Podcast

Episode: 406 |
Zach Schrag:
Historical Research Tips:
Episode
406

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Zach Schrag

Historical Research Tips

Show Notes

 

Professor Zachary Schrag is a historian of the twentieth-century United States and a professor of history at George Mason University. His specialities are: history of technology, policy history, transportation history, urban history, and oral history. On this episode, we discuss what history means and his book, the Princeton guide to historical research.

Key points include:

  • 01:40: History as the study of people
  • 07:23: Internal contradictions
  • 19:48: How a historian organises information
  • 30:04: Recommendations for history students
  • 37:26: History’s influence on politics

 

 

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

Will Bachman 00:02
Hello, and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. I’m your guest Will Bachman. And it’s a real pleasure to be here with my close friend college roommate, Professor Zachary Schrag who is the author of the Princeton guide to historical research. Zack, welcome to the show.

Zachary Schrag 00:24
Thanks for having me.

Will Bachman 00:25
Zack is awesome to chat with you about your new book. And congratulations. I know it just is coming out. Today actually, we’re gonna publish it this episode on the day of publication. And this is, you know, some people ask, okay, what is what are we talking about historical research on a podcast for consultants. But you know, there’s so many parallels, right? We’re both doing research. We’re both taking notes, we’re both coming, asking questions, coming up with arguments that this book, I think is actually great, great reading for management consultants, and anyone who’s interested in history, tell me a little bit about First of all, you know, what we mean by history.

Zachary Schrag 01:07
So there are a lot of competing definitions of history. And I have taken the somewhat bold step of trying to craft my own, which is, I argue that history is the study of people and the choices they make. So when I say people, I mean, history is not just about some abstract past, if you are looking at geological strata, if you are just looking at artifacts and measuring them, you’re not really in my mind doing history, history is when

Will Bachman 01:38
that’s like geology,

Zachary Schrag 01:40
right? So you could have this idea that you’ll see put out by Bill Gates and others have big history, history is everything. But if history is everything in history is nothing because it doesn’t distinguish it from other approaches to knowledge. What I would like to argue is that history is the study of people. And even when we take artifacts, say, or geology or those kinds of records, and turn them into history, what we’re doing is adding human element. So for example, there are histories of smallpox, which is not a human actor, but it’s really the story of how people understood smallpox, how they reacted to it, how they quarantine themselves or vaccinated themselves or resist vaccination. To me, that’s the stuff of history. So, you know, in today’s newspaper, or shoot, well in a newspaper a few weeks back, because I know you’re delaying the broadcast. In a recent newspaper, there’s a story about discovery of new fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. And there’s one story we could tell about what those are made of, and how big they are. And another story we could tell of the people who created them and preserve them. And to me, that ladder story is the stuff of history. And then I also want to emphasize choices. Because what we do every day, is a series of choices, both how to act and what to think. And when we look at the great works of history, whether they’re very traditional histories of presidents and generals, or whether they’re social histories, looking at mass movements of people, we are thinking about how people understood the world and how they chose to act in it. And again, to me, that’s the really exciting part of history is understanding what choices were open to people and which paths they took.

Will Bachman 03:41
So I’ll mention here that just the index alone, which you think is 10, or 11 pages, is by itself, a kind of an argument about how to do history isn’t what history is. And I mean, just the index alone is incredibly educational. So part two is about questions, and you talk about asking questions. And one of the sections, there is dialectics. Could you talk to me about some of the questions that historians ask and particularly explain to me dialectics. I’ve always heard this term dialectical, you know, I think, I always think of Marx, but I’d like to understand what dialectics means and some of the other questions.

Zachary Schrag 04:22
Sure, so dialectic just literally means a conversation. I think that’s the Greek root. But it usually means two ideas or forces in tension that somehow resolve some research and some thinking. And this notion of emphasizing dialectic, like much of this book came to me in the course of nearly a quarter century now of classroom teaching, where I was confronted with the challenge of explaining to students what makes a good question for paper and you know, for Some students will come up with questions that are of some interest but not really appropriate for the assignment. So for example, you could ask, How tall is the Washington Monument? And that does not make a very exciting question for history class, because you can find it out. It’s factual. And there’s kind of a dead end to there. A much more interesting question from the professor’s point of view anyway, is why is the Washington Monument 555 feet tall? What choices did people made to derive that particular height? So how do you get quest students from the merely factual questions of what to the more interpretive questions of why is a bit of a challenge for a teacher? And so I present theories of dialectics as examples that I think it’s not for students at least leads them to asking some of these why questions?

Will Bachman 06:04
Okay, how about if we do a rapid fire here? So I’m just going to read the section of the index, you give me like a quick example. So opposing forces, give me an example?

Zachary Schrag 06:14
Sure. So opposing forces is a classic, where, again, you can think of military history, thinking about the war of 1812, you’ve got American forces and British forces. And for any given battle, one prevailed and the other was defeated. So it’s a historians job to explain why, why did one side win and the other lose, but we can also see this in politics, we could see this in social movements, we could see this in business. So Apple versus Microsoft, that would be the 1990s, classic opposing forces case, where you’ve got two companies in competition, also two ideas of how the computer industry would be structured. Now, in that case, you know, both of them obviously survived and thrived. But windows became the dominant operating system. How do we explain that?

Will Bachman 07:08
Yeah. And I actually, I love this section, because it’s so applicable, just be thinking about a strategy document or a consulting document, using these ideas, makes it much more comes alive. Right? So internal contradictions, what’s an example of that?

Zachary Schrag 07:23
So an internal contradiction is where within a particular movement, or force, you have people disagreeing about what they are trying to achieve. So, you know, a classic one in the United States history would be the tension between freedom and slavery. And this is, of course, very political issue. Right now, with the debates over the 1619 project, where How can American of the 18th century, the founding generation, both call for liberty and keep other people in bondage? But again, I think you would see some of this in the business world as well. I’m thinking, for example, about the debates over independent contracting status versus employee status, where you might have a company like Uber, that is, you know, in one stage, right now, in the United Kingdom, saying we’ve got employees in California, they’re saying, no, they’re independent contractors, there might be tensions within an organization, about how they are presenting themselves internally and externally.

Will Bachman 08:43
Sure, I mean, you can imagine, you know, sort of that within a pharma company, they have this mission driven to, you know, cure the world and improve health, but then they also have this profit motive, so then they do need to maybe charge for their product and exclude some people from it. So there’s that they kind of dynamic,

Zachary Schrag 09:01
or, and, you know, just to call in on my own, you know, any university has some of the same tensions as well, where we want to expand access, but also achieve excellence. We want to promote research, but also teaching. We want to keep tuition low for our students, the compensation high for employees. So there are a lot of internal tensions to any organization, you know, which also goes to another dialectic competing priorities. I will say that these dialectics overlap a lot. They’re there in many cases, you have multiple doors to the same room. So you know, when students asked me, Oh, am I doing this dialectic or this dialectic and often tell them Oh, you’re doing both? Don’t worry about it, as long as you’re doing at least one.

Will Bachman 09:42
Yeah. And then, like hidden or contested meanings. Talk to me about that one a little bit.

Zachary Schrag 09:48
So contested meanings is one that shows up in cultural history in the history of technology. A great example is the history of electricity. There’s a wonderful book called electrifying America by historian David Nye. And others have followed him as well, where if you look at the early history of electricity, electric light, for example, some of the earliest uses were for spectacle. So you’d have these world fairs where these enormously bright arc lamps lighting up the sky, and people say, Oh, this is wonderful. And some of the early adopters in us and England actually put arc lights in their homes. And they were dreadful, because they’re too bright. And they make people look, you know, really sort of wrinkled and ugly, because because, you know, it’s not a very flattering light. And so there’s an example where, you know, technology that is marvelous, in one context, turns out to be inappropriate, and another, things got a little better with the incandescent lights. But even those, you know, the early adopters of those were putting bare bones in their houses, and that look terrible, too. So it’s only when you get the lampshade, that we redefine electric light as something that is appropriate for the home.

Will Bachman 11:06
No kidding. Let’s talk about sources a little bit. So talk about the range of sources that historians use and some of the kind of learnings that you’ve had on the last 25 years of working with sources.

Zachary Schrag 11:23
Sure, so, you know, historians, have been using a wide range of sources, really, since the start of the profession with some degree data back to the 70s. But in ancient Greece, but really, history as we know it today, I would say gets going in the early 19th century, when historians start looking into archives. So looking at the original documents that were produced, rather than relying on secondary accounts that people had produced since so if you were interested, say, in Renaissance, rather than only looking at the books that people were writing in the Renaissance, about what had happened, you’d actually go back to the original letters, diaries, reports of that period, to the extent that they survived, and reconstruct what was happening on the grounds that it’s often hidden to the people who are living through an event, what is actually going on. And so again, I think this is pretty analogous to the business world, where, you know, companies and will report will provide often a somewhat rosy sanitized version of what happened to that company. And then it’s only if you can get into the internal documents and the graphs, and the arguments going back and forth, that you would really understand the decisions within that. So historians when they can try to get to those primary sources, the sources that are created by participants were witnesses to an event, and maybe compare those to the more public facing sources or the secondary sources, that is scholarship written by people who did not themselves take part in the event.

Will Bachman 13:20
You’ve you’ve written several books and worked in archives, what’s it like to work with archives? I mean, I mean, physically, I mean, do they? There’s someone’s like, looking over your shoulder, make sure you don’t, you know, kind of use a ballpoint pen, is it? Is it lots of handwriting? That’s super hard to read? give me give me some examples of what it’s actually like working with archives in real life.

Zachary Schrag 13:44
Yeah, so archives are tremendously varied. Some of them can be very welcoming, some of them not so much. I’ve had, you know, the good fortunate to work in archives in the United States where there’s a pretty good ethic of openness and hearing, certainly talked to colleagues who’ve worked in other parts of the world, where the archivists are very suspicious. There’s a new book out about doing archival work in Saudi Arabia, and the the author that was describing, you know, very limited access, where she would ask to see a document, she would not be allowed to photograph it, she could take a few notes. If you went back and asked for it again, it would no longer be available, because the very fact that she had asked for it made the archivists think that maybe there was something that they didn’t want share. So different regimes have very different ideas about like government documents can be open and this is true in the business world as well. Where some companies Ford Motor Company, for example, has made us older papers available to researchers in Dearborn, whereas you know, other companies may hold those Documents secret more or less forever, or at least until bankruptcy. So, first of all, it’s really hit or miss what gets preserved. And what gets revealed. In the best case, what happens is, you go into an archive, they’ve got some documents that you want. And they come out a few boxes at a time these these boxes all look alike. They are they are great, sturdy cardboard acid free. And you just don’t know what’s inside until you open up that lid. And sometimes it will be junk that’s just not of interest. Some of it will be things you’ve seen before. And some of it will just be mind blowing new information. Certainly for 19th century, a lot of material has been hand written. Some people the 19th century, just gorgeous handwriting, you can read it as easily as print, and other people had really terrible handwriting, that is going to drive you to tears. So it is an incredibly exciting and incredibly frustrating experience to go into the archives and just not know what you’re going to see.

Will Bachman 16:09
And beyond archives, you talk about periodicals government documents, looking at fiction, big data. And then sources beyond traditional texts talk to me about some of the types of sources that historians are using now that maybe they didn’t as much in the past, you know, maps, images, portraits, movies, buildings, plans, places. Yeah. So,

Zachary Schrag 16:36
you know, as I say, in the book historians are omnivores. And they will, you know, take whatever they can get. I, you know, myself work in a joint Department of History and Art History. And having, you know, been in that situation, I don’t understand why all departments of history and art history not joined because the work of art historians is really quite similar to the work of historians, only they are using images, primarily instead of texts. And historians are using texts, as well as images. So we’re both using images and texts, but somewhat different emphasis. But certainly, you know, you can find historians using textiles and trying to understand, you know, both the production and consumption of textiles, for example, recreating all recipes. And riding horses, over old battlefields. There are all kinds of ways that historians use whatever information is available to them. As part of a larger puzzle, I do want to put in a plug here for a periodical literature, because that I think, is a very exciting resource for a lot of business history. Again, a lot of history technology. And when I’m sure that that business consultants are very familiar with some of the specialized newsletters, and you know, even I guess, these days, substack periodicals that are put out today, but you probably know that, you know, while the New York Times might cover, you know, give an industry once a month or once a week, there’s some specialized newsletter, that is really digging into the details about the latest innovation regulatory change market deal in vastly more detail than a big Metropolitan newspaper like the New York Times ever could, right? That is, that is what they do is look at that particular industry. And if those documents are preserved, and then some decades or centuries later, a historian can try to replicate what was going on in that industry. So you know, we one of my first research projects, as a graduate student, was looking at the decline of streetcars in New York City. And there was a journal, the Electric Railway journal that you know, was coming out and covering in great detail what was going on in that industry in the 1910s in the 1920s, in a way that no other available source had recorded.

Will Bachman 19:22
You’ve always been, I think, way ahead of me in terms of your embrace of like technology and using software and sophisticated tools to do your work. And you have a chapter here and tools of the trade. Talk to me about some of the ways you organize information as you as you gather it, and some of the the recommendations you have for history students.

Zachary Schrag 19:48
So I think historians and probably other professions, as well are an interesting and rather extended period of indeterminacy between the Older methods of paper based on index cards and notebooks, and what I think may eventually come out as a more standardized tools, set of tools for taking notes and organizing information. But right now, a lot of historians are improvising. So you know, one thing I suggest in the book is that word processors are not very good for taking notes. If you’ve got, you know, loss of material that you want to sort and rearrange, that’s really not what you have. Obviously, if you’re dealing with lots of numbers, spreadsheets are very good for dealing with numbers. And I can thank Will Bachman, for teaching me how to use a pivot table on Microsoft Excel. But especially it’s a pretty poor for organizing text, I’ve certainly seen people try. But if you’ve ever pasted a lot of text into an Excel spreadsheet, you’ll know that it kind of crosses the boundaries, and then you have to wrap it and then it messes up the rows of everything else. Especially there’s really not designed for that either. So I myself, use a relational database called FileMaker Pro for all kinds of projects, both my research and administrative work at the university, and also some personal things like organizing my books. And, you know, if I could snap my fingers, I would make relational databases as much a part of the standard Office Suite. As we’re processing and slide decks and spreadsheets are today, I think that was a really sad turn that took place sometime in the 1990s, where it did not become part of the standard software skill set that people have, or the software that was presented in their workplaces. You may remember, Apple had this product called hypercard, that there was all kinds of hype about it never really took off. And I think that was an unfortunate path not taken. Because I think historians and a lot of professionals could benefit from having powerful databases, where you could sort material and arrange it and do queries and save those queries, and customize the output in more powerful ways.

Will Bachman 22:17
Okay, this is interesting. So I’m one of the ignoramuses that does not use a relational database. I’m a big fan of Evernote, but I think that’s a simpler thing. Talk to me a little bit about how you put notes into FileMaker Pro when you’re doing historical research and you come across either something in an archive or something in a journal article or a newspaper or a government document. So what does that look like when you when you type up a type up a note in a relational database.

Zachary Schrag 22:49
So what makes a relational database relational is that you can have multiple tables that are connected by unique identifiers. So for example, in your email client, whatever that is, you have someone’s address, right? And you can have many conversations with that address. And then ask the client, show me all of the emails that had back and forth with will and what the client is doing, is it certain, okay, I’m going to I’m going to find all of the document emails and put them together. Or you could search that by subject header, or by date, there are lots of different fields in that email. And the clients are set up to sort by that. So relational database is somewhat similar. For me, the basic unit to start with is a deadly graphical entry. It could be a book, it could be a journal article, it could be a archival collection. And then within that, I want to take multiple notes. where I’ll say on page seven of the book, it says on page 15, it says that on page 132, it says circumstances are

Will Bachman 24:00
the source, you just have one place where you put all the source information for that

Zachary Schrag 24:05
for the source information, but then it’s on individual notes. So that note on page 17 is a separate note. Yeah, in a separate table called notes. If I realized that I have misspelled the name of the author. And I change that in the bibliography will automatically came in all of the notes that I’ve taken, because they’re linked only via one field not by that author’s name,

Will Bachman 24:31
right. So they’re linked to that they’re linked to that like source entry. So yeah,

Zachary Schrag 24:37
it’s a one to many relationship from source to note.

Will Bachman 24:41
So if I have the great society subway by Zachary Schrag, that would be my bibliographic entry. And then any note that I find that I want to write up would just be a separate separate object in there, just tied to that tied to that then you might put in the page number, but it would just say, you know, Recite, he said we page 17.

Zachary Schrag 25:02
Right, and let’s say on page 17, there’s a new about planner following up on you. So that would be in the note. And let’s say I’m taking notes on another book, The Broken Heart of America by Walter Johnson also has information that would go to a note. And then if I’ve taken notes on lots of books and lots of new papers, and then I want to say, What do I know about harvinder? Bartholomew, it’s going to give me a list of all my notes of that Harland Bartholomew regardless of the book that they came from. So rather than having all my notes in the Great Society, so anyway, I’m just gonna have the notes from Carolyn Bartholomew, from that mixed in with the notes from Walter Johnson, and what other sources I’ve had. So it’s a way to rearrange the information

Will Bachman 25:50
that you’ve got. And then do you do then go in and tag things like, this is appropriate for probably the chapter five that I’m currently writing or chapter seven, so that you can, you know, Harland Bartholomew notes, you would, if you had a like a lot of notes about a topic that you could group them or organize them as you go along, so that you could be working on a specific piece of writing or a specific part of the effort? Yeah,

Zachary Schrag 26:20
so this is, you know, a classic debate, I think, at this point in information. Design is how much tagging you want to do. So tagging is often an extra work. And it depends on your particular project, whether you want to put in that extra work. So for example, with my most recent monograph, on the Philadelphia riots of 1844, I had a lot of different newspapers, there was something like 18 different daily newspapers in Philadelphia, making 40 is a mirror weekly, monthly. So lots of different competing newspapers all reporting on the same events. And for each of those, I would naturally put in the date of any article that I record. Now, I could have put in a separate tag, saying, here are the dates of the events. But that would have been a lot of work, we’re talking about hundreds of different articles. So for that, it was usually easier for me just to say, Okay, I’m interested in the first week of May 1844, gives me all the articles published in that week, from whatever newspaper. So I’m getting some of the benefits of tagging, without the actual work of putting that in. That said, another project that I did for about 10 years was to run a blog about the regulation of human subjects research in the social sciences, again, a somewhat obscure topic, but there are those who care deeply about it. And I get about one blog every week for that 10 years. So, you know, we’re talking about hundreds of blog entries. And using the blower’s software, which again, is a kind of database, I did tag those entries, and would go back and re tag one when I came up with some new tags that I thought was useful. And for that, it did turn out to be pretty helpful. I or really, anyone who read the blog, could click on sociology, and find only those increase on the blog that talks about the regulation of the work of sociology. So I don’t think there’s a one size fits all toolset for any given project. And, you know, the best advice I can give are some general ideas about how you want to go about your work. The one thing I would say about something like FileMaker over Evernote, is it’s very customizable. So you can very easily write scripts, saying, so for example, I’m working through a newspaper that comes out once a week. And so I’m done with one issue, I can create a little button that says, Now I want to create a entry for that newspaper, seven days after the one I just read. And, you know, it’s specific to say the Catholic Herald from Philadelphia in the 1840s. And, again, you could do this for newsletter that’s being published today. And that saves me a lot of time to have that customizability.

Will Bachman 29:31
Broadly, across your book, what are some of the recommendations that you have for history students? That might be a little bit of surprising to, to me or listeners, you know, who have taken some history classes at some point and written some term papers? What are some of your recommendations that that maybe kind of go against the grain a little bit, or that that not necessarily every has Dorian would agree with

Zachary Schrag 30:04
you know, one thing again, I do think my definition history may be a bit controversial. I think that compared to some, I’m generally a bit of a lumper, rather than a splitter. So one of the debates in my profession is about the degree to which computers have changed the work of historians. And, you know, they’re in really for more than 20 years, lots of discussions about the revolutionary possibilities of digital technologies, whereas I tend to see them as more incremental. Certainly, there are great opportunities, both with mass digitization projects like Google Books, and also individual digitization projects, where if one historian with a digital camera, taking 1000s of pictures in an archive, and then reading them slowly home, which is of great help to historians, with small children, or others who not spend extended periods, away from their home. So you know, I tend to see the digital changes as important but not not revolutionary. And I would extend that as well to the topics that historians cover. So there have been many waves of the so called New history, basically, one after another, taking history. Beyond, again, the studies of kings and generals and presidents, trying to bring more people in, whether that’s women, whether that’s workers, whether that is people of color, there have been, you know, lots of different definitions of what it means to write bottom of history. But I would argue, and again, some would argue against me that these kinds of history can still learn a great deal from the older forms. So, you know, one of the most beloved works of history to come out in recent decades, is a midwife’s tale, by Martha Ballard, Martha Ballard, sorry, by Dr. Ulrich about Martha Ballard, this midwife who lives on the main frontier around 1800, and kept this very sparse diary, just a few lines per day. And this diary was known but it took the genius of lower factor alrik, to turn this into a story. And I look at that diary. And I think, well, this isn’t too different from Theodore Roosevelt reading a commander’s log from around the same time, you know, naval history, again, very traditional white men, but he’s dealing with some pretty sparse entries and privacy patterns in them, much as the way that Laurel Thatcher Ulrich with to a century later. So I don’t see a sharp divide between top down and bottom of history. I think in both cases, you’re looking for protagonists, you’re looking for challenges that they face to kind of, again, find patterns, and ideally, create a plot in a story that readers can follow.

Will Bachman 33:22
When we’re reading history, talk to me a little bit about part four of your book stories and how we should be thinking about the choices the historian made. You talk about storytelling, you know, characters, plots, events, speculation, you talk about style. So talk to me about it as a consumer of history reading it, what what should What should we be looking for, as we try to understand a book of history.

Zachary Schrag 33:52
So I do think it’s important for everyone, consumers and producers to understand the power of storytelling. And in the business world, the great innovation here was the Harvard Business School case study, where I don’t quite know when those began, but the idea was that one of the best ways to learn business skills was by reading stories and talking about the stories, right. So that is an example of the power that narrative has. And you’ll see this also, in an initial public offering or some kind of pitch to a venture capitalist firm. You want to tell a story about your business that will appeal to people and what does the story need? Well, it needs a protagonist. And usually conflict you want to get your character up a tree. One of my colleagues told me so I think it’s important when you sit down to consumer workers history to understand that this story and has made some very deliberate choices about who that protect This will be and what kinds of conflicts they face. So, you know, again, the current debate over the 1619 project is a big one, where the argument of that project was to argue for the importance of African Americans in American history. And so, you know, when you sit down with the work of American history, you might think, well, where are the African Americans? Are they included? Are they excluded? Or if they’re present? Are they being the actors? Or are they acted upon? There have been many debates about the reconstruction period, in the United States after the Civil War, for example. And, you know, it’s very hard to write a history of the Civil War and Reconstruction without mentioning African Americans, but generations of historians wrote it, as here’s what white people thought about African Americans, or here are the decisions that white people made for African Americans, whereas more recent generations are trying to say, Okay, here are some of the decisions that African Americans made for themselves. So it is, I think, very helpful to be alert to those decisions. It’s not to say that historians are trying to trick you. Some are, but most aren’t, it’s just to say that they always have to make decisions about emphasis. And they often have some decisions to make about sympathy as well. Are they presenting these characters, as heroes as villains is something in between?

Will Bachman 36:38
What we, you know, some people might have a view of history as this somewhat musty, staid, kind of almost sort of fossilized thing is going on. But you know, I know in conversations with you over the years, it’s helped make me realize that it’s this constant, you know, arena of change, and discussion and debate. And, you know, constantly, you’re changing views. Give me a couple examples of, you know, current debates today in the world, in your area of expertise in American history, of the types of debates that are going on the types of things that are, you know, past beliefs that are being revised.

Zachary Schrag 37:26
So, this is a little dangerous ground, because I think historians as a profession, say two things about their work. One is that it is political, in that what we do is an effort to understand the world, and therefore perhaps, to make it better. And then when we get blamed for being too political, we say, No, we’re just scholar reporting the facts. And there is some real tension here. But you know, a perfectly good example. And this applies to my Philadelphia book, the fires of Philadelphia, are histories of immigration. So as you may have noticed, he has been debating immigration quite intensively for many years, arguably, since the founding, but certainly, since Crump took the stage in 2016. And that has, you know, historians have responded to that and thought about that. And they’ve been exploring, for example, the ideas of what it means to restrict immigration or to welcome immigrants. We have competing narratives, both within the profession and outside of the profession, about whether America was designed as a country of immigrants, or a country to exclude immigrants. So there are stories of how Irish immigrants were treated. In the 19th century. Mine is one of those, but there are others as well, where they were not prevented from arriving on the basis of race that they will, in some cases, cases reported as being paupers and being too poor and likely to become a public charge. Then, the immigration restrictions that begin on the federal level in the 80s, are targeted originally against Chinese people. And then you have expanded restrictions based on people’s nationality. So you know, that’s a very fertile area of study. And it is very much wrapped up in present events, historians, you know, live in societies and the question that they asked and the answers they get, are invariably affected by the world around them.

Will Bachman 39:56
Fantastic, so, Zack, we will include a link To your book here in the show notes. And if people want to learn more about your work, where would you point them to go?

Zachary Schrag 40:07
So, I have a website history professor.org that actually preceded the book. I’ve been working on that website and its predecessors really since my earliest days of college teaching. And so, in many ways, the book is an outgrowth of that work, it’s much longer, but you can certainly get a sample of my advice as well as some more recent postings at history professor.org and if you like that, there’s much more of that. Were in the book.

Will Bachman 40:36
Fantastic. Well, Professor, thank you so much for joining today.

Zachary Schrag 40:41
Always a pleasure Will, hope to see you soon.

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