I am in Mount Vernon, Virginia for a month. I am working on my next book project at the Fred W. Smith Memorial Library for the Study of George Washington. I am sure I will write more about my experience at the library (and perhaps post some pictures) as my fellowship here unfolds. Stay tuned.
But in this post I want to talk about historians as time travelers. For the past several weeks, as anyone who reads this blog knows, I have been writing a lot about religion and politics in the 2016 presidential primary season.
Yesterday I journeyed back to the eighteenth century. I spent most of the day in the library reading letters written by and to George Washington in November 1776. (More on this project later).
After spending a day with documents related to the American Revolution, I returned to my room and started blogging about election coverage again. Today I am back in the 18th-century.
These kinds of transitions–from the 21st century to the 18th century and back again–can be intellectual exhausting. Think of it in terms of the jet lag one might experience when they visit a foreign country.
If you are doing history well you should probably be experiencing such jet-lag. If you are teaching history well, your students should also feel it.