Town crier, Provincetown, Cape Cod, Mass., courtesy Boston Public Library
Let me start by asking a question: how many people think that a producer, reporter, or intern for CNN, NBC, or any other news organization actually reads full articles in Nature, Science, or the New England Journal of Medicine to find out about the latest scientific and medical breakthroughs for their news reporting?
Yeah, me neither. So what’s really going on when journalists spend two weeks suggesting that journal articles are out of touch and inaccessible? And if there’s a kernel of truth to the claim, is there anything we as scholars can do to address the concern?
The AHA recently announced the formation of an ad hoc committee to produce standard guidelines for evaluating digital scholarship. It is hoped that the guidelines will allow professional recognition of new scholarship in a way that can become codified within the tenure process. The committee is a veritable who’s who of digital humanities worthies—all with an excellent track record of traditional peer-reviewed scholarship and engagement with a variety of digital media. When this committee speaks, it will command attention.
This is an important step forward for the profession; having a rigorous set of guidelines for evaluation will serve as an important starting point for encouraging recalcitrant colleagues and administrators to take digital scholarship seriously. But there is one thing that is also notable about the committee—not to put too fine a point on it, it is rather old. All the scholars are safely tenured. Where are the voices of the new generation, of the digital natives? Continue reading →
I am still learning how things work in England. Prime example: a couple of months back, I referred to the place where one purchases delicious, delicious beer-battered cod and fries as a “fish and chippery” before a kind(?) soul on Twitter alerted me to the fact that it’s called a “chippy,” here. So perhaps it’s understandable that I still find it a little weird that my students are about to take their final exams. Continue reading →
Happy New Year! Like the British Army two centuries ago, historians are descending on Washington this week in massive numbers (though likely with somewhat better results for the White House and Library of Congress) for the annual meeting of the American Historical Association. It’s an exciting time for the profession overall as discussions and meetings take place, and a harrowing time for those attending for job interviews. And apparently we’ll all get to see how badly the region handles winter weather.
I think it’s important for historians to try to make connections with the present, not only because it more thoroughly engages students, but also because the past is not static. I haven’t always been great at explicitly drawing these parallels, but when the first day of the U.S. government shutdown coincided with my first Revolutionary America class, I sort of lost it. I thought to myself, “I have to go into class prepared to talk about how people in thirteen disparate colonies—some of whom disliked each other immensely—managed to get it together enough to rebel against Great Britain?” It’s no wonder I ended up showing a pop music video and comparing the Revolution to the bad breakup of a dysfunctional relationship. I assume that a teensy bit of pandering to students’ tastes didn’t hurt, either. Continue reading →
As promised back in August upon her untimely passing, this week The Junto will be dedicated to exploring the works and legacy of Pauline Maier. I will forego providing any biographical details since they can be found in The Junto‘s memoriam for Maier here. Continue reading →
Or, How I Stopped Hating Finance and Learned to Love the Business Major
Settling in to my first semester as a TA this fall, I was stoked. Yes, stoked. Unbelievably enthusiastic about my teaching assignment: Early American Maritime Culture. I thought about all the port cities we would study, the trade routes we would map, and maybe for good measure we’d throw in an impressment or two. This first-time TA was assigned to a course in her field. Huzzah!
But a week into the semester I received an email stating, “We write to inform you that your teaching assignment has been changed to The History of Finance.” Continue reading →
Last week, I attended the annual conference for the Society of United States Intellectual History, this year held in Irvine, CA. It was a fun time, and I learned enough and met enough people to consider the conference a success (and worth the 12 hour flight from London!). Yet one thing struck me the entire weekend, and was reinforced by Mark Peterson who gave words to my thoughts during his session response: why is there a paucity of work on early America within the recent surge of interest in US intellectual history? Or, to ask a different, but still related, question, why do so few historians of early America do work on intellectual history, or self-identify as intellectual historians? Continue reading →
We’re barreling toward the end of the semester, which always feels closer once Thanksgiving’s over. As the Brits don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, I’m in the midst of doing mid-semester evaluations with students this week A) To remind them that the semester really is more than half over and B) To try to suss out what is and isn’t working in our class.
Today at The Junto, we’d like to ask you, our readers, to reflect on your teaching so far this semester, and to encourage people to use the comments to share ideas and troubleshoot.