A friend of mine from a writer’s group had to go to the post office. Here in Nashville, it often falls on customers to enforce social distancing guidelines for their own health. My friend got into the line, and a woman came up behind her, unmasked, practically breathing down her neck. My friend asked her to back up, and the woman did so, but not without an argument that sprayed her breath all over my friend who couldn’t get away fast enough without losing her place in line.
My friend is gutsy, so she asked the woman her name. The woman declined to give it to her, so my friend made a note of the car the woman had gotten out of, and the woman asked why. My friend said that she wanted to have a complete list to give doctors for when she catches Corona and the doctors ask her to do contact tracing to see who she caught it from or may have given it to. The woman seethed from a distance until they got to the counter.
I’m incredibly proud of my friend. Keeping yourself safe from Covid-19 and preventing the spread depends on people rigorously enforcing social distancing and keeping track of everyone from whom they were unable to distance. Doing so means that they will have to break social norms and stop being the people who make others “feel” good. They’re going to have to be rude.
Continue reading “Now Is the Time to be Rude”
History is a relatively solitary field. The vast number of articles and books written have just one author, and many historians go their whole careers publishing alone. I don’t mind doing that, but have found the Atlantic World projects I’m most interested in generally require more than one person’s worth of expertise to do well. No one person can cover the scope of the Atlantic World: 4 continents over 4 centuries with primary sources in dozens of languages. So when I find opportunities to collaborate, I jump on them.
I’m pleased to announce that The Historical Journal is going to publish the results of one of these collaborations. It’s a co-authored article entitled “Projections of Desire and Design in Early Modern Caribbean Maps.” This article came out of a collaborative map analysis project funded by the John Carter Brown library’s relatively new Collaborative Cluster fellowship that allowed my partner and I to meet up for two weeks in Providence to analyze maps and plot out an article. After the two weeks, he and I finished the writing together electronically, and we learned a lot about workflow when it comes to collaborative writing and co-authoring in the humanities.
There are a lot of good resources for collaborative writing of all kinds out there, so I don’t need to write just one more. Instead, I’ll leave some more specific lessons learned along the way.
Continue reading “Collaborative Writing in the Humanities: Lessons in Co-Authorship”
I do so much work with Digital Humanities for my position. So much. But do I ever write up any of that and submit it to publication? Ha, nope.
I write everything else of course, and this always falls to the back burner. And I’m willing to bet that sadly, I am not alone. How many of you do cutting-edge work in whatever field you happen to be in, and then put off the writing for summer, or for next year, or for when you get that research leave, or or or?
We all know this is a major missed opportunity for critical reflection, for peer feedback, and for collaboration. Fortunately, Rebecca Panter, another postdoctoral fellow, felt the same way. So we made 2016 the year we did something about it: we started the Digital Humanities Writing Group for faculty and grad students on campus who found themselves always doing and never writing it up. And as anything worth implementing is worth implementing well, we slapped an ambitious goal onto it: each of our members will have a complete journal article or manuscript chapter finished by the end of the Spring 2017 semester.
It’s a lot, but it’s also doable, and I think that is one of the main draws of the group. Just like you eat an elephant one bite at a time (well, I don’t. I hope you don’t, either. We don’t have enough of them on this planet for you to be making them part of Taco Tuesdays.), you write an article one page at a time.
As you can imagine, there are specific considerations to keep in mind when the group is academic, interdisciplinary, DH-focused, and comprised of both grad students and faculty. And that’s without the normal struggles that come with forming a writing critique group. Here’s what we’re doing to increase our chances of success: Continue reading “8 Things to Consider when Organizing Your Digital Humanities Writing Group”