AHA Member Spotlight: Jamie L.H. Goodall
Jamie L.H. Goodall is a historian at the US Army Center of Military History. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia, and has been a member since 2012.
Twitter and Instagram: @L_Historienne
Alma maters: BA (archaeology, minor in history), Appalachian State University, 2008; MA (public history/museum studies), Appalachian State University, 2010; PhD (history), Ohio State University, 2016
Fields of interest: Atlantic world, piracy, early America, military, early modern, Caribbean
Describe your career path. What led you to where you are today?
I was hired as an assistant professor in the History Department at Stevenson University (Stevenson/Owings Mills, MD) in 2015 as I finished my PhD. I worked there teaching until 2020 when I was hired as a historian at the US Army Center of Military History (where I am currently). I started college thinking I wanted to be an archaeologist, but during a dig I herniated three discs in my back. I finished the degree, but decided to stay and get my MA in public history/museum studies where I could use my archaeological background in a less intense environment. But as I worked on my MA, I found I enjoyed being a teaching assistant and research assistant more than I enjoyed working in a museum. My mentor, Dr. Sheila Phillips (Appalachian State University, retired), convinced me to pursue a PhD and try to enter the realm of university-level teaching. I was very fortunate to get hired where and when I did. Although I miss the university environment, my move to the Center of Military History was the right thing for me personally and professionally. And I am happy I am still working in the historical field!
What do you like the most about where you live and work?
Alexandria, Virginia, is full of rich history and is a beautiful location. I love being so close to DC. There are so many wonderful places to visit, explore, and enjoy. I highly recommend exploring Old Town! As for where I work, I have the most supportive supervisors and colleagues. I get to utilize my military history background in new ways and contribute to the advancement of knowledge about Army history, assist in conducting oral history interviews with members of the Army and DOD, and chronicle changes in the Army.
What projects are you currently working on?
My forthcoming book, Pirates and Privateers from Long Island Sound to Delaware Bay, releases on May 16. I am currently working on a book about Black Sam Bellamy and pirates of Massachusetts/New England due out in 2023.
What’s the most fascinating thing you’ve ever found at the archives or while doing research?
At the time I was researching my doctoral dissertation, the Pirates of the Caribbean films had been out for a while and were wildly popular. I found a few names from the film in archival documents (which were not all about piracy, per se), such as William Turner and Elizabeth Swan, which was a really fun coincidence.
Is there an article, book, movie, blog etc. that you could recommend to fellow AHA members?
The Pirates (2014), a South Korean film featuring a female protagonist—Yeo-wol, a female captain of pirates! Set on the eve of the founding of Joseon Dynasty, it features a whale chase, pirates, and bandits!
What do you value most about the history discipline?
I love how history enables us to connect our expertise with the public; storytelling is my favorite way to engage people with history—even if that history is challenging or uncomfortable.
Why is membership in the AHA important to you?
Being a member of the AHA keeps me connected with the best in the field, keeps me abreast of new historical information and up-to-date with the progression of the field, and provides me with resources that help further my career.
Do you have a favorite AHA annual meeting anecdote you would like to share?
I attended my first AHA meeting while in my PhD program. I was standing in line to get coffee between panels when a distinguished historian I (at the time) greatly admired cut in front of me. When I politely informed the person that there was a line, the person turned to look at me and said, “Don't you know who I am?” It's funny now, but at the time it really kicked off my imposter syndrome and made me question whether I belonged there.
AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, Perspectives Daily features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.
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