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.)
For a second year, the Greenfield Digital Center will be supporting history programming for the 2016 Bryn Mawr College Community Day of Learning, In/Visible: Class on Campus, Class in Our Lives. Can new archives and historical research expand our notion of campus histories? Join us on Tuesday, February 23 during the first two sessions (room locations and session times will be updated online, here) Continue reading “Community Day of Learning 2016”
How do you teach campus history? In just a few week’s time, visitors will have access to a more robust course website; for now, see the course description here.
A topic I’m eager to explore in more depth is the built environment of religion on women’s college campuses — connecting threads I’ve pursued since my second year of graduate school, when I wrote pages and pages on the intersection of labor, education, and gender at Mary Lyon’s Mount Holyoke Female Seminary for my religion and history classes while researching a seminar paper on Mundelein, Chicago’s “skyscraper college” for Catholic women.
As I work with the Bryn Mawr College Archives, and on the project team developing College Women: Documenting the History of Women in Higher Education (collegewomen.org) I often think of the questions that many of my students have raised about the role of religion in their college lives, and the ways in which religious and interfaith spaces on college campuses have developed.
Read more in my latest Religion in American History blog post, Finding Religion at College? Documenting the History of Women in Higher Education (10/29/15).
Image: Mount Holyoke College, 1940s, via collegewomen.org
I’ve been invited by the Bryn Mawr College Pensby Center to kick off this year’s Diversity Conversations programming with a look at the past, present, and future of the Black at Bryn Mawr project. During 2015-2016, I will continue to manage the project, providing new research and integrating it with my teaching and the work of the Greenfield Digital Center. I feel the loss of the project’s creators, Emma Kioko ’15 and Grace Pusey ’15 greatly — their energy and expertise made Emma’s idea for a Black history walking tour real, and far more successful than we ever could have imagined at this time last year. Our students graduate, and move on in their research and careers; talk of sustainability for campus history projects in the small liberal arts college environment must reflect this.
For those who can not attend the conversation, I am making my slides available via Slideshare, and welcome comments and further questions. Today’s presentation also dovetails with the work I am just beginning as a co-organizer of the 2016 NCPH Working Group “Campus History as Public History,” which is taking applications through October 15, 2015. Can we create best practices for these kinds of projects?
cross-posted from Black at Bryn Mawr
In June, my Special Collections colleagues and I announced the launch of College Women: Documenting the History of Women in Higher Education (collegewomen.org), a project of the seven institutions once known as the “Seven Sisters” colleges. With a one-year Foundations planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities — based on a grant proposal written by my predecessor at Bryn Mawr, Dr. Jennifer Redmond — we developed a collaborative archives portal that brings together digitized student materials drawn from the libraries of the seven partner institutions: Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Vassar, Wellesley, and Radcliffe (now the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University).
Over the summer, as we saw our first users begin to explore the site, we were also busy putting the finishing touches on a white paper documenting this collaboration for the NEH Division of Preservation and Access, Humanities Collections and Reference Resources. With the white paper, we made the case for finding ways to collect geographically disparate collections in a vital, sustainable, and open-source subject-specific site, and over the long term, using that site to stimulate significant new work in women’s history.