Pop history is my gateway drug

I absolutely adore historical dramas, the more baroque, the better. I want fancy costumes and beautiful houses and people charging around on horses while they affect ridiculous accents. And I’m also well aware that they are rife with painful anachronisms and a great number of my historian friends routinely throw things at the screen when they watch […]

‘Boat people’ and refugees

The 20th century — and into the 21st — was one of continual exodus and diaspora thanks to wars, border changes, and political shifts. Jewish people fled Europe in the Second World War, desperately seeking refuge from the Nazis. Survivors of the Vietnam war scattered after the fall of Saigon. Residents of the Balkans were […]

Memory and Forgetting

This year, the internet forgot 11 September. Maybe that’s too strong a phrasing — 11 September happened, and most people treated it like any other day, Thursday, the day before Friday. Headlines of US papers were filled with a variety of news, but no commemorations or retrospective think pieces. Here and there, you saw flashes […]

13 Years Later

The more time that passes, the stranger I feel about what happened 13 years ago. At the same time that my memories of that day are acutely clear in my mind — from waking up, to watching grainy footage on my laptop, to gathering in silence around televisions, to picking at our food in a […]