Unwritten Histories

The Unwritten Rules of History

Category: About

What’s In My Bag: Unwritten Histories Turns 1!

Unwritten Histories Turns 1!

Can you believe it’s already been a year? I can’t! Ok, technically it’s tomorrow, but it’s close enough.

I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what to do for this anniversary. There will apparently be an Unwritten Histories birthday party and/or gathering at the CHA this year, which I am blaming entirely on Adam Montgomery and Kesia Kvill. I don’t have any specific details yet, but if you’d like to join us for food and drink (minus the effigy, Adam!), let me know! We’re trying to confirm the best time and day for this to happen. Also, I haven’t been to Toronto since I was 12, so I have no idea where we’re going. (Oh yeah, did I tell you I’m going to the CHA this year? I hope you guys are all going to come see me talk at the history blog roundtable!)

It was Catherine Ulmer who gave me the inspiration for this post. My actual purse is pretty boring, so instead, I’m going to take a look at what’s in my blog, reflecting on everything that’s happened over the past year.


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Unwritten Histories Needs Your Help

Unwritten Histories Needs Your Help!


This is one of the most difficult blog posts that I’ve ever had to write.

Many people have commented to me about how amazing it is that I am able to find time to do this blog. These people often assume that I have either a permanent position at a university, or at least some kind of ongoing work teaching. The reality is that I haven’t been employed for the past year.

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Programming Schedule Update

As promised! I’m doing really well so far, and been spending most of my time napping. That said, while I’m pretty much back to normal, I don’t really have enough time to put together the full roundup for Sunday morning. So I’ve decided to push it to Monday instead. After this, we will resume our regular posting schedule. I’m so sorry for all of the interruptions and super grateful for your patience! I’ve got a ton of great blog posts in development that I can’t wait to share with you. See you guys on Monday!

Unwritten Histories – The Blog

photo-1429051781835-9f2c0a9df6e4Welcome! This blog will focus on the unwritten rules to history, as both a discipline, a field of study, and as a career. The information that appears in this blog is the result of thirteen years of doing history at the undergraduate and graduate level as well as six years working as a sessional instructor.

Here’s a look at some of the series I’ll be featuring:

  • Undergraduate Corner:
    • How to find good secondary and primary sources and what to do with them once you have them
    • How to construct an argument
    • Dos and Don’ts for paper writing
    • The art of documentation
  • Graduate School
    • How to prepare for comps
    • Navigating your relationship with your supervisor
    • Applying for grants
  • How To Do Academic Research 
    • Tips and Tricks for effectively searching archives
    • What to do with your research material once you’ve found it
    • Useful software for historians (Evernote, Devonthink, Scrivener, Pages)
  • So You Want to be a Sessional
    • How to build your own course outlines
    • Selecting appropriate reading material
    • Coming up with lesson plans
    • Online resources for activities
    • Developing your pedagogy
    • Building relationships with students
  • The Academic Life
    • Age and seniority
    • Conferences
    • Building on online presence and social media profile (especially on Twitter!)
    • Finding love
    • Survival tips when moving to a new city and/or university
    • Staying sane, happy, and healthy
  • Good Reads
    • Fiction, non-fiction, academic books, articles, and blogs I’m enjoying
  • Historical Tidbits
    • Interesting stories
    • Latest historical or archaeological discoveries

This is the information that I wish I had known going into university, when I applied for graduate school, during graduate school, and in my early academic career. The kind of information that, as many historians would say, is taken for granted, and consequently rarely discussed. Few academic historians will teach you this information, believing that acquiring this knowledge is part of the process of becoming an academic. But I think this kind of attitude perpetuates the “professorial mystique” while also crippling young historians. I can tell you that I’ve learned so much more outside of graduate school than I ever did while enduring it, and that my understanding of the past now is consequently much deeper and richer.

While I will be focusing on Canadian history, since that’s my background, the information on this site will be useful, no matter your specific field.

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