Studying the History of Religion at College

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

 

Black at Bryn Mawr: What’s Next?

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?

As always, the conversation continues on Twitter: #BlackatBrynMawr and #campushistories.

cross-posted from Black at Bryn Mawr

Project Update: College Women

College women beta site 6-11

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.

To read more, download the “History of Women’s Education Open Access Portal Project” from the Bryn Mawr College repository, here. Continue reading “Project Update: College Women”

Summer Research on Storify

Exploring materials for child readers at the American Antiquarian Society, June 2015 (photo via @AmAntiquarian).

With the support of two weeks paid research leave from Bryn Mawr College Special Collections, I was able to participate in two research seminars over the past month that will help me move forward my dissertation research into new projects (more on those soon!)

For the moment, I’m using Storify to share the conversations started in Worcester and New York:

June 21-26, 2015
Reading Children: Summer Seminar in the History of the Book in American Culture (#PHBAC15)
American Antiquarian Society (Worcester, MA)

[View the story “Reading Children: The 2015 Summer Seminar in the History of the Book in American Culture” on Storify]

June 29-July 2, 2015
2015 Summer Institute in Digital Humanities
New York Metro American Studies Association / New York University (New York, NY)

[View the story”NYMASA 2015 Summer Institute: The Digital City” on Storify]

Now that I’m back at Bryn Mawr for the rest of the summer, I’ll be working on my new course for the Department of HIstory, “History in Public” (Spring 2016) and continuing research for Black at Bryn Mawr, the project that inspired this course. There’s a Storify for that too: view “Black at Bryn Mawr” on Storify.

Black at Bryn Mawr

Black at Bryn Mawr poster by Grace Pusey.
Black at Bryn Mawr poster by Grace Pusey.

I’ve had the pleasure of advising a number of projects at Bryn Mawr during my first year, including Black at Bryn Mawr, designed and researched by Grace Pusey and Emma Kioko, graduating seniors. Emma and Grace have taken an important public-facing, place-based approach to rewriting narratives of the College’s history; you can read more about the project here.

Together, we are offering walking tours of campus this week and in early May. Grace and Emma’s research blog will serve as the launching pad for my Spring 2016 course, History in Public – Race, Gender, and Campus Memory.

Want to learn more? Follow this semester’s work on Twitter (via #BlackatBrynMawr) and our summer research on Facebook: Black at Bryn Mawr.

Greenfield in the Classroom: Teaching the History of Women’s Higher Education

* cross posted from Educating Women *

Bryn Mawr College classroom, undated, via Triptych.
Professor Samuel Clagget Chew’s Bryn Mawr College classroom, undated, via Triptych.

This semester I’m back in the classroom, teaching a History Department seminar, “Higher Education for Women: Bryn Mawr and Beyond.” With apologies to Professor Samuel Claggett Chew (pictured left), my class of smart Bryn Mawr third- and fourth-years looks absolutely nothing like the lecture class of old. We divide our time between the classroom, Special Collections, and a course blog** linking past and present.

That blog, along with links to my syllabus and digital resources, is now live:

HIST B332 Higher Education for Women: Bryn Mawr and Beyond

Although my students aren’t tweeting this semester, I’m tracking my class prep on Twitter (reviving the hashtag #bmchistory) and I look forward to using this space for reflecting on teaching the course and the research that it inspires.

Read more at Educating Women, the blog of The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education. [link]


** Students were given the option to blog anonymously, although no student has yet to choose this option. On student privacy and class blogging (or other instances of student work online that may be publicly visible), I’ve consulted this list of resources collected by Whittier College DigLibArts.

Sharing Our Work: Reflections on Digital History for the New Year

* cross posted from Educating Women *

Campus may be quiet but the Greenfield Center is open for business.
Campus may be quiet but the Greenfield Center is open for business.

Last week, I returned to Bryn Mawr after nearly a week in New York for the annual meeting of the American Historical Association (AHA). My meeting was a busy one — catching up with old friends and mentors, checking in with one of my other professional organizations (the Coordinating Council for Women in History), helping to organize THATCamp AHA, and chairing a panel on feminist work in digital history. It was an exhilarating and exhausting week. But despite the conference fatigue, I left New York feeling energized for the work I’ll be taking on for the Greenfield Center this semester: teaching my first course, Higher Education for Women: Bryn Mawr and Beyond; advising students doing archives fieldwork as part of Bryn Mawr’s Praxis program; continuing to work on the NEH-funded Seven Sisters digital project; and planning our May conference, Women’s History in the Digital World 2015.

Perhaps because our conference CFP is due later this week, I spent a lot of time at AHA thinking about how conferences bring us together, and about how we can support each other and build audiences for our work.

Read more at Educating Women, the blog of The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education. [link]