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  • 2 | Introduction | Digital Me, Digital Yo(u) (13 comments)

    • Comment by Tamara Caulkins on September 15, 2016

      play not paly

      Comment by Brian on September 18, 2016

      I’m unclear about what has to do with form and what has to do with disciplinary requirements. My understanding is that the virtuoso monograph form is driven by the disciplinary rules of tenure and promotion. Are digital historians bound by different rules?

      Comment by Brian on September 18, 2016

      Digital humanities as a new source of employment? I suppose I’ll have to read the chapter to understand what that means, exactly. It seems like there are two issues: 1. the single author w/ a finished piece vs. an ongoing discussion with a digital crowd; and 2. writing for a broad audience vs. writing for a disciplinary audience.

      Before and since the digital revolution, scholars have been engaged in doing #2. But the ways in which digital environments potentially crack open single-author work and suggest different rules of authorship (#1) is a different matter (to me). I’m curious to know if these new employment opportunities in digital humanities are bound by different rules of tenure and promotion, which is a large part of what drives issues of authorship and audience.

      Comment by Natalia Petrzela on September 20, 2016

      NB All my comments come after having read the whole document and discussing with a writing group, in case I refer ahead (for other readers’ reference)

      I think a big strength of the intro is how your lifespan mirrors the proliferation of digital tech. Creates very natural, amazing tone

      Comment by Natalia Petrzela on September 20, 2016

      I think there is an opportunity here or elsewhere to talk about how these two realms complement each other. Networks are not only effecting change, but enhancing the old networks. For me, a concrete example is that I used to go to conferences, get amped up on scholarly mojo and hope it would last me until the next meeting. Now, I can hop into the S-USIH FB page, or check in with many #twitterstorians and get a lot of similar intellectual energy. Also, so many avenues to traditional forms of achievement – edited volumes, conference papers, etc – have been opened to me because people see what I am up to on FB/Twitter. I guess this just makes the point that there isn’t an old way or a new way to do things, but that these new forms of networking BOTH create totally new forms of expression and access to older ones.

      Comment by Natalia Petrzela on September 20, 2016

      I don’t understand this example. They are required to be in the office BECAUSE the fear is otherwise they will be home?

      Comment by Natalia Petrzela on September 20, 2016

      couldn’t agree more on how public writing infuses the scholarly material with more energy

      Comment by Natalia Petrzela on September 20, 2016

      here is an opportunity to make more of the generational dynamics we discussed at NYU today. Your intellectual life is a perfect period in which to look at how these digital technologies have shaped our field, yet you are both a leader and a generational exception. I think once I saw you write somewhere you are one of the handful of historians of your age to have a Google Alert set up. I think you could make more of this if you want to play that up. Your job search story doesn’t contain a sense of disorientation because you are very familiar with these platforms, but I have heard older (than you) academics report that they feel these technologies (especially as they are recommended, and then required on campus) are a form of ageism as “digital immigrants” have such a harder time adopting them

      Comment by Natalia Petrzela on September 20, 2016

      I think this section header could come earlier per my comments above

      Comment by Natalia Petrzela on September 20, 2016

      Yes. Uniquely unfamiliar in the relatively solitary world of history research, right? Sarah Manekin and I discussed a bit in our co-authored article about our “Accountability Partnership” in Writing History in the Digital Age

      Comment by Natalia Petrzela on September 20, 2016

      Here might be a point to discuss the questions raised in our NYU conversation today about the price of these platforms being hosted by large for-profit entities rather than homegrown academic efforts

      Comment by Natalia Petrzela on September 20, 2016

      i love this part of social media

      Comment by Natalia Petrzela on September 20, 2016

      this quote is so powerful in reflecting ambivalence that I think it can be further exploited and moved further up. I also think here is a place to bring up the issue of technique/method/content that many will raise – is a traditional scholarly article about cyberculture a form of DH?

  • Claire Potter | Author (6 comments)

    • Comment by Claire Potter on December 17, 2015

      See how easy it is?

      Comment by Mark Simpson-Vos on September 16, 2016

      We are thrilled to be a part of this collaboration with Claire and with what we hope will be a growing community of scholars eager to build bridges between avid digital humanties practitioners and those who have perhaps been skeptical about the values of digital history practice.

      Comment by Mark Simpson-Vos on September 16, 2016

      I’d like to add another reason: as a way of demonstrating that peer review is NOT about a magical and secretive process of finding two anonymous readers to say nice things about a work in progress, but rather about meaningfully engaging a community of practice to consider a work and its claims, to assess the validity and support for those claims, and to foster exchange that can improve a work before it is published in archival form.  Too often these kinds of bedrock principles are forgotten or ignored as scholarly writers and editors work together. But here, hopefully, is visible evidence of what peer review is really trying to accomplish.

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      As Charlie Sheen says, this article is “WGNNINI!”

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Comments on the Blog

  • Why Blog A Book? (20 comments)

    • Comment by Dorothy Potter Snyder on June 5, 2016

      I think this is the coolest thing ever. I am keen to see the work as it emerges, and also keen to see a conversation develop in this sort of space. kudos to the web designer (is it you?) because it’s very intuitive and easy on the eye. I’ll be reading you from up here at Sewanee and maybe weighing in here and there in the comments. I’m not a bad proofreader. 🙂

      Comment by Amanda Seligman on June 6, 2016

      Sign me up!

      Comment by Claire Potter on June 6, 2016

      You’re in, Amanda!

      Comment by Josie on January 8, 2017

      Many many qutliay points there.

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  • Birth of a Blogger (16 comments)

    • Comment by Dorothy Potter Snyder on June 23, 2016

      “My hope that I would be embraced…was mostly fulfilled.” Would leave out the “mostly”. Who didn’t embrace you? You don’t say.

      Comment by Dorothy Potter Snyder on June 23, 2016

      [Although I had ultimately been successful, I had just completed a soul-sapping, two-year struggle for promotion to full professor. It had left me wondering for the first time since I applied to graduate school in 1982 whether I really wanted to be a historian any more.] How about: The successful two-year struggle to achieve a full professorship had cost me dearly, and I wondered for the first time since I applied…” 

      Comment by Dorothy Potter Snyder on June 23, 2016

      [seized with an anxiety so severe that I experienced ocular migraines for the first time in my life.] Wow!

      Comment by Dorothy Potter Snyder on June 23, 2016

      [where I had lost my voice] How about “Where I had, at least for the moment, lost my voice.”

      Comment by Dorothy Potter Snyder on June 23, 2016

      [publishing delays.] finish sentence? 🙂 …attracted me.

      Comment by Dorothy Potter Snyder on June 23, 2016

      [does blogging] –> replace with “does it”

      Comment by Dorothy Potter Snyder on June 23, 2016

      It strikes me that I didn’t really know the whole story of why you started TR, just the broad brush strokes. I certainly didn’t know about the ocular migraines!  Very interesting piece. Did you meet Chauncey DeVega around this time, or was that later? It occurs to me that, for me, one result of you starting TR was that I, not a historian, found people like Historiann and Chauncey DeVega whose work I now read pretty regularly. That is to say, blogging brought some of us non-academics into the thought space of people we never would have read or met in the “real” world.

      Comment by MPG on June 23, 2016


      This is lovely.

      What kind of writer had you hoped you’d be? Maybe just a sentence or two? That might help us to understand why/how you switched to the blogging format.

      Comment by MPG on June 23, 2016


      I love that you call this a “remedy.” It surely soothed your anxiety – and helped, along the way, many others struggling with similar issues. But did it also make it possible for you to return to the book you were working on for your promotion? That work had stalled – did it pick up? Because of the blogging? Or was the blogging, in the end, a replacement for that book?  A complete re-direction of your efforts. I think I know the answer, but I’m not sure it is here.

      Comment by MPG on June 23, 2016

      I think it would be really cool if you would try to sketch out – if only for a long paragraph – that intellectual history (mentioned after note 2) here.

      Comment by monica on June 27, 2016

      Seconding mpg here, especially given the link rot you note in the next paragraph! Can’t wait to read more.

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  • We Are Not Alone: Gossip, Advice-giving, Dissent and Virtual Colleagueship (11 comments)

    • Comment by Dorothy Potter Snyder on June 27, 2016

      Maybe “But information gathering *alone* is not research”?

      The Internet (always proper noun, capitalized).

      Why does the professional of historian “[grow] less transparent the further down the ranks one lives”? Do the un-tenured tend to respond to blog discussions or blog anonymously to avoid risk to their tenuous positions?  This seems implied but not explicit..or maybe I’m not reading well.

      I’d write “like me” instead of “like myself”.

      I’ve forgotten: When you started TR you were anonymous, right? Were your tenured then?

      I very much like the idea of anonymity as a form of power and fertile exchange. It is a way of breaking through silence by masking identities at risk, and has the feel of  networks like “Anonymous” — by which I mean that there is an inherent subversive quality to it.

      Comment by Dorothy Potter Snyder on June 27, 2016

      When you write “good”, do you mean progressive?

      Again, Internet, not internet.

      Are you going to discuss this tension between powerful and powerless more? Is there a gendered way to examine this? Just based on the blogs I read, I find women to be more participatory in these forums than men. And gay men to be more so than straight men. Am I making this up? Is this at all useful in regard to your own conclusions? In your estimation, how much of your sense of powerlessness (which, for the sake of argument, we’ll assume was based in real slights and exclusions) was about being a gay woman? Was based on being a woman?

      Comment by MPG on June 27, 2016

      I know you’re writing at something of a more abstract scale here, but I couldn’t help but think of the incredibly subversive blogs run by Ambrose Hofstadter Bierce and the gossipy one modeled on Winchell that traumatized History departments about 10 years ago (I think?). They didn’t last long, because people were afraid of being revealed and punished. These were run under a false name, but they named real numbers, feuds, names, etc.


      Comment by MPG on June 27, 2016

      I was a follower of your blog from the start, and remember when you switched over to the Chronicle, and I always remembered as being stylistically (and, in some broader sense, politically) different from Ms. Mentor, specifically. I also remember that, from the first, you had both the usual meanies commenting and a very different crew than did MM. Again, I’m thinking more granularly here, and maybe you want to keep it at this register. Still, I think it is worth it to break out a paragraph on your own work, and not put yourself at the bottom of the paragraph that behinds, “On blogs.”

      Comment by L.D. Burnett on June 28, 2016

      Claire, this is great. (And now I have something to blog about at USIH on Saturday!)  Very important to emphasize the role that informal / “off the record” discourse plays in shaping academic life — it’s as important (sometimes more important) than the “official” work.

      On the USIH blog, I believe that the “U.S.” is abbreviated in our official blog title (as well as in the name of our society) — so “U.S. Intellectual History Blog,” and (if you ever need it) “Society for U.S. Intellectual History.”  (I’m rooting around for a copy of our 501c3 papers to make sure, but I think that’s right.)

      On anonymity — it has benefits and drawbacks. A key, I think, is that anonymity is often selective. IOW, the whole wide world of the internet might know someone only by their nym, but his/her inner circle (or co-authors, or whatever) could know who is behind the nym.  It allows levels of self-disclosure & honesty and also self-protection.  At the same time, de-anonymizing allows people to network professionally, and also to speak from experience/knowledge that would be harder to gauge/evaluate if people couldn’t be sure of the author behind the nym.

      Comment by Jane on June 28, 2016

      Wasn’t blogging also about speaking in first person?

      Comment by Monica on June 29, 2016

      The isolation: exactly. I turned to Twitter in 2012-2013 because I was back on campus with a dissertation writing fellowship and most of my cohort had already graduated. I needed people! I found many of you!

      Comment by Monica on June 29, 2016

      I want to think more about this too, “research,” and anonymity. I’ve mentioned this story more than once, but a few months after graduating I was invited back to alma mater for a Grad Affairs talk on public scholarship or some such. I talked about why I used Twitter, why I joined group blogs, so on and so forth. And one of the first questions I received was something along the lines of, “so, what you’re doing seems high risk and low reward.” Risky, especially because I was using my real name and affiliations. And all I could say was, “you’re getting a PhD! what’s more high risk, low reward than that?!” All of which is to say, the mentoring happening outside of the bounds of the internet, at institutions like mine, perhaps fears this transparency? And still doesn’t quite know why junior scholars might embrace it.

      Comment by Monica on June 29, 2016

      re: TR as virtual mentor — now you’re just making me nostalgic: I remember bookmarking and re-reading those posts on dressing for conferences & interviews. I hope somewhere you’ll meditate on what it meant to move and end Tenured Radical, and the choice to archive what’s still around.

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  • Digital History Skeptics and the Questions They Ask (6 comments)

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  • Why Are Historians Slow Adopters? (5 comments)

    • Comment by Janet Golden on June 29, 2016

      I think you are correct about historians being slow adopters.  One result is that historians who are scared of new media and of digital communication make sure that departments do not hire people who have these skills.  Our students suffer or they gravitate to departments with digital offerings. Maybe the decline in history enrollments and the movement of lines to other departments will be the wake up call.

      […] I am adamantly opposed to the idea that shrinking the production of Ph.D.s is good for history as a …. […]

      Comment by Leslie Bary on June 30, 2016

      [I am adamantly opposed to the idea that shrinking the production of Ph.D.’s is good for history as a professional endeavor]

      I am so glad someone is saying this.

      Comment by Ellie on June 30, 2016

      Poe’s book is interesting in many respects, but I have some trouble with the idea that not fixing things that aren’t broken is “conservative.” Isn’t it just common sense to focus one’s time, energy, and effort on developing and learning tools that we actually need, as opposed to ones that might–or might not–become useful? Or, dare I say it, efficient?

      But there is a bigger, cultural history-type problem in this paragraph. The formulation assumes that tools are *applied* to extrinsic needs, rather than creating them. One could argue that a technology like email did not actually meet a need that manifested itself, but that the development of the technological tool *gave rise* to the need for itself.

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