A little about myself…

I’m a public historian who also researches and writes about police power and community-based struggles for accountability. My academic writing largely focuses on how publicly-funded police departments and their bureaucratic partners have authorized police authority through institutional memory and violence work. But I’m also interested in the production of counter-narratives that challenge accepted notions of police legitimacy and help historically criminalized people enact their own visions of health and safety.

My research is anchored in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I lived from 2010 to 2020 and completed a PhD in History. However, the lessons I seek to impart extend to the whole of metropolitan America. A dedication to gender and sex equity, racial and economic justice informs my work. To that end, I believe democracy will never be fully realized in the U.S. or globally until we abolish the Prison Industrial Complex and make any need for surveillance, policing, and punishment systems obsolete. While research can help further these ends, it’s through political education and organizing that we’ll realize, what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. notably referenced as, the “beloved community.”

I try to bring this perspective to bear as a public historian who has collaborated on community-facing archive, museum exhibition, and digital humanities projects across multiple cities. I earned my Public History MA from American University in 2011 and hail from greater Hartford, CT, where trips to museums like the Mark Twain House and Wadsworth Atheneum as a youth instilled a sense of place and passion for storytelling and artistic visualization.

Let’s connect

Follow on Twitter @willtchak and LinkedIn, or reach out by email: withistorical@gmail.com

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