Guest Post: On the Past’s Presence: Historians against Slavery

Today’s guest post comes from Nathan Jérémie-Brink, a Ph.D. student at Loyola University Chicago. His current research examines African-American print culture as it relates to religious and antislavery movements. Nathan also currently serves as the new media assistant for Common-place.

Historians Against SlaverySept. 19-21, 2013 marked the first annual conference of Historians Against Slavery, at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is true that very few historians today would endorse John C. Calhoun’s opinion that slavery was in history or is now “a positive good.” Even so, historians rarely consider the valuable role that our research, and our teaching may play in present-day antislavery movements. The fear of presentism remains an obstacle to the historian’s meaningful involvement in modern-day activism. Certainly, historians must avoid anachronistic descriptions of slavery that undermine the specific realities of the early-modern Atlantic world and the early American republic. But there ought to be openness in the academy and in the discipline to let the historical record elucidate comparisons or contrasts between slaveries of the past and the present.  Continue reading

Guest Post: Working for the Library

Today’s post is by guest blogger, David J. Gary, who received his MLS from Queen’s College (CUNY) in 2011 and his PhD in History from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2013. He is currently an adjunct assistant professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at Queens College (CUNY). He blogs at Function Follows Forme.

I am grateful to The Junto for this chance to reflect on my experiences earning both a Master’s in Library Science and a PhD in American history and to advocate for others to consider joining me.  Continue reading