Dr. Laura Beard
Dr. Laura Beard's new SSHRC IDG-funded project, "Wanted: A Life Narrative in Deadwood," supports research on a life narrative by John S. McClintock, Pioneer Days in the Black Hills: Accurate History and Facts Related by One of the Early Day Pioneers " (1939; University of Oklahoma Press, 2000). Bits and pieces of McClintock’s memoir have become part of the public knowledge of history—used as an authoritative source by academic historians, popular historians, scriptwriters for HBO, by the City of Deadwood on their own website and in their public displays in town—yet there has never been an academic study of McClintock’s memoir or the ways in which it has been used as a historical source. Beard's research into McClintock’s memoir, its influence on the written and popular history of Deadwood and the Black Hills, and the traces of that history in present day cultural heritage tourism in Deadwood (specifically the Days of 76 events) allow her to explore how both individual acts of memory and collective acts of memory participate in the construction of national narratives. Beard is interested in what Marianne Hirsch and Carolyn Miller have called, in another context, "the persistent power of nostalgia" and the affective will to know that drives so much genealogy research, life narrative and cultural heritage tourism.