next time you’re in Seattle, Gort will know where to find you.
Why do historians like science fiction? It has something to do with what history is and what it ought to be.
Most people suffered through their history classes, struggling to stay awake as Professor Dryasdust t0ld them what dates to memorize. But if history is a guide to the future, as Thucydides once said, it ought to be the most interesting thing in the world. So part of what concerns me is how to present history in a way that catches some of that interest.
I think part of the problem is what we actually study. Conflict has been a huge part of our past, and is usually the main area for historical studies, and yet, amazingly, there’s very little attention paid to our attempts to avoid conflict. The sources of conflict include fights over resources, but what have people done in the past to find alternatives and optimize resource use? Why isn’t that part of conflict history? How do we organize communication systems and what interests do they serve?
These are some of the questions that don’t get enough attention, and they are serious questions that affect our future, at least, far more than the insufferable droning about civil war battles and all the great heroes.
Yes, now I’ve said it. History is more than Great Men and Great Battles !! Holy cow ! Ill bet the historical society is going to sic Gort on me. Too late, though. Me and Gort go way back.