Last weekend I attended my last Kinder Institute event of my postdoctoral tenure: the Shawnee Trail Conference. You can read the program at this link; it was a mixture of history and political science papers, and the participants ranged from doctoral students to tenured professors. We even had a lunch-time presentation by Andrew Porwancher on his recently published book. (Frankly, I wish we could have heard about his current project, on Alexander Hamilton’s secret Jewish life.)
The conference was a reaffirmation of much of what I learned these last two years at the Kinder Institute: history and political science are very, very different fields. I mean, I learned a lot from the papers, and they were even interesting, but they are just framed around different questions and responding to different concerns. (I even tweeted about this at the time.) Now, it’s important to continue trying to reach across disciplinary boundaries–which I hope to do even after my Kinder stage–but it is a reminder of how much our scholarly contexts shape the way we look at our subjects.