When most people think of a history teacher they probably remember Professor Binns from the Harry Potter books, a professor so dull he didn’t even realize he had died but continued teaching anyway as a ghost and succeeded in putting Harry and his friends to sleep. Professor Carlson, a history teacher here at SLCC, is the exact opposite of fictional Binns.
Carlson definitely has a sense of humor.
“I think you need to convey in this article just how good looking I am,” he said.
Carlson specializes in European history, and wrote his thesis on Hitler and Stalin as military commanders. Carlson has a special interest in German military history and is currently trying to teach a course on Nazi Germany. This semester he will be teaching two American history 1700 classes and a world history 1500 class, the latter of which he’s never taught before.
“There’s a lot of stuff like pre-Colombian history and Asian history I have to go back and look at. I’ve got my work cut out for me in the next few weeks,” said Carlson.
Carlson not only teaches history but is also an improv comic with Laughing Stock, and is currently directing the HMS Pinafore. Both performances can be seen at The Off Broadway Theatre in downtown Salt Lake City. Carlson has been working in local theatre since he was 19, having appeared in nearly 50 performances at the Hale and The Grand Theatre, among others.
“When I was actually a student here at SLCC several years ago, I kind of didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I kinda had this attitude of I better figure out or I’m wasting my time,” he said. “There were only two things I could really see myself studying. One was theatre and the other was history. And I thought, you know I like theatre a lot but I really love history. And I don’t really want a career in theatre, that’s a hobby, so I ended up studying history, finished up here then went up to the U and finished my bachelors, then I jumped right into a master’s program.”
As well as working at The Off Broadway and SLCC, Carlson also works at the Clark Planetarium at the Gateway mall. Carlson works in the light shows and astronomy presentations, showing yet another area of expertise.
“In about ’04, as I was just starting at the U, I needed another part time job and I had a friend who worked at the planetarium who said they were hiring. So I just applied and got a job there. I’m fortunate. They’re both jobs I really enjoy,” he said.
Carlson’s HMS Pinafore can be seen at The Off Broadway Theatre at 272 Main Street Monday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and his improv group Laughing Stock every Friday and Saturday night at 10 p.m.