University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA
GPA: 3.57, Projected Graduation: Summer 2016
Relevant Coursework: History of Jazz, American Legal History, U.S. Since 1945
Germanna Community College, Fredericksburg, VA
GPA: 4.0, Associate Degree
- Independently researching projects and delivering presentations encompassing historical, political and sociological disciplines
- Extensive use of databases including Library of Congress, JSTOR, Lexis Nexis, American History in Video, WorldCat and Naxos
- Ability to effectively gather, compile, synthesize and distribute information
- Concise expression of written and oral ideas
- Skilled in social media/blog platforms including WordPress, Twitter and Facebook
- Completed selective, yearlong Virginia Department of Transportation Supervisory and Leadership Training Program
- Established and maintained files pertaining to safety and hazardous materials
- Experienced in Microsoft Office, Google Drive and Commonwealth of Virginia asset management and payroll software
- Evaluated safety conditions at VDOT facilities and ensured compliance with state and federal safety regulations
Virginia Department of Transportation, Fredericksburg, VA- Operator
December 2010 – September 2013
- Facilitated the maintenance of roads and rights-of-way with a nine-person team
- Responded to and promptly resolved customer concerns and complaints
- Served during weather and traffic emergencies to institute public safety measures
Milton Department of Public Works, Milton, MA- Working Foreman
February 2000 – November 2010
- Oversaw three-person team in skilled maintenance of underground utilities
- Assisted foreman in directing maintenance of pavement infrastructure
- Communicated employee safety concerns to supervisor as Safety Liaison
I have approached this paper differently from my usual process. I got an earlier start than I normally do. This allowed me to avoid the procrastination that for me can very nearly destroy a paper before it exists, only to be saved by a desperate last blast of activity hours before it is due. I have written an actual rough draft this time. Instead of painstakingly assembling a paper line by line and then going back and editing, I allowed myself the freedom of a shitty first draft and, I must admit, writing is a much less stressful process this way. I still have not done a formal outline. I prefer to write the paper and then go back and move sections around and tweak transitions where needed. No matter how I approach a paper I find that my best work happens before lunch. My brain takes a break during the afternoon and my children take whatever is left after that. This paper has been enjoyable to work on because, while I have read about and listened to James Brown for years, I tended focus more on his music and unique personality than on his social and political influence which this paper has allowed me to delve into deeply for the first time.
I have a similar relationship with citations to my relationship with writing. It is sometimes an arduous process, but after it is done I get a tremendous feeling of satisfaction when I take in the finished product. For me the pain of citing is often a product of physical fatigue rather than the mental anguish that the writing process can bring on. I tend to leave my citations for the end of a project and delve into them only after I am satisfied with the body of my work and my eyes are reduced to slits, my heavy lids barely admitting light.
The sometimes bleary-eyed work of citing is worth the work when writing history. Historians almost always rely on the works of others in order to develop and synthesize an argument. Citations place the new work in historical and historiographic context by establishing the point in time at which it was written and by revealing how the author’s argument took shape. Readers can use a work’s bibliography to help them determine the reliability of its argument and also as a jumping off place for further research.
The various citation styles used in different disciplines, while eye-ache inducing to writers, demonstrate what a discipline finds most important while aiding readers, researchers, and the Academy in contextualizing a work. History citations offer a frame of reference, scientific citations help place new research on a timeline, and literary citations lead readers to original source works. Sometimes the most frustrating part of citing works can be the time it takes to find the format that a discipline finds to be just exactly perfect. However, the more one works within a given citation system and becomes familiar with the information asked for and the general order it which it is arranged, the easier it becomes to assemble citations that tick all the right boxes and, most importantly, establish the credibility of ones work.
I am Dan Enos, history major at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA, on track to graduate in the summer of 2016. I plan to enter grad school to earn my Masters degree in Library and Information science. As yet, I have not settled on what kind of library I want to work in, but have narrowed it down to public libraries and college/university libraries. As a person who benefited greatly from getting my college career restarted by attending a community college, I would love to explore working in a community college library as a career option.
When I reflect upon what my digital identity looks like, my mind’s eye sees a Facebook page with myself tagged on pictures of my kids that my wife posted, a half-constructed LinkedIn page that I have not actually seen since about 2012, and a bunch of articles about my name twin, Dan Enos, college football coach somewhere in Michigan. The intrepid searcher may even find something from a local Milton, Massachusetts newspaper in which my picture has appeared once or twice, but I would be surprised if that came anywhere in the first few dozen pages of Google results.
When I run my name through Google, I find that the first ten pages are almost completely taken up by Dan Enos, football coach. There are a handful of hits for other Dan Enos based blogs by some non-football coach name twins, but nothing about me, the REAL Dan Enos. When I searched danenos.org my own blog came up along with sites containing generic information about the blog page (I learned that if I want to sell it I can score upwards of $8).
My digital identity is pretty much non-existent at this point. As long as my public profile is lower than my namesake coach, it will stay that way. I would like my identity not to be subsumed by his, but the sheer volume of content related to him and his various teams means I have copious work to do to in order to raise my online profile. As far as the content that is related to me, I need to work on making it reflect my life and work in a more well-rounded way than it now does. While the content that is available is not bad, it does not reflect anything about me beyond my coursework in HIST 297 and 298.
The more focused study of narrower fields that has emerged in the larger historical field has, not only provided new insight into the past, but also highlighted issues that historians consider important in today’s world. In Francis Parkman’s time the study of Native American gender roles or the effects of deforestation and erosion on shipping were not studied because historians neither saw those as important topics to document for posterity, nor thought they were important in the context of their own time period. One reason that consensus histories fail to tell the stories of individuals, different genders, or environmental concerns, among other narrower fields, is because the historians writing them did not look at their world in terms of those issues. Just as Parkman’s grand narrative can tell us something about the period in which it was written, new sub-categories of historical study reflect the social, environmental and economic concerns of today.
These types of studies work well when they offer a new perspective on history by telling a well documented story from a new angle. However, there is always a danger that history can be used to push an agenda. Revisionists can pick and choose historical narratives and use them to assemble an argument for or against a particular issue under the guise of scholarly research, with the underhanded, unstated goal of foisting their own politics, religion, or social values on unsuspecting readers. While that would be less likely in scholarly circles than in the popular publishing world, readers should guard against unscrupulous revisionism. This is a potential problem in any field of historical study, but narrower fields can be attractive for writers with ulterior motives or who may be seeking to right the perceived wrongs of previous scholarship.
With that said, I have found that reading narrowly focused scholarly studies nearly always provides a useful and enlightening new viewpoint on an issue, and often presents a wholly new idea that I had never considered before. Over the last two semesters I have read about the industrial revolution from both the environmental and legal historical angles. Not only do I have a better understanding of that era by having read in both disciplines, but the study of each smaller field contributed to my understanding of the other one.
For me, there will always be a certain appeal to the traditional histories that Americans keep retelling , especially because the most satisfying historical stories tell of the triumph of the good guys against the bad guys. The Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World War II are all examples of American (or Yankee) values and valor winning out over forces of evil. These kinds of stories will always gratify those pleasure centers in the brain that love to see happy endings. See: Star Wars.
However, the traditional histories tend to stagnate under their own universality. Once a certain version of a story becomes accepted as part of the popular subconscious, it can be over-romanticized and ossify into mythology. The midnight ride of Paul Revere comes to mind as an example.
The more histories I read, I find myself ever more drawn to the smaller stories that, while they often are a part of the fabric of the larger narratives we all know, are hidden behind the traditional narratives. These off-the-beaten-path microhistories, which often challenge consensus history, can offer new insights into traditionally accepted stories. They can also make for good reading simply because they have something new to say, especially on social issues. The white male dominance of the historical narrative, while still relevant as the story of those who were in power, has been supplemented by histories of those who held little or no power, but still contributed to history.
One reason that historians have branched out into these more focused fields can be chalked up to the changing demographic of who is studying history. When only white men were studying and writing history, history was all about white men. Now that the Academy is open to a much more diverse cross-section of people, the resulting output has changed to reflect that fact. In this climate of diversity it would not come as a surprise to read that some historian has uncovered evidence that Paul Revere was a woman. Okay, maybe not. But, if they did it would make for good reading.
In the epilogue to his book Empire of Fortune, Francis Jennings rhetorically asks and answers “Who does not have biases? The issue is what kind” (p. 480). All writers have biases and perhaps the most difficult bias for a writer to overcome is his location in time relative to the events he is writing about. Every writer is necessarily a product of the era they live in and can only write from that specific place in time. Jennings and Francis Parkman both wrote about the Seven Years War; Jennings wrote during the second half of the twentieth century and Parkman during the middle to late nineteenth century. Both had access to many of the same sources and wrote about the same events, but told very different stories because of the influence of contemporary politics, social mores, and historical viewpoints.
Parkman used dramatic language and picturesque turns of phrase to portray his notions of British superiority over both the French and their Native American allies. As someone brought up in class last week, Parkman’s portrayal of Natives’ as ungodly savages could be read as propaganda for 1850s westward expansion by Americans into lands occupied by Natives, who, because of their backwards ways and inhuman behavior, were not deserving of the lands God had destined white Americans to tame. Thus, Parkman’s narrative of the of savage, immoral, even cannibalistic Natives of the 1750s and 1760s could serve as a call to arms for Americans to eradicate the Natives of the western wilderness during the 1850s.
Jennings set out with the stated intention of righting the wrongs of what he referred to as Parkman’s “novels, miscalled histories” that had for decades been seen as a definitive, well researched account of the Seven Years War. Jennings version of the events of the war relies less on the drama and hero worship Parkman employed, and is based on a more humanistic approach. Jennings portrays Natives as much more than mere cutthroat savages while also painting a warts-and-all picture of the Europeans Parkman exalted. The result is ostensibly a more balanced treatment of the war. Jennings, writing in a politically, sexually, and racially liberalized post-Civil Rights Act world, chose a progressive stance that could not have been imagined in the world occupied by Parkman.
Parkman wore his bias on his sleeve and made no attempt to hide his alliances when recounting the war. Jennings’ bias is subtler because of his positive portrayal of Natives and a willingness to portray the flaws of Europeans (which readers of today find palatable and 1850s readers would not), and also because of his relative nearness in time to contemporary readers. Jennings runs the risk of overcompensating for Parkman’s bias by favoring too much the ideas Parkman did not and discrediting out of hand those Parkman espoused. The extent of that bias will only be revealed after more time passes and new generations read Jennings with the same critical eye with which Jennings read Parkman.