About Alena Pirok


I am an assistant professor at Armstrong State University in Savannah, GA. My blog posts focus on my experiences and thoughts visiting, working with and reading about Public History.  I aim to fill each post with the same mix of excitement and perplexity I feel on a daily basis. Though I strive for clarity, I make no promises.

My historical interests range from the 17th century to the 19th century, and leaking into the early 20thc. I spend the majority of the year in school, doing research and teaching.  I spend my summers in Virginia working on Archaeology projects, doing archival research, and going to museums and historical sites. My current research interest is the intersection of ghost stories and public’s interactions with the past.

Follow me on twitter @A_Pirok

4 thoughts on “About Alena Pirok

  1. Hi Alena:

    I picked up on your blog because I have a google alert for “Slavery History”, and your entry on making children cry came up today. On that particular one, I’d say that the answer depends a lot on whether you’re black or white; African Americans carry a heavy weight and face daily discrimination, and many feel strongly that their children must be culturally prepared (and supported) to deal with what will come. This doesn’t mean torturing them, but it can and often does mean facing the truth. Ask around.

    On your post about the Horton book, I picked up this quote:

    “What we need to see now are narratives that explain the mental and cultural conditions that made the treatment of enslaved people acceptable and how that reverberates into race issues after-emancipation and today. I don’t think public history can do this though, because in order for historical sites to address something awful the awful needs to be over and contemporary Americans still face racial oppression and labor abuses.”

    I can’t disagree more. If we don’t address these issues, who will? Also, it’s not as hard as it looks. Scary? Yes. Possible and even rewarding? Absolutely. If you don’t mind, I suggest you google my article “When Slavery Came to Stay” from Museum magazine (May June 2011), for which I won the AAM’s Brooking Prize for Creativity, which addresses this exact issue. The good news–our African American community and our white participants were thrilled to finally discuss these issues. The bad news–the Board was scared to death and fired me. So courage is definitely a prerequisite.

    You can reach me a phillip.seitz@gmail.com if you want to talk more about this.

    • Hi Phillip,
      Thanks for commenting. I agree, introducing children to history is not something for them to venture into without sensitive adult supervison. As for the quote, I was expressing my disappointment in the lack of new or productive ideas (from other scholars and myself). It is most certainly a history worth presenting, I just don’t know how. I will read article, it sounds enticing!

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