Category Creative Historical Thinking

A Few More Space-Time Visualizations

Space-time synesthesia, a topic that I have explored in my new book Creative Historical Thinking (Routledge, 2018), is the idea that some people reflexively think of time in spatial form. How they do so, however, differs from person to person. Exploring this idea, I have been asking classrooms of college students to days their views […]

Aerial Photographs of my house

In my new book, Creative Historical Thinking, I have a chapter about the history of my house, and all of the different creative ways you can use to learn more about your property. I end the chapter by saying that I don’t know what I will discover next, nor how I will learn more about […]

Alumni Feature (Hope College)

I am featured on the website of my alma mater’s history department. Here.

2-part Interview about my New Book

Last week I visited my friend Anthony Comegna at the CATO Institute to talk about my new book, Creative Historical Thinking.  Apparently the original stock of the book is sold out, so they are printing more. I don’t know if that means they sold 5, 50, or 150 copies. I’m pretty happy with how the […]

The Shame of Forgetting Maurice Mandelbaum

While most historians have never heard of him, Maurice Mandelbaum, a philosophy professor at Darmouth University, was the founding father of the analytic philosophy of history.  When Mandelbaum launched his professional career in the 1930s, the “philosophy of history” meant essentially what we would today call “speculative history”, that is, grand theorizing about the ultimate […]

Assignments to turn students into historians

As a college student, I wrote a lot of history research papers. Research and writing are two essential tasks of a historian. However, when a class is only 15 weeks long, and when students are being introduced to a topic for the first time, it seems unfair and unproductive to assign them a 15 to […]

Counting pounds, shillings, and pence

I came across this back-of-the-page sketching in an 18th century collection the other day.  It is simple addition of sums in pounds, shillings, and pence.

Cycles within cycles: Viewing the Year, Month, and Day

This interesting image of a spatial view of time comes from a Guatemala friend. She explains that the year moves clockwise, and each month itself is comprised of weeks that move in a clockwise manner, and that days are themselves like small clockwise circles within those weeks. Ptolemy would be proud.

Memory and Spatial-Time Synesthesia

The documentary The Boy Who Can’t Forget contains an interview with a woman (Jill Price) who has an incredible memory of past events. Indeed, Price is burdened by the past. She remembers too much, and forgets too little. Not surprisingly, Price has some form of space-time synesthesia that helps her automatically structure her past in […]

Spatial Visualization of Time in the Voynich Manuscript

In the first chapter of my book Creative Historical Thinking (Routledge, 2018),I describe some of the different ways that we visualize time in spatial form. A common way of viewing the year is as a circle, divided into seasons or months (perhaps accompanied by the constellations of the zodiac). In my own synesthetic view of […]