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Austin Clark

M.A. Candidate
Fields: 19th century United States, Civil War, historiography, military history

History is tricky business. The closer you get, the more you realize that, to paraphrase a famous Doctor, it is not straight forward but made up of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey…stuff. I am fascinated by this stuff. When people ask me what kind of history I like best or what area I prefer to study, my answer is always the same: all of it. The truth of this has narrowed somewhat over the years, but by and large I find my historical interests have not become more focused so much as shifted. By the time I graduated Gettysburg College in 2012, I found that I had become fascinated less by research and more by the point where it hit the pavement. In academic parlance, public history.

Here at UMass, I am closer than ever. While I have had insightful and transformative experiences working in cultural organizations such as Canterbury Shaker Village and the American Museum in Britain, I look forward to the public history program giving me a more systematic and rigorous way to become better. Better at being a historian, yes, but more importantly, better at taking responsibility for a tiny part of the wibbly-wobbly past we all share.