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Captivating Public History – Ask A Mortician

My husband finds the most interesting things to watch. I’ve come to depend on him to bring me fresh television, movies, and videos. Recently, he introduced me to the YouTube channel “Ask A Mortician” by Caitlin Doughty. The channel has over 1.46 million subscribers (I am now one of them) and it is easy to see why. The subject matter (death!) and Caitlin, with her Bettie Page haircut and approachable, humorous, manner, are captivating. She…

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Whose History Belongs to Whom?

As per usual, existential questions related to the history field have bubbled to the surface on Twitter. I’ve got two of them to discuss in this post. They appeared on Twitter within a week of each other and though they were posted separately by different people, they speak to each other. The first existential question was raised by applied math professor Chad Topaz. I know Chad personally because he was my daughter’s advisor at Macalester…

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Let’s Not Wait for History to Make Judgements

Throughout the four years of the Trump regime, as report after report came out about corrupt, unethical, possibly illegal, democratic-norm-breaking behavior, joined by an incessant number of lies, conspiracy theories, threats, and nasty comments, there has been a common refrain on Twitter. “History will not judge these individuals well.” As though merely pointing out how future people will look back on this time, shake their finger, and say, “Tsk, tsk,” and individuals currently engaging in…

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Reading to Understand the Roots of Racism in the U.S.

I set a goal of reading at least 3 history books this year. The first one I picked up was recommended to me by a friend: “White Trash. The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America.” by Nancy Isenberg. Little did I know how incredibly relevant the book would be in terms of current events in Minnesota when I started reading this at the beginning of May. The killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black…

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Why Are There Dinosaurs in My Plant Catalog?

A couple of months ago, I received a Farmer Seed and Nursery spring catalog in the mail. Having never received one of these before, I can only surmise that the Arbor Day Foundation shared my information with the company. I became a member of the Arbor Day Foundation in November 2019 and when I got my membership materials, something in them indicated they would sell my info for marketing purposes. Let me just say, aside…

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