Where Historians Work: Q&A with Anne Petersen of Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation

“I went on to the doctorate because I didn’t want a ceiling on what I could achieve as a historian.” ~ Dr. Anne Petersen, Executive Director, Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation

Anne PetersenWelcome back to the latest installment of “Where Historians Work: The View from Early America.” Today, we venture westward to California to feature a Q&A with Dr. Anne Petersen, the Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. Katy and Anne discuss the dynamic history interpretation taking place at SBTHP, which focuses on the diverse cultures and communities that have called Santa Barbara home for centuries. The pair also consider the complexities of navigating a “dual identity” in graduate school when choosing to pursue an array of history careers. Continue reading

Guest Post: Dramaturging The Tower: A Historian’s Cannibalistic Adventures in Theater

Today’s guest post come from Maya Rook, a writer and artist living in Brooklyn, New York. She is pursuing her PhD in American Cultural History at Drew University. Collaborating on The Tower has inspired her to write her dissertation about the Donner Party. If she were to eat a piece of human flesh, it would likely be from the belly or rear—braised until the meat is tender and then broiled so the skin reaches crispy perfection. Check out her food blog and personal website.

TOWER_POSTCARD_FRONT-1 (2)Just over a year ago, I was at a celebration with friends and overheard someone talking about the Donner Party. My interest was piqued, as it isn’t everyday you hear people casually chatting about this group of California emigrants who resorted to cannibalism during the winter of 1846-47. I’d always been fascinated by the topic and was soon deep in a conversation with Adam Scott Mazer about his plans to write a play called The Tower based on the history and mythology of the Donner Party. Strangely enough, I’d recently wanted to get involved in theater but didn’t know how, so the timing seemed quite auspicious. When Adam discovered I was a PhD student in American Cultural History we decided to work together on the project and I was brought on board as the dramaturg. Continue reading