“History club is meme club,” reiterated the emperor of the Explorers of the Past club, junior Bryan Calligan, and the oft-repeated remark garnered thunderous applause and roaring laughter from his underlings, a.k.a. the other club members.
If you don’t see the connection between history and memes, the “Explorers of the Past: History and Anthropology Club” might not be the club for you. It’s the strangest, dorkiest, most ridiculous group on campus – the members like it that way, and the group has doubled in the last year alone.
Officially, the club might appear uninteresting. It meets several times a semester “by necessity,” according to Calligan, to plan its two semester events: a historical movie night and a field trip. But that is only the beginning. As Calligan stated, “Really, if you aren’t having fun, then it isn’t the History Club.”
At the opening of every meeting, the group members re-introduce themselves and answer the opening question, which could be anything ranging from “Choose a historical event to witness and an unusual perspective to see it from” to “To which dictator would you sing, and what song would you choose?”
After introductions, “a typical meeting with our club tends to start out with business,” Calligan said, “but beyond that, whenever we induct new members, we always ‘knight’ them into … the club, which is a lengthy and interesting procedure … We’ve written an oath for them to say.” Club officers, on the other hand, receive personalized and improvised oaths which “they swear on a history book and our Constitution.”
Indeed, at the most recent meeting, the reigning emperor inducted two new knights (or dames), surreptitiously dubbing them with a spoon (having forgotten his lightsaber) in Antonian Hall. The ranks of the officers also swelled, and the group gained a new emperor’s assistant (vice president), plunderer (events coordinator), minister of propaganda (publicity manager), Russian delegate (chairperson) and Walmart door greeter (bailiff).
Calligan described the club as a resource for history and anthropology students to share information about the programs and their interests, and after business concludes, the members “tend to stay around … and just have a good time and talk about history, history classes, history memes.”
Members of the club agree. Junior Niamh-Marie Batstone, minister of propaganda, said, “It is a lively and vivacious community.” Junior Natasha Nosenchuck, Russian delegate, phrased it differently, saying, “We enjoy a good defenestration.”
Calligan stressed the importance of that fun and community, saying, “The goal of the Explorers of the Past club is really to bring together all history and anthropology majors under one community because … while we see everybody in classes, you know, we really want to form that community.”
Not a history or anthropology major or minor? Not a problem – you can still be a third-class citizen because the club’s “real goal is to create an environment where a lot of people can come and everybody’s welcome,” said Calligan.
Underneath all of the joking, however, the members are connected by their common love for history and belief that one’s understanding of the past shapes the future. As Calligan said, “The study of history is really the study of everything if you think about it. … Especially in today’s society where so many things are at stake: morally, politically, uh, other adverbs; it’s really important to look back and see what people have done in the past to try to overcome these exact same issues that have happened countless times.”
Yet the emperor’s concluding speech, punctuated by applause, revealed the club’s real motive: “History memes are very important … And we like memes! History club is meme club! And we will conquer Europe until we take over all the memes!”
On Feb. 16, the Explorers of the Past will travel to the Soldiers and Sailors Museum and Nationality Rooms. They will be showing “The Scarlet and the Black” on Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. in Egan G-19. For more information, contact [email protected] or visit explorersofthepast on Instagram.