Thursday, March 24, 2011

That Other Thing I Do

I always laugh when I'm asked "what did you do before you were a writer?" because I'm still doing it and have no intention of giving it up. I jokingly call my life as a history professor my 'day job' but it's a full-time endeavor and I love it.

When I've written about traveling of late it's usually been related to Nightshade, but I'm lucky that my history work takes me on the road too. This week I'm delighted to be at Saint Mary's College of Maryland for the Twelfth Annual Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Colloquium. The theme of this year's colloquium is Women in War: Object/Subject and feature historical, political, activist, and artistic interpretations of the topic.

Meeting the other visiting scholars and the faculty, students, and staff of the college has been wonderful, reminding me that gathering a group of engaged, caring people together and sharing ideas is the way the world can become a better place.

As a colonial historian I'm also enjoying the location. The college is located on the site of the first Maryland colony and has a public history exhibit that I visited.This building, the first state house, stands from 1676. It was amazing to be in a building that existed at the same moment Bacon's Rebellion and Metacom's War were underway.

And you can't have a colony without stocks. Let's all take a moment and be thankful that ear cropping and tongue dowels are no longer viewed as reasonable forms of punishment.

Maryland's colonial history has strong maritime connections and those connections continue today. The students of SMCM can take a course on colonial maritime history in which they learn how to sail The Dove - a replica of one of the colonial ships. I now really want to teach a course with a 'learn a colonial skill' component. Though I'm currently only qualified to teach students how they can identify a witch and I don't think that would be a great idea.
The campus of SMCM is lovely as well. And spring is already appearing here.

The nice barn-shaped brick building in the background is where I'm staying.

I'll return home tomorrow after a wonderful week of conversation, learning, and new friends. Thanks, Saint Mary's!


  1. I'm a history major right now and reading this post and seeing your pictures are totally making me geek out right now. Lucky you! Enjoy =)

  2. That sounds like a really cool topic! I actually went to school for art history, have an MA. People sometimes ask me if I wish I would have gone to school for writing instead, but I really don't. My art history education has a big influence on the kinds of stories I'm drawn to tell, so I wouldn't trade it for the world.

    Though it would be nice to make some money off a book, just to help pay off my student loans!

  3. Very nice post. I'm a history geek. I've toured Colonial Williamsburg in VA a number of times, and I love throwing myself back into the time period. If you haven't been there, then as a colonial historian, you absolutely *must* put it on your To-Do List.

  4. Yay for history fans! Christopher - I've been to Plymouth Plantation but not yet Colonial Williamsburg. I WILL get there :)

  5. Cool pics! I'd love to visit Maryland but I've never strayed too far from the Rockies . . . maybe one day. I considered becoming a history major as well but always ended up being drawn to english and psych. History rocks :)

    Cool Post!

  6. OMG! How did I not know you are a history professor? Maybe I knew and then forgot. I was not on the computer at all yesterday so I guess you're not in Maryland anymore. I majored in History and I live in Maryland, though not in St. Mary's. I wish I had known you were here! I was off yesterday and maybe I would have skipped my doc appointments to try to crash LOL!

  7. I love visiting historic sites and letting my imagination fly. Thanks for sharing the wonderful photos. And, also thanks for not giving away the witch tests. :O