“The Future is History Waiting to Happen”
In my junior year as a history major, one of my dorm-mates (an economics major) loved to joke that “There is no future in history.” Putting aside his double-sided pun that history majors have meager career prospects, he was right – based upon the standard definition, there is no future in history, only the past. And frequently, this opinion has led many of my contemporaries to scorn history as a subject that is inconsequential for the future.
I, however, do not agree, which is why my site’s motto is “the future is history just waiting to happen.” Although a seemingly empty platitude, this is nevertheless a true statement: the events, decisions, and actions we make in our lives today or in the future are what will one day become history. History is made up of the lives of ordinary people, some of whom were placed in extraordinary circumstances and made decisions for good or ill. By studying history, I respect the men and women whose decisions, actions, and ideas made the world I live in today – even as I remain critical of or even disagree with some of their decisions. And by so doing, I have found a greater appreciation for and understanding of their legacy and my present. The historian Gordon Wood referred to this fuller understanding as a “historical sense” (The Purpose of History, 2008). Any individual who possesses a historical sense sees the world in full color, full 3D, by being aware of the complexity and history behind events of our own day. Developing my own “historical sense” and cultivating it in others is my goal as a maturing historian, and I hope this site helps you cultivate this appreciation for history. Visit my blog “Balance Point” to follow me through the joys and travails of graduate school; “All About Stephanie” to find out more about me; or “Resources” for a developing list of useful websites for the history aficionado. Welcome!