Dad & Husband/Historian/Professor/Food Writer/Study-Travel Leader

Robert Carriker


My teaching and research focus on Public History, the History of the American West, Heritage Tourism, Culinary Culture, and Community History. A native of Washington State, I graduated with a B.A. in History from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington and relocated to Arizona to pursue an M.A. in United States History and Public History with a certificate in Historic Preservation. My doctorate is also from Arizona State University (1996) and is in History with fields in the West, Public History, and 20th Century U.S.

Recent publications include, Urban Farming in the West: A New Deal Experiment in Subsistence Homesteads (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2010) and Boudin: A Guided to Louisiana's Extraordinary Link (Lafayette: University of Louisiana Press, 2012).

In 2015 I was appointed to the Louisiana State National Register of Historic Places Review Commission.  I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Preservation Alliance of Lafayette and I'm a past Board member for the National Council on Public History and the Louisiana State Prison Museum.  I served as the Chair of the Lafayette Historic Preservation Commission for 8 years and have recently worked with the following groups:

The River Road African American Museum
Lafayette Historic Preservation Commission
Consultant to The Alexander Mouton House and Lafayette Museum
Consultant to The Mississippi Valley Museum at Acadian Village
Committee member for the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebration
Committee for the Council on the Development of French in Louisiana
Consultant to The Acadian Museum in Erath, Louisiana
Board of Directors for The Louisiana State Prison Museum at Angola
Assistant Historian for The National Endowment for the Humanities' summer seminar on Lewis and Clark held in Spokane, Washington
Historian/Researcher for National Park Service's Tonto National Monument
Cultural Resource Management Intern with United States Forest Service’s Region IX in Portland, Oregon 

In 1997 I founded the Public History Program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and then created a graduate student internship project as part of the program.  Having come to UL to establish this program, I worked tirelessly over the course of 19 years to solidify it as a one of the strongest M.A. Public History programs in the country.  I oversaw a number of strategic hires to strengthen the faculty and course offerings and offering my own ideas so that the program could flourish.  Success has been sweet.

In 1998 I created History on the Move, a domestic study-travel program combining classroom learning with hands on experiences.History on the Move spends three weeks traveling to various regions of the United States learning about history by going to the places where historical events happened, to museums, and through various cultural experiences. Through this program I safely guided students through Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, Alaska, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.  Over the years we amassed more than 50,000 miles on the road.  Those interested in learning more about this unique program should consult the program site  However, the program is currently on hiatus as I'm looking for another outlet for the program or to re-create it in a new format at UL Lafayette.

In addition to leading students on History on the Move adventures I have taught in Florence, Italy a half-dozen times as part of Gonzaga University's Study Abroad Program and also as part of the UL Lafayette's Study Abroad Program.  While abroad I teach courses on Museums and the Culinary History of Italy as well as leading students on excursions to the Italian Alps, Austria and Bavaria, Rome, and other locales in Italy.  I've also served as co-director of the field trip component of four NEH Summer Seminars on Lewis and Clark.  This entailed leading groups on river excursions on the Missouri River and the Lolo Trail in Montana and Idaho and the Snake and Salmon Rivers in Idaho.  

Acadiana Historical is a history based mobile app that allows for the curating of the region's historical and cultural landscape through geo-located sites. My graduate class developed the initial content for this digital project in the spring of 2013 and they continue to research new sites. The mobile apps for both Apple and Android devices are available through the App Store and Google Play.

Museum on the Move - While attending the National Council on Public History's annual conference in 2012, I attended a session and I was inspired to pursue the development of a traveling history museum as a way to teach students about creative approaches to practicing history. This led to the creation of the Museum on the Move project. The History Department work for at UL purchased a vintage Airstream trailer that was outfitted with an exhibit curated by students. This collaborative project involves several other faculty members from the Department of History as well as input from the university's Industrial Design program.  Though the project was of my conception I passed it off to other faculty members and they have seen the concept thrive.

Allons!! -in 2014 I served as a founding contributor to the cutting edge digital magazine built on the iTunes University publishing platform from Apple. Allons! was produced quarterly from Firefly Media and the Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission.

In 2004 I created; a website devoted to boudin sausage (one of the most uncorrupted regional culinary specialties in America). The site has grown to one of national and international recognition and it has been featured in everything from shows on the Food Network and the Travel Channel to the Wall Street Journal. This opened the door to other culinary ventures (including three other food related websites) and has positioned me as a regional culinary authority. My photos have appeared in Saveur and Louisiana Living and I even have a sandwich named after me at a local Cajun restaurant (Johnson's Boucaniere). All this led to the founding of Lafayette's Boudin Cook-Off, an annual celebration of boudin held each October in Lafayette that was listed as one of the top ten best food festivals in America by Gourmet Magazine. This quasi academic pursuit demonstrates my community involvement and my embracing of "place."

My most recent project is  a sort of behind-the-scenes recounting of 13 years as the head of an academic unit in a large state institution of higher education.  

-- Is anyone actually reading all of this?  Poor you if you are.