Many of you may be familiar with my work on the Civil War Addict blog and the Great War Addict blog. Writing two blogs and teaching 9 courses between three schools got to be a bit much. Add to that, the never ending back pain that I suffer on a daily basis, and as you can see, I had to scale back on a lot of things. Alas, the blogs fell by the wayside. I tried briefly to resurrect them after Christmas, but that proved to be short lived as soon as the semester started. So I have decided to take things in a different direction.
This blog will be a bit more broad in scope, encompassing things that fit into either of the other two blogs as well as other items of historical interest. Also, as someone who teaches history, I'll also include my thoughts about history as an academic discipline and the direction which I think it is (unfortunately) going. I hope my loyal readers don't mind the format change or the addition of a different blog that combines elements of the other two. Since I have the best readers in the world, I'm sure you won't.
So what's with the name? The longer I teach the more upset I get about many, if not most, historians out there. The truth of the matter is that the historical profession and the oldest profession are more similar than we would like to admit. We both make our livings off of other people. These days, it seems like in order to get a PhD in history you have to specialize in race, class, or gender. That's it. Just take a look at the new dissertation titles and you will see what I mean. If you are a military historian like I am, forget it. It is true, I don't have a PhD in history, but I was accepted into a very good university and offered funding in order to pay for it, but I chose not to attend. I am increasingly dismayed that many professors out there seem to want students to leave their classes feeling bad about their country. Yes, the United States has done some despicable things in our history. But would you rather live in Stalin's Soviet Union? Nazi Germany? All countries have skeletons in their closet. We must acknowledge ours in order to move forward. But when that is all that a US History survey course focuses on, there is a problem.
I approach my classes in a different manner. I let the participants in the events speak for themselves. I give facts and very few opinions. The students can make up their own minds. All groups are mentioned in my class. But at the same time, I have come to realize that students want to know more about the individuals who were people just like them than hear a recitation on some obscure topic. They just want to hear a good story, that's all. I don't consider myself a historian. I am a teacher first and a storyteller second. At best I am decent at both, but not great at either. That, dear readers, is why I call myself a half-a$$ historian. I apologize if you are offended by the language. In fact, my mother will probably refuse to read the blog because of it!
PLEASE, PLEASE click on the Facebook link on the top right of the page. This blog has its own Facebook page titled "The Historian" (lest the FB Nazi's remove it for using profanity!). PLEASE take a second to "like" it.
My name is Lee Hutch and I am proud to be a Half A$$ Historian.