Hey y’all, I’m Corinne! There are a few things that I always lead with when introducing myself, so here’s some of the more relevant basics: I was born and raised in Seattle, got my bachelor’s degree at Sarah Lawrence College in May of 2022, and am currently in my second semester of the public history MA program and a graduate fellow with the Humanities Truck right here at AU. Now that I’ve got that barest of minimums out of the way, time for a probably way too long explanation of how I got here in the first place!
So I was born the youngest of three (only because I was upside down and my twin sister wasn’t, I swear) to Oklahoman and Georgian parents who had driven from Alaska down to Seattle a couple years earlier. I had a pretty normal PNW childhood – soccer, lots of flannels, camping, absolutely refusing to use an umbrella. In high school I pretty much just enjoyed my history classes and volunteered with a restorative justice program at my school, then went off to college thinking I’d study politics and history and go to law school. After going to one pre-law meeting, however, I decided law school actually sounded like a nightmare, so instead I chose the two most useful degree concentrations of all time: history and film. Clearly the two most easily employable fields ever.
In my work with history, I really focused on 20th century political movements, especially anti-colonial nationalism in practice and the way nationalism functions as a tool more generally. In my film classes I did a bit of everything in the production and post-production phases, and in my final semester I and three other people in my class (plus a very talented composer I know) made a documentary about the Bronx River over the course of a semester! All of this came together to make me really love telling stories and understanding how narrative uses emotions to create community, history, and identity to inspire positive and negative action.
I knew that more school was coming my way, and I also knew I didn’t want to be in a field where the only people who cared about my work were other academics with the same niche interests as me. I looked for more public-focused options, found public history, and it immediately felt right up my alley!
Since getting to DC, I’ve been doing lots of on-the-ground work with the Humanities Truck, from event planning to interviewing to archiving. I’ve also focused in classes on ways to utilize different forms of media to make history engaging, accessible, and relevant to more people who don’t think they care about history. One of my projects from last semester was a map of Seattle with edited audio clips from oral histories pinned around the city sharing how Black and Asian men were at times excluded or welcomed into labor movements of the early 20th century. This semester and moving forward, I hope to do more projects like this, that can be used in educational spaces and on the street to get people engaged in their own local histories and remind them that history is everywhere, it’s always being made, and they always have and will play a role in it!