On Friday, 23 October 2015, Wright State grad Kyle Yoho will be coming back to WSU to talk about something near and dear to his heart: reenacting, living history, and education. Kyle will discuss “Planning Your Own Living History Event” at the Millett Hall Atrium, 23 October, 11:15 am – 12:15 pm. Kyle, who earned his MA in Public History here at Wright State in 2014, is currently Education Director at The Castle Historic House Museum in beautiful Marietta, Ohio. Kyle has been involved in Civil War reenacting for eleven years, and for the past decade he’s organized a Civil War living history event at his hometown of Woodsfield, Ohio — an event which, in 2014, garnered the Ohio Local History Alliance’s award for excellence in public programming. This talk should prove to be of great interest to anyone with an interest in reenacting, in military history, or in public history, especially our PH students who have a museum career in mind.
Attendance is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
Shameless plug, but it’s not for myself so it’s perfectly OK 🙂 : if you’re curious about what “living history” is, check out the blog for Dr. Lockhart’s HST4850/6850 “Living History” course: Living History at Wright State University.
Kyle’s talk is co-sponsored by War & Society, Wright State University, and by the Department of History, Wright State University.
Well, we’re nearly halfway through the Fall term. Enrollments in the W&S MA concentration are growing, and we’re getting our first students in the new W&S undergrad minor and the equally-new W&S/Public History hybrid MA. We premiered at least one new course this term — Dr. Lockhart’s “Living History” course, which looks at “living history” and reenacting as avenues for public history (and how to do that properly) — and next term we’ll have a bumper crop of W&S-eligible classes. Again, remember that if you’re intending to get your History MA with a War & Society concentration, all of your courses — your required courses, that is — must be deemed “W&S eligible.” Please refer to the program guidelines elsewhere on this site.
Here are the W&S course selections for grad credit:
HST 6000-02: Greek Warfare (1:25 – 2:20pm MWF, Dr. Bruce Laforse)
HST 6050-01: The Crusades (10:10 – 11:05am MWF, Dr. Christopher Beck)
HST 6150-01: Europe between the Wars (11:00am – 12:20pm TR, Dr. Susan Carrafiello)
HST 6450-01: Colonialism in the Middle East (2:00 – 3:20pm TR, Dr. Awad Halabi)
HST 6820-01: Military Technology and the Art of War, 1750-1945 (9:30 – 10:50am TR, Dr. Paul Lockhart)
HST 6830-01: History of South Africa (12:20 – 1:15pm MWF, Dr. Christopher Oldstone-Moore)
HST 7130-01: US in the Cold War (seminar) (4:40 – 7:20pm M, Dr. Jonathan Winkler)
HST7400-01: Comparative Genocide (seminar) (5:00 – 7:40 T, Dr. John Sherman)
Again, I should remind all of our W&S graduate students that they must also take HST 7000, which will also be offered Spring 2016. This semester, Dr. Lockhart will be teaching HST7000 (HST7000-01, 5:00 – 7:40 T, Dr. Paul Lockhart).
We’ve got a nice, rich line-up of War and Society eligible courses this coming Fall term, both for the W&S undergraduate minor and the two graduate concentrations. Here they are:
For the W&S undergraduate minor:
HST3100-01: War in European History (Dr. Lockhart). 10:10 – 11:05 MWF. ***NEW COURSE***
HST3600-01: US Military History (Dr. Winkler). 12:20 – 1:15 pm MWF.
HST3900-01: Global Encounters (Dr. Oldstone-Moore). 11:00 am – 12:20 pm TR.
HST3900-02: Atlantic World History (Dr. McIlvenna). 9:30 – 10:50 TR.
HST4000-01: Roman Republic (Dr. Edwards). MWF 2:30 – 3:25 pm.
HST4050-01: Medieval Myths and Legends (Dr. Beck). MWF 10:10 – 11:05 am.
HST4550-01: US Rise to Power (Dr. Winkler). MWF 2:30 – 3:25 pm.
HST4850-01: Living History (Dr. Lockhart). MWF 11:15 am – 12:10 pm. ***NEW COURSE***
For the W&S and W&S/Public History graduate concentrations:
HST6000-01: Roman Republic (Dr. Edwards). 2:30 – 3:25 pm MWF.
HST6050-01: Medieval Myths and Legends (Dr. Beck). 10:10 – 11:05 am MWF.
HST6550-01: US Rise to Power (Dr. Winkler). 2:30 – 3:25 pm MWF.
HST6850-01: Living History (Dr. Lockhart). 11:15 am – 12:10 pm MWF. ***NEW COURSE***
HST7330-01: Middle East WWII – Present (Dr. Halabi). 4:40 – 7:20 pm M.
Thirty some-odd years in the making. Well, maybe not thirty-some-odd, but a very long time regardless. I’m pleased to announce that Wright State War & Society will be offering another first. Our first first — the War & Society/Public History concentration, aimed at PH students who have a special interest in military history or who might be aiming for a career in a museum or historic site with a military history focus.
And now our second first (ahem!): a course on “Living History and Reenacting.”
I’m sure that a few eyes will roll at this one, but I have my reasons. I’ve been involved in living history and reenacting since I was in my mid-teens (in the late seventies). All military-related. First Civil War, then American Revolution, then seventeenth century (both English Civil War and Thirty Years’ War), and most lately the World Wars. Mostly it’s been for fun; lately it’s had a lot to do with family, as my older sons are both avid reenactors. But it’s been a big part of my life for a very long time. As a professional historian, I’ve struggled with my feelings about living history, and like many academic historians I have deep reservations about reenacting and reenactors: their concern with material culture above all other things, their sometimes minimal understanding of the larger historical context of the eras they reenact, the degree of ancestor-worship and overt sentimentality that often colors reenacting. But as a reenactor, I can state categorically that living history has taught me much that I couldn’t learn any other way; as I writer, I can say that I’ve taken away lots of intangibles that have helped my prose considerably. When you’ve actually eaten cold boiled salt pork in the pouring rain, or dragged a 150-pound (and more) water-cooled machine gun through the mud, you have an idea — just an idea, but better than nothing at all — of the challenges that soldiers have faced throughout history.
Either way, reenacting brings people to history in a way that few other things can. Living history programs at open-air museums (Colonial Williamsburg, Plimoth Plantation, Old Sturbridge Village, et al.) and a NPS battlefields reach millions of “history tourists” annually. Thousands more participate directly in living history-related activities, including battle reenactments; hundreds of thousands more watch these events every year. Living history, in other words, reaches a much broader public than can be served by academic historians, and it “brings history to life” in a way that few museums can by means of static displays alone. For those reasons alone, historians ought to take it more seriously. But there is a disconnect between the worlds of living history and academic history. And that’s unfortunate.
In this class, I’ll be introducing students to the history of reenacting and living history, the interesting (and sometimes, to outsiders, very very weird) subcultures of reenacting. We’ll look at what we can teach and learn through reenacting — its potential, in other words — and what we can’t teach or learn through reenacting. We’ll look at what reenactors get wrong, and what they get right. MOST IMPORTANT — we’ll be doing as well as discussing. We’ll look at the kind of research that goes into (or ought to go into) the individual personae that reenactors and “living historians” portray (that, by the way, is called an “impression”), and the kind of research and work that goes into a larger living history “program” at an historic site. And it won’t just be about uniforms and firearms and gear … or even just about soldiers. Historical reenacting might be mostly oriented around military subjects and wars, but that doesn’t mean that it’s only about military personnel. We’ll be looking at “civilian” roles, portrayal of cultural expressions and attitudes, and about “period” lifeways — food, work, language, everyday life.
What do I hope to achieve with this? Lots, actually. For those who are already involved in living history, I hope we can shed a little light on what can be done with this activity. For those who are new to living history but interested in it, I hope we can do the same that we do for the “veterans,” but also to give you a place to start and a direction to pursue. For students interested in a career in public history, I hope that we can generate some ideas as to what can be done with reenactors and practitioners of living history, to enhance the educational value of museums and historic sites. And for everybody, including myself, I hope to have fun. Actually, I intend to have fun.
Assigned texts will include Tony Horwitz’s best-selling Confederates in the Attic, Stacy Roth’s Past into Present, and Scott Magelssen’s Enacting History.
HST4850/6850-01, Fall Semester 2012. 11:15am – 12:10pm MWF, Dayton campus.
Any questions? Email Dr. Lockhart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here they are. Fall course list will be posted in the next week or so. Any questions? Email Dr. Lockhart at email@example.com.
- HST4100/6100-A01: The Art of War in Early Modern Europe, 1400-1789. MTWR 9:50 – 11:30am. Instructor: Dr. Lockhart [HST4100 qualifies for W&S undergraduate minor; HST6100 qualifies for graduate concentrations in W&S and Public History/W&S (see below)]. Offered Summer A session only.
- HST4450/6650-A01: Middle East, WWII to Present. TR 4:40 – 8:05pm. Instructor: Dr. Halabi. [HST4450 qualifies for W&S undergraduate minor; HST6650 qualifies for graduate concentrations in W&S and Public History/W&S (see below)]. Offered Summer A session only.
- HST4870-A01: Veteran’s Voices Oral History. MW 4:40 – 8:05pm. Instructor: Ms. Bridget Newbury. [Qualifies for W&S undergraduate minor]. Offered Summer A session only.
Some of you know about this already, but now it’s finally here: a joint MA/History concentration in both Public History and War & Society. When we started the W&S graduate concentration, a good number of Public History students expressed their regret that they couldn’t do both. That was a compelling reason to make a “hybrid” of the two, in and of itself, but it also occurred to us that there were possibly better reasons to do so. Perhaps most important is career-based — namely, that there are LOTS of military museums in the United States (one of the largest, the National Museum of the United States Air Force, is practically across the street, so to speak) and LOTS MORE museums that have significant military components. Military history is a popular topic in most college/university history programs, but as far as we can tell there’s been no effort, anywhere, to integrate military history and public history. So, I think it’s safe to say that we have something to brag about. While there are many “military history” and “war and society” programs, undergraduate and graduate, nationwide, Wright State University has the ONLY program to combine the two.
The basic outline of the degree is the same as that for a conventional concentration in Public History, but with an emphasis on the history of war and additional coursework in the history of war. In a nutshell, here are the concentration requirements:
1. Total number of credits: 44 credit hours (instead of the current 38).
2. Required Academic Core courses: 18 credit hours (instead of the current 12). Students in the Public History/War and Society concentration are required to complete fifteen hours (five courses) of designated “War and Society” coursework. At least six of those hours (two courses) must be earned in seminars (HST7100 – 7830). Students must also take Historical Methods (HST7000, 3 hours) for a total of eighteen hours. Two of the courses (excluding HST7000) may cover non-US topics.
3. Required Public History courses: The same requirements as for the conventional Public History concentration, except that the required “capstone project” (HST7900) will involve a war-related subject, collection, or exhibit, at the discretion of the director of Public History and the coordinator for War and Society.
I know it’s short notice, but try to get to these anyway:
Thursday, 16 October 2014, 12:30 – 2:00 pm. “Civilians and the Labor of War, 1914 – 1918,” a lecture by Dr. Tammy Proctor, professor of history at Utah State University (and formerly of Wittenberg University). Wright State, Millett Hall Atrium. Sponsored by WSU CELIA. Details here.
Friday, 14 November 2014, 2:30 pm: “Neither Sweet Nor Decorous: American Poetry in the First Year of the First World War,” a lecture by Dr. Mark Van Wienen, Professor of English at Northern Illinois University. Professor Van Wienen is the editor of Rendezvous With Death: American Poems of the Great War (University of Illinois Press, 2002) and the author of Partisans and Poets: The Political Work of American Poetry in the Great War (Cambridge University Press, 1997) as well as a number of articles about American literature and culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Wright State, Millett Hall Atrium. Sponsored by WSU CELIA.
Two things on the horizon: “While Your Hearts Are Yearning” and W&S information session
OK, listen up:
1. Information session for War and Society: the History Club at Wright State has graciously invited Dr. Lockhart to chat about the War and Society minor, the War and Society graduate concentrations, and the WWI commemoration at Wright State. Tuesday, 14 October 2014, 6:30pm, Dixon Hearth Lounge, Wright State Student Union. Questions? Email Dr. Lockhart at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lukas Schweikert at email@example.com.
2. Saturday, 11 October, 7:30pm, at Schuster Hall in Wright State’s Creative Arts Center: “While Your Hearts Are Yearning: Popular Music of the Great War,” a concert of British, American, Canadian, and Australian popular songs and soldier’s ditties from WWI. The first event in WSU’s CELIA (Collaborative Education, Leadership, and Innovation in the Arts, an Ohio Center of Excellence) program commemorating the centennial of the First World War, this concert has been put together under the very capable direction of our own multi-talented Dr. Christopher Oldstone-Moore, Senior Lecturer in History at Wright State. Faculty and students from WSU’s School of Music will perform. Free and open to the public! Come on out to support Dr. Oldstone-Moore, the History Department, and War & Society!
Dr. Issam Nassar’s lecture (9/18/14) on WWI in the Middle East, the Ottoman 1915 campaign to seize the Suez Canal, and photography in the war was a resounding success. I think we probably pulled in close to a hundred attendants, and of that I’m very proud. Here’s to more War & Society-sponsored events in the future…this year, even!