It’s finals week at Bryn Mawr, which means that campus is getting quieter by the day. But for historians, the December break also requires getting ready for the American Historical Association (AHA) annual meeting, held the first weekend of the new year. On Sunday, January 4, I’ll be chairing a fantastic session organized by Penn State graduate student Kathryn Falvo, featuring work at the intersection of women’s and gender history and the digital humanities. We’ll be joined by new University of Virginia Ph.D. Tamika Richeson, and Dr. Wendy E. Chmielewski, George Cooley Curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.
Set your alarm clocks: we’re scheduled for a 9am start, discussing topics central to the Greenfield Digital Center’s mission:
The hashtag is still going strong, and now I’m inspired to power through my growing book piles. Here’s my interview, where I surprise myself with just how Catholic it is, and surprise no one with how many women are represented.
This week I’m returning to my old stomping grounds, the University of Chicago, to participate in the Emerging Leaders Initiative of the Social Sciences Division. I’ve been interested to see how my alma mater is thinking about how graduate students should be — in their words — “developing expertise in a variety of different areas.”
The areas in which I currently work, public and digital history, are not ones supported by my graduate training, but reflect work experience I brought with me to graduate school, and continued to do “on the side” while completing my doctorate. In order to keep up with those fields, and to make new contacts, I made a concerted effort to get online during the write-up phase of my (very analog) dissertation.
As part of Wednesday’s roundtable, I’ve been thinking about the choices I made (and continue to make) about building a web presence and sharing my work with a broader audience. The following links are a useful reading list for graduate students weighing similar decisions:
As I wrote in my dissertation acknowledgements (coming soon to a ProQuest database near you), my research is indebted to the interdisciplinary circles of scholars working on American Catholic history in Chicago and beyond, and I have benefited from the friendship and community of a terrific group of young scholars in Catholic Studies, one of whom, Mary Beth Fraser Connolly, was kind enough to talk with me recently about her new book on the Sisters of Mercy.
Maybe it’s because I’ve only been here for two months, or maybe it’s just nostalgia for my own college days, but with Customs Week at Bryn Mawr wrapping up, and classes getting underway, I’m feeling sympathy for new students and faculty navigating campus. Even with ten days living in a Pem East single as a CLIR Fellow under my belt, I still keep a copy of the current campus map in my bag and bookmarked on my iPhone. (At least I’m no longer confusing Taylor with Thomas!)
I’ve also been thinking a lot about maps after taking my first introduction to ArcGIS mapping software last month, as part of a Mellon-funded Tri-Co Environmental Studies initiative organized by Swarthmore College. Over three days, I joined nearly twenty Tri-Co faculty members interested in the possibilities of organizing spacial data. With most of us new to ArcGIS, the workshop opened with two basic questions:
What kinds of spacial questions do you encounter in your research?
What kinds of spacial questions do our students encounter in their classes?
To put it another way, maps can tell us where we are, but can they tell us who we are?
It’s September, and with the last of my summer travel behind me, I’m starting to refocus on the mission of the Greenfield Digital Center and getting our work out into the world. So there’s a new page on this site: Upcoming Engagements. I might be talking about oral history, social media, and/or the digital humanities in a city near you over the next year, so let’s connect!
Earlier this month, I spent 10 days at the Council on Libraries and Information Resources/Digital Library Federation (CLIR/DLF) postdoctoral fellows orientation seminar, an experience many of us fondly termed “library boot camp,” and others “Hogwarts School of Data Curation and Wizadry,” given the setting here at Bryn Mawr. In its tenth year, the CLIR/DLF postdoctoral fellows orientation gave twenty-seven new fellows (the biggest cohort yet!) an introduction to theories and methods in library and information studies, and data curation. As recent Ph.D.’s in fields ranging from comparative literature to biomedical informatics and everything in between, we’ll be taking a diverse array of positions in academic libraries across North America.