What is Futures Past?

Futures Past is a newsletter by Jim McGrath. I currently teach undergraduate and graduate courses in history and public history at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, and I’m also a part-time instructional designer at Salem State University. I used to write a newsletter like this one at my previous job at Brown University’s John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage.

I’ll use this newsletter to talk about topics related to my ongoing work and to share links to readings, projects, and other stuff. I still plan to tweet too much, occasionally blog, and write more formal and peer-reviewed things for publications, but I missed having a weekly, public-facing place to think out loud on a regular basis about research, teaching, and technology.

Who are you again?

I’m Jim (he/his pronouns).I have a Ph.D. in English but I’ve spent most of the last 5+ years doing digital public history and public humanities work. I’ve worked on projects like Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive, Mapping Violence, and The Rhode Island COVID-19 Archive.

I’ve written elsewhere about digital humanities, public history, archives, digital pedagogy, podcasts, memes, and Tom Hanks, among other topics. I’ve been published in academic places like The Public Historian, American Quarterly, and Reviews in Digital Humanities, and I have book chapters in Doing Public Humanities and The SAGE Handbook of Web History. I’ve given talks on some of the topics mentioned here, plus stuff like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. And I’ve been teaching in higher ed since 2003.

Other stuff: I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York, but I’ve lived in the Greater Boston area for over 15+ years. When I’m not doing work stuff I’m reading good comic books, writing bad poetry, watching professional wrestling (mainly NJPW), listening to Phish, drinking seltzer (mainly Polar and Topo Chico), and hanging out with my best friend Charlie (a long-haired dachshund).

You can learn more exciting facts about me on Twitter @JimMc_Grath, and you can email me at jimmcgrath.us@gmail.com.