The Public Humanist

The Public Humanist contributor: Taylor Bye

I am a Massachusetts native currently living in Northampton, MA, where I do both paid and volunteer work in historical writing, research and exhibit design. In addition I work full time at a local landscaping company, where I am a senior crew leader. A 2012 graduate of Dickinson College, I will be starting my Masters in Public History at the University of Kansas City – Missouri in Fall 2016. My areas of interest and expertise as an Historian include material culture, industrial history, and the Civil War. My work also involves the exploration of new ways of presenting history to the public and improving access to historical resources. I believe the most important history is that which is relevant to people’s lives, and that the historian’s duty is to help answer questions about the present by asking questions about the past.

The Kurdish Experiment: Mandates that Made the Middle East

Arab nationalism may deserve more credit for shaping the Middle East following World War 1 than it sometime receives—especially in the case of the Kurds.


Turmoil: Syria as a French Mandate

French troops during the Franco-Syrian confict

Syria’s current strife can be traced back to 20th-century French rule, a failed experiment that ended with the ascendancy of the Assad family.


Geometric Geopolitics: How Nations Were Made from a Fallen Empire

Map of Sykes-Picot Agreement

The important lesson we can learn from the fall and partitioning of the Ottoman Empire is that it was an unprecedented moment in history in which the Middle East, under the guidance of the West, embarked on a remarkable experiment.