Hello! My name is Jack Warner, and I am one of the graduate research assistants apart of the Drowned Towns team. My time with the Atlas began shortly after my enrollment at Boise State in January 2023, and will continue for the foreseeable future.
I am originally from San Diego, California and received my B.A in History from California State University San Marcos in 2022. I moved to Idaho shortly after I graduated in search of a change of scenery, and an intimate graduate program to continue my studies. Idaho was not an entirely purposeful destination, considering I had no personal or familial connections to speak of, yet I have loved my time here and hope to remain for some time.
My personal studies are concerned with Cold War diplomatic history. I know what you’re thinking, understudied topic… Nonetheless, my fascination with the period has been around from early on in my collegiate career. During my undergraduate years, I immersed myself in the study of 20th century American history. It was during this time that a question emerged in my mind, shaping the trajectory of my current research focus. Namely, how is it that after WWII the United States has not legally and technically declared war, yet it has deployed its military abroad dozens of times? This question has steered my academic journey at Boise State University, where I hope to craft a thesis worthy of my professors and peers.
Growing up in California, the history of communities battling over water rights was ubiquitous. Owens Valley, and the communities that were devastated to divert water for the city of Los Angeles, was prominently featured in popular historical accounts and curriculum at high schools. During my childhood, I never questioned the occurrence of people being displaced due to water rights disputes since it was a frequent happening in California. However, as I grew older, I developed a greater fascination with displacement as a historical phenomenon, particularly the narratives we construct to justify the necessity of such displacements. Again, Owens Valley serves as an excellent example of a powerful force, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, displacing people belonging to small, but closely knit communities.
The Atlas’s goal to recover the histories of communities that disappeared as a result of the construction of hydroelectric dam projects presents an incredible opportunity for both myself and stakeholders who share a concern for these lost histories. This project is of an entirely different scope than my own studies, so being a part of the team has offered me a chance to engage in history in a new way. Looking at the stories of small, disappeared towns, and the people in those communities, has enlightened me to the importance of projects like the Atlas of Drowned Towns.
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