Hello and welcome to Brick by Brick: History in the Present Tense, a blog created by graduate students in the History department at NC State. Here, we strive to provide a space for graduate students, faculty and alumni to share ongoing research, exchange ideas and resources, and explore topics through the research of their peers. The strength of this department, in both its faculty and students, is the wide array of historical interests and topics studied. These interests and topics span thousands of years of human history, from ancient Mesopotamia to the modern period. This blog attempts to provide a place where this wide array can be placed on full display, for both the NC State community and a larger academic one. We welcome contributions from all aspects of the discipline, academic or professional, especially those concerning the contemporary ramifications and relevance of historical scholarship.
An explanation of this blog’s title, Brick by Brick: History in the Present Tense, is a necessary aspect of this introduction. Its first section, Brick by Brick, points to one of the more noticeable aspects of the university, its fondness for brick. If you have ever stepped foot on campus, you will immediately notice the abundance of red brick, in almost every building and pathway. One of the focal points of campus is even known as the Brickyard, pointing to the wide swath of bricks marking the center of the university’s main campus. The point of this blog, using the bricks as a larger analogy for each historian’s post, is to build our own historical Brickyard, Brick by Brick. The second part of the title, History in the Present Tense, is a focal point for each historian’s “brick”. We, as historians, have long been pushed to discuss the significance of our work, no matter its focus. Investigating history in the present tense, i.e. discussing our research fields in respect to the relevance of the modern world, allows us to push the appeal of our work well outside the confines of our specialized fields, bringing our research to a much wider audience. This allows for all readers to find some commonality with each post, even if the larger world of your research may be beyond most readers’ knowledge. It is for these reasons that Brick by Brick: History in the Present Tense fits both the hosting university as well as the larger mission of the blog itself.
This blog has been a year in the making, and I would be remiss if I did not close with a special thanks to all of those who have had a hand in getting this project off the ground. What began as an idea that had been floated around the department flourished, thanks in large part to the hard work and dedication of a small team of students and faculty, into the blog that we are proud to present you today. For this, you have my profound thanks.
With this, I welcome you to Brick by Brick: History in the Present Tense.