All Posts By

Rebecca Koerselman

Essay

Long Dark Nights with No Christmas Lights

Not only did the Puritans not celebrate Thanksgiving, they firmly banned Christmas. (Spoiler alert: the Puritans did not celebrate Easter either.) The Puritans rejected Christmas as a pagan celebration, full of bawdy revelry and tainted by Catholic association. The Puritans…
Northwestern College
Essay

Competing Narratives

What is the correct story of United States history? Historian Lendol Calder, in his article, “The Stories We Tell,” highlights the difficulties of choosing a narrative for the U.S. history survey course: Poor, old, American history survey course—the Charlie Brown…
Northwestern College
Essay

How did we get Here?

As I hear the partisan language connected to the midterm elections, I cannot help but reflect on how we got here. It may be difficult to think of anything except current red and blue debates over the role of the…
Northwestern College
Essay

Religion and Disgust

I recently attended the biannual Conference on Faith and History at Calvin College. Robert Orsi, a prominent scholar of American religious history, gave a remarkable plenary address entitled “The Study of Religion on This Side of Disgust.” Bob Orsi has…
Northwestern College
Essay

Who has the Courage?

As an alumnus of Michigan State University, I am deeply upset by the appalling abuse of Larry Nassar. When people say something to me about being a Spartan, I am compelled to acknowledge that I am not very proud to…
Northwestern College
Essay

Should You Know Your History?

Originating around 1830 and maintaining popularity for decades, the minstrel show used blackface comedy to entertain white Americans. Minstrel shows were enormously popular, particularly among Americans in northeastern urban areas. Mark Twain wrote in his Autobiography, “If I could have…
Northwestern College