By: Danielle Sanchez, Assistant Professor, Colorado College; Founding Editor of Historifans
It feels weird sitting down to (finally) write an introduction for the Historifans site, especially because it feels like we’ve been working on this project forever. The idea of Historifans emerged in the summer of 2020 during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. I was preparing a new course called “The Empires Strike Back: From Anti-colonial Conflicts to Star Wars” for Colorado College’s First-Year Experience Program. I planned to rewatch all of the films during the summer and posted on Facebook to see whether any of my friends wanted to participate in weekly Zoom sessions to talk about the intersections of Star Wars and history. Over the next few weeks, it became clear that this was the beginning of something much larger than I originally anticipated.
Alex Marino, Catherine Lee Porter, and I noticed the lack of an outlet for historians to geek out about the connections between their research and pop culture. We ultimately decided that we wanted to fill that void by creating a site that could provide opportunities for scholars to talk about their work in exciting and engaging ways. From the earliest stages of the process of developing Historifans, we wanted to make sure that our site could be accessible and interesting for a range of readers, both inside and outside of academia.
After brainstorming potential articles, we decided to create a call for proposals and posted it on H-Net in the fall of 2021. To be honest, we were not fully prepared for the number of responses that we received, but the influx of fascinating pitches on everything from pedagogical lessons in Kill Bill to medieval warfare in Game of Thrones reminded us of why we decided to create Historifans in the first place. Over the next several months, you will have the opportunity to read funny, analytical, ridiculous, frustrating, and poignant pieces, written not only by me and my founding co-editor, Alex Marino, but also by contributors from around the world who read our CFP and submitted pitches and articles that excited us. We hope that all of our articles will excite you too.
Pop culture matters. It is a serious field of historical and scholarly inquiry with important contributions by brilliant historians like Janet Davis, Angela M. Nelson, Tyler Fleming, and Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff.1 Pop culture can also provide opportunities for us as scholars to extend our conversations about our work beyond academic journals and university presses. We can create conversations that aren’t stuck behind paywalls and inaccessible jargon. We hope to encourage readers to think analytically about the power of popular culture and how it influences our understandings of the world, both in the past and the present.
Historifans is truly a labor of love for the editorial team and all of our contributors. We look forward to sharing some amazing articles with you each week and we have a lot of exciting plans in store for the future.
For now, it feels fitting to end with a quote from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, “In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.”2
Dr. Danielle Sanchez (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Colorado College. Her research focuses on the Second World War in Africa, specifically popular culture, consumption, and social movements in wartime central Africa. She teaches a range of pop culture and history courses, but her favorites are Health and Healing in African History, The Empires Strike Back: From Anti-Colonial Resistance to Star Wars, and Writing Graphic Novels. Her nerdy obsessions: knitting, Harry Potter (except the TERF crap), contemporary romance novels, and the MCU. Twitter: @drdanisanchez
- Janet Davis, Angela M. Nelson, Tyler Fleming, and Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff: If you are reading this, please consider writing an article for us. Thanks!
- Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, written and directed by George Lucas (Beverly Hills, CA: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2008).
- Star Trek, Vampires, and Others: A Conversation with Benjamin Brower
- Rebelling Stagnation: Drug Addiction and the Gentleman-Genius in Sherlock Holmes
- The Man in the Airplane Was Looking For You: Nirvana, Superchunk’s No Pocky for Kitty, and 1990s Alternative Music Culture
- From Jackie Chan to Sith Lord Jar Jar: A Conversation with Ahmed Best
- Colonialism in Madagascar:When a Narcissist, a Dreamer, a Harlot, and a Hypochondriac Walk into the African “Wilderness”