#MemberMonday: Alyse Yeargan

alysedyl

Education

University of California, Riverside
PhD student, Public History

California State University, Fresno
MA English Literature

SUNY Stony Brook
BA English Literature

What got you in to history? In to equine history?

     I ended up in Public History almost by accident. I got my BA in English with minors in Art History and Women Studies, during my MA (also in English) I realized what I was actually interested in was culture and cultural theory. Public history, and history in general, not only sits at the intersection of all of my previous studies, but also provides an area for me to pursue my interest in the way culture is constructed.

     My interest in equine history arose from being a life-long equestrian. While I often feel that individual horses themselves are more interesting than the study of horses in general, I’m fascinated by the way our cultural constructions– masculinity, femininity, ideas about animal handling and treatment, and what it means to be human in general– get played out through our interactions with horses and in equestrian competition.

Who is your favorite historical horse?

     Favorite historical horse is a difficult question to answer! I have a real affinity for Justin Morgan. My great aunt breeds Morgans, and favors Lippitt and working western lines, so I grew up thinking Justin Morgan was the standard for what a horse ought to be– versatile and handy, stubborn but affectionate. I also adore Seattle Slew, and OTTBs more generally. As an eventer and trainer I love working with anything with Slew on the papers. They’re sensible, sweet, and brave mounts; as jumpers, they always have scope to spare! Though they will always go in for the long spot if you let them.

What are you working on right now?

     Right now I’m trying to figure out what my dissertation will be focus on. I’ve just begun my Ph.D. course work, so my projects are still nebulous. I don’t work exclusively in equestrian areas, but when thinking about culture animal studies always offers an interesting angle. Our interactions with animals are always telling of conceptions of ourselves, as they are frequently an ‘other’ which our culture employs to frame itself.

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