This month marks the end of my two-year Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellowship at Bryn Mawr College. Twice a year, CLIR asks all fellows to report on our accomplishment, goals, and challenges, and I’ve decided to make public and expand upon my most recent entry, the exit report. Keeping a copy here, in my little corner of the internet, is a way for me to document the end of one chapter, and also provide future CLIR postdoc applicants a glimpse into the possibilities of such fellowships in the small liberal arts college context. [And if you’re reading this wondering about the many paths of the CLIR fellows, I highly recommend two blog posts from my cohortmates: Emily McGinn on the “interstitial PhD,” and Rachel Deblinger on alt-ac advocacy.] Continue reading “Exit Report”
Black at Bryn Mawr and other campus history projects, including those represented in our NCPH 2016 Working Group “Campus History as Public History” are featured in Corinne Ruff’s June 21, 2016 article, “Historians of Slavery Find Fruitful Terrain: Their Own Institutions” for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
When I talked to Ruff at the beginning of June, the most important point I wanted to stress was the variety of campus history models emerging; not every project comes out of an R1 school with a commission, faculty support, or funding. That there are, in fact, a growing number of student-centered models for this work is one reason I’m disappointed that Ruff didn’t name the founders of our project at Bryn Mawr — Emma Kioko and Grace Pusey — whose dedication, research, and creativity fueled this project from start to finish, even after their graduation.
The article is only available to Chronicle subscribers, but I’ve made a PDF available here.
In January, my public history class welcomed to campus Janice Nimura, author of Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back (2015, now in paperback!) — the rare mass-market biography that takes seriously, and as its subject, the lived experience of young women.
As Nimura writes this month at Lithub:
I always like the moment in my talks when I show a photo of the Vassar class of 1882, a gaggle of young bluestockings with one Japanese face in the middle: Sutematsu Yamakawa, the eldest of my three subjects, elected class president in her sophomore year! There’s always a gratifying murmur from the audience as I drive the point home: that’s how talented she was, how intellectually dazzling, how extraordinary in transcending her otherness.
But one afternoon my audience was a room full of Bryn Mawr students, and one of them raised her hand. Wasn’t it possible, she asked, that Sutematsu’s classmates had elevated her because of her differences, rather than in spite of them? Didn’t they think of her as a sort of samurai princess, and wouldn’t they have found it gratifying to show her off?
#HIST303, always with the good questions. (I’m going to miss this class.)
This week I’m in Baltimore for the NCPH annual meeting, “Challenging the Exclusive Past,” co-organizing the working group Campus History as Public History with Caitlin Cohn (University of Minnesota), LaQuanda Cooper (UMBC), and Anne Mitchell Whisnant (UNC-Chapel Hill). Representing nearly 20 campus history projects from Massachusetts to Oklahoma, and many points in between (see our map), the working group is a first step in imagining how to offer resources for public historians working in a variety of institutional contexts–from K-12 schools to public and private colleges and universities.
For me, this group has already provided an opportunity to reflect on the projects I’ve worked on and advised at the University of Chicago and Bryn Mawr College, including On Equal Terms, Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles, and Black at Bryn Mawr. Follow our NCPH conversation with the hashtags #ncph2016 #campushistories (which I’m collecting using Storify), and read the group’s case statements over on the NCPH blog, History @Work. Continue reading “#campushistories #ncph2016”