It is a pleasure to let you know that I have joined The Solutions Journal as Editor of the Solutions in History Section.

The second book I wrote, Africa’s Past, Our Future is based on the strong belief that Africans have practiced some traditions, such as matriliny, heterarchy and the so-called informal economy, that we in the United States and the rest of the West could benefit from knowing about. As we face mounting crises, the way out will be through deep imagination. But, as any historian knows, the present is always built on the past and cataclysmic breaks are rare. For that reason alone, we need access to as many cultural, political, and economic tools as possible. 

I see these ideas as foundational to the re-emergence of this section of the Solutions Journal. Solutions in History is about uncovering, resurrecting, illuminating, and taking seriously the only rich source of possibility we have access to: our past. 

Of course, the past is its own thing. Just because a particular group of people at a particular time practiced something does not mean that we should or will be able to practice it ourselves, but we certainly will not know if that is possible if we are not aware of it. 

The broader the historical, geographical and topical the survey the better. I envision pieces on the Sandhills of Nebraska as well as the outback of Australia. I hope we will learn about rural Mississippi and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Morocco and Malaysia. Please consider writing for us!

Solutions is about things that work. Societies in the past, no matter how different their behavior or values than ours, almost always had some reason for doing what they did. They did it because it worked. 

The problem with hegemony—whether it is the current hegemony of social isolation and incivility or limited political participation or consumption as healer—is that it is limited in vision and scope. 

Let’s dig into the richest toolbox we have—the past–and learn about lesser-used tools, that is ideas and practices, that the “rest of the world” has to offer.  I look forward to hearing from you. 

Kathleen R. Smythe

Kathleen R. Smythe

Kathleen R. Smythe teaches and writes about history and sustainability. She is Professor of History at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Her most recent projects include Whole Earth Living: Reconnecting...

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