A Note from the Magazine Editor: On Using the Past to Contextualize the Present

Phoebe SDA photo

By Phoebe Doscher, Magazine Editor

Those of us living, studying, and teaching on Gettysburg’s historic campus know full well that the past is constantly aligned with the present moment. Every step we take on Stine Lake, every time we enter Penn Hall, and each visit to the battlefield allows us to confront the past in real time.

We centered this edition of the magazine around just that: What does the past mean? How do we use it to contextualize the present? Students, faculty, and staff across the Gettysburg community consider this first question in this magazine. We even unpack Gettysburg’s history of Centennial Conference championships in the sports world.

The past is not a static entity, though. We scrounge up moments in history to recontextualize what we know to be true about previous times. This reassessment may lead to a reckoning—take History Professor Scott Hancock, for example, who spoke with us about the responsibility we have as Gettysburg College students to educate ourselves about the complicated history of our campus.

There’s a reason we document moments in time, people, stories, and topics of conversation. The archives of The Gettysburgian go back all the way to its inception in 1897, and they still continue to this day. We can look back at the news stories and the events on campus from over 100 years ago and learn what exactly life was like on this campus. 

Maybe, 100 years from now, future Gettysburgians will look back and see what life during a pandemic at Gettysburg was like in 2021. They’ll also see Gettysburgians thinking about our place in history, and how the past lives on.

Someday, when this pandemic is all over, we’re going to recall this historic moment and wonder how we got to where we are. We’re also going to remember a time when we were consciously making, thinking about, and documenting history.

Thanks for being a part of it.

 

This article originally appeared on page 2 of the April 13, 2021 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.

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Author: Phoebe Doscher

Phoebe Doscher ’22 is the News Editor for The Gettysburgian. She previously served as a staff writer, features section copy editor, and Assistant News Editor. Originally from Sandy Hook, CT, she is an English with a Writing Concentration and Theatre Arts double major. Aside from writing and editing, she studies voice at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music and can often be seen working on and offstage in the theatre department.

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