T/TH 8:30-9:30 through 11/4/13 and 11-12 beginning 11/6/13
HIS161 - World History Prior to 1500
LEC100 - First Year Seminar
I never meant to become a historian.
I started out my college career as a math major, but changed that my sophomore year when I realized that I had been in a class for seven weeks without understanding a single thing the professor said. Then I became a psychology major, which worked out just fine except that I realized, not long before I graduated, that I had been taking history classes for fun all along and had enough to major in that too.
History should be fun that way.
I graduated with my BA from the University of Pennsylvania (Go Quakers! Fight! Fight! ... oh, never mind... ) in 1988 and tried to figure out whether I should continue in history or psychology. I went with the one that was most fun, the one I continued to read about even without having to take classes, and got my MA in American history from the University of Pittsburgh in 1991. Still not sure about what I would do with it, I ended up getting my PhD from the University of Iowa in 2002.
My specialty is the political culture of the early republic. Unlike the politicians who routinely make the claim, I actually do know what this country was founded upon. Nobody is running on that platform today, and nobody would vote for them if they did. Things change. Since graduating, my interests have expanded to include the atomic bomb, the separation of church and state in American history, and recent American politics, among other things. It's all good.
I have taught in the University of Wisconsin Colleges system since 1996. I was also the Executive Director of the Milton Historical Society for five years, where I ran an Underground Railroad museum and spent an inordinate amount of my time as a construction project manager.
Outside of the classroom, I've run my own handcrafted-soap company, served as a volunteer firefighter, and spent more than twenty-five years as a stagehand. I've lived in Wisconsin since 1995 but still consider Philadelphia my hometown. I don’t know why you can’t get a decent cheeseteak here in Wisconsin – a state full of beef and cheese – but there it is. You have to go to Philadelphia for one of those. My wife and I have two daughters, two cats, two rabbits, and an astonishing number of books, not all of which are about history.
Sometimes not taking the straight road works out better. I did not intend to be here, and yet here I am, still having fun with history. I hope you do too.