I’m Angela Sutton, and I write for my job and for fun. Luckily, right now there is a lot of overlap between the two.
I am a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University’s new Digital Humanities Center. My job involves a continuous discovery of the ways humanists can use digital tools and methods of inquiry to learn new things about our fields. I work with the Slave Societies digital archive (@SlaveSocieties) to help curate endangered documents concerning Africans and their descendants in the Americas. Every day we add new documents, improve the metadata, or get the word out at a conference or in a publication.
I’m very fortunate that this job necessitates lots and lots of writing. My main writing gig involves transforming my doctoral dissertation into an academic manuscript tentatively titled Gold Coast Rivalries: Northern Europeans and West Africans in the 17th Century Atlantic Slave Trade. It discusses the competitive mercantile culture various European and African slave traders created on the 17th century Gold Coast (what is currently Ghana), and what that means for our understanding of the Atlantic slave trade. For this, I analyze 17th century archival sources from England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden. I also get to experiment with various map-making technologies to explore and illustrate these phenomena. Spoiler: There are lots of pirates.
Other parts of my job that involve writing are grant proposals, book proposals, writing copy for websites, as well as conference presentations, and articles for historic journals. In my teaching, I write lectures, lesson plans, handouts, study guides, and exams.
I also write in my personal life. I just finished a book proposal and sample chapters for a trade project on piracy. It is represented by Erik Hane of Red Sofa Literary. I also enjoy fiction writing (my preferred genre is Young Adult, which is also what I love to read), and have in the past freelanced both fiction and non-fiction for a wide variety of publications and educational materials. I’ve also written for various consulting projects, including an indy film project about the (in)famous John Paul Jones.
Every day I see the ways writing in all of these different formats has allowed me to develop my skills, and each time I transfer them to a different form of writing, the process gets easier. I don’t know what all the future holds, but I’m confident writing will remain a part of it. If you’ve reached this far, it was destined we become twitter buddies- come find me!