About Your Author

The other day I received a rather rude and obnoxious email from a reader who felt a need to point out that I misrepresented myself in a previous post.  It seems that my referencing of myself in the introduction to Peter Carmichael’s guest post as a “fellow historian” was deemed to be inappropriate.  The writer reminded me that I am just a high school teacher.  Of course, I didn’t publish the comment, and I thought it was somewhat suspicious that this was the only thing this particular reader had to say given that the post in question received just under 80 comments.  Still, given that this site continues to attract new readers I thought it might be an opportune time to introduce myself once again.

First and foremost I am a high school history teacher and I’ve been doing so since 1998.  This is what I am paid to do and it is my first love.  With the start of the new school year right around the corner you can once again anticipate more posts about my experiences in the classroom; in fact, one of the main reasons for this blog was to be able to share my teaching with a broader audience.  As to the self-referencing of myself as a Civil War historian in this blog’s subtitle, well, I will leave that to you to gauge.  Over the past few years I’ve published a couple of essay, presented talks at various conferences and roundtables and am at work on two book-lenght projects.  I recently set up a new Author Page for the blog and you can peruse my Curriculum Vitae for additional information.  I like to think of myself as a serious amateur historian.  Ultimately, I am not paid to do history and it almost always falls somewhere in the middle of my list of responsibilities.  I’ve toyed with the idea of going back to school for a PhD in history, but ultimately I am satisfied with my career as a professional high school teacher.  This is who I am.

As always I thank each and every one of you for making Civil War Memory a stop on your daily comings and goings.

12 responses... add one

I get so tired of that “if you’re not an academic, you’re not a historian” trope. Sure, there are some really incompetent amateur historians (like most members the SCV, for instance), but there are many others who do fabulous work and are thoughtful writers and conscientious researchers.

That commenter needs to learn that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Keep up the good work! I read every day, and I know of at least one of my fellow grad students (not a blogger) who loves your site.

I am reimagining that classic New York Public Library scene from Ghostbusters:

Dr. Peter Venkman: Are you, Black Confederate advocates, insecure right now?

Obnoxious Commenter: What’s has that got to do with it?

Dr. Peter Venkman: Back off, man. I’m an historian!

My definition of a “historian” is:

1) Anyone holding or pursuing a graduate degree in history;
2) Anyone working part- or full-time in the historical profession, for pay;
3) Anyone published in an amateur or professional historical journal or in book form, provided the book is historical in nature;
4) Local historians.

Gray areas are:
1) Professional genealogists;
2) History bloggers with no other historical affiliations.

I’ve been representing myself online as a historian since I took a professional position where “historian” was my official title (actually it was “research historian,” but I didn’t want to get too precise about it). I think you’re clearly a historian, and I’d challenge anyone to prove otherwise.

I dont believe the term “historian” can be clearly defined or strictly applied. Anyone who has a genuine appreciation of the subject matter and a thoughtful approach while open to differing interpretations should count for something.
Though I am still in pursuing an undergraduate degree, I like to think I am a historian or at least have historian potential. If I cannot be allowed the designation of “historian” I suppose I shall settle for the title “aspiring historian.”

The point is Kevin, you are a historian.

David McCullough is just a journalist.

You have a great blog and as a history major employed in the software industry, I look forward to it everyday.

I appreciate all the kind words, but I didn’t want this to turn into a question of who is or who isn’t a historian. To be honest, I don’t really care about the answer to that question. What I wanted to emphasize is that there is a reason why it says high school history teacher first.

Thanks again.

You’re a great teacher, too.

I never realized that it took a PhD to participate in history. What a bummer! This must be especially painful for cultures without university systems.

Kevin,

Anyone who has read your blog for any period of time knows that you certainly qualify as a historian. Sounds like someone just needs to minimize you in order to justify their differences with you…

I don’t always agree with you, but I love reading your blog.

Sean

Daniel, — It’s great to hear from you after all this time and also nice to see that your sense of humor is as sharp as ever.

Sean, — I appreciate that, but would also like to point out that perceptive and thoughtful readers such as yourself help to make this a worthwhile endeavor.

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