Introduction – Blake Harris

The Life and Times

When I tell people where I am from I get two main responses. “Have you seen Portlandia?” and “Like the Oregon Trail Game! Haha! Dysentery!” As much of a cultural mainstay as Oregon may seem to be according to these interactions however, Oregon is not an academic center of historical thought or practice. Therefore, post-graduation from Southern Oregon University with a BA in History I decided I would like to go somewhere perhaps a bit more central to the conversation of History. So here I am, enjoying and enduring my first year of grad school as a Public History student.

I have been passionate about History since I first discovered that my parents let me watch more TV if it was considered “educational”. Luckily for me the History Channel had not yet devolved into the alien antique channel and before I knew it spending weekends watching “World War II in Color” turned into reading extensive non-fiction books during my free time.

As a result, I have known that I would pursue History professionally for the past ten years. I threw some minors in along the way, German and Political Science, but as my first love History has, and continues, to dominate my academic life and pursuits.

Uncertainty of the future has been a persistent nuisance of my life over the past five years as I have lived in seven different places and worked as many different jobs. But the constant of History has remained, whether in a museum, historical society, or somewhere else entirely I know that I will eventually work in a capacity such that History is of primary concern. And if that is going to be possible, I need to hone all my relevant skills, including technology skills.

The Digital World

Technology and I are on speaking terms, but we are not close. However, I am a fervent believer in the importance of technology as a means to engage broad audiences and to facilitate the preservation and perpetuation of historical knowledge.

I am really excited for this course as a means to further develop my skills as a Historian in the age of technology. I eagerly anticipate the challenges associated with learning new tools that will allow me to converse and collaborate more fluidly with colleagues as well as with the public. I am also looking forward to practicing a new kind of writing through the blog and learning how best to use digital platforms for historical work.

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