New Windows

Three historians open a bar…. Soon afterwards the place receives regulatory approval as a treatment for insomnia. HOLD ON! Let this delightful lecture dispel that old saw. Retired Kalamazoo College history professors John Wickstrom, David Barclay, and David Strauss show how everything (how liberal arts is that!) has a history (informed by a multitude of sources), including, for example: politics, art, country music, the invasion of Ukraine, Mars, a forged biography of a medieval saint (pertinent, all these centuries later, to ongoing denial of the results of the 2022 U.S. presidential election), Julia Child, Kalamazoo College Faculty Council meeting minutes of the 1970s, “faith knowledge” and Czar Nicolas I, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, and the uses of fiction to understand fact and change. And the list goes on. The careers of these three teachers and scholars total more than a century. How they responded to the challenge of incorporating into their 10-week courses the tsunamis of new content and approaches to teaching and research in history is a story of inspiration told by master storytellers. How wonderful was the opportunity to respond to that challenge at a college that encouraged its learning community to try new things. Why do history? Fundamentally, because it’s fun to open new windows to the past.