On October 29, 2014, the EC2 team – Brent Olson and Jeff Nichols – sat down with Dr. Peter Boag in the elegant Hotel Monaco in Salt Lake City for our first-ever EC2 interview. Peter is professor and Columbia Chair in the History of the American West at Washington State University. His WSU website tells us about Peter’s distinguished publication record:
He is the author of three books, Environment and Experience: Settlement Culture in Nineteenth-Century Oregon (University of California Press, 1992), Same-Sex Affairs: Constructing and Controlling Homosexuality in the Pacific Northwest (University of California Press, 2003), and Re-Dressing America’s Frontier Past (University of California Press 2011). The latter title won the 2013 biennial Ray Allen Billington Prize for the best book on American frontier history from the Organization of American Historians; was named an “Over the Rainbow Book” by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association in 2013; received the Honorable Mention from the Armitage-Jameson Book Prize Committee for the best book in Western American Women’s and Gender History, in 2012; and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards in 2012. Journal articles he has written have won the Oscar O. Winther Prize, the Joel Palmer Award, and honorable mentions for the Audre Lorde Prize and the Joan Jensen-Darlis Miller Prize.
We had a wide-ranging conversation for about an hour, concerning one of Peter’s latest projects, a history of lgbt people in the West, as well as the subject he talked about at the University of Utah, “Gender, Sexuality and the Decolonization of the Mythic American West.” Our thanks to our friends in the History Department at the U. and the American West Center, co-sponsor of Peter’s visit, for letting us piggyback on their invitation.
Unfortunately Jeff and Brent have proven to be interview novices. We failed to properly record the interview audio, so only the last ten minutes survived, in which Peter talks about his other current project, a story of parricide and agrarian crisis at the turn of the twentieth century. That’s also why it’s taken us so long to process the audio.
Our thanks, and apologies, to Peter for being our guinea pig. It really was an excellent conversation and Peter was, as usual, thoughtful and engaging. We believe that this short excerpt is well worth your time; you’ll have to take our word for the rest of it. We promise to do better next time.