Author Archives: Stephanie Kingsley

About Stephanie Kingsley

Stephanie received her MA in English from the University of Virginia, where she specialized in 19th-century American literature, book history, textual studies, and digital humanities. Special interests include the physical book, preservation of the material and digital record, digital scholarly editing, and music history. In her spare time, Stephanie plays the violin in a local symphony.

Chronicling “America’s African Instrument”: Laurent Dubois on the Cultural History of the Banjo

In The Banjo: America’s African Instrument (Harvard Univ. Press, 2016), Laurent Dubois weaves a narrative of how this instrument was created by enslaved Africans in the midst of bondage in the Caribbean and Americas. He documents its journey from 17th- and 18th-century plantations to 19th-century minstrel shows to the bluegrass of Appalachia to the folk revival of the mid-20th century. In the process, Dubois documents how the banjo came to symbolize community, slavery, resistance, and ultimately America itself. A historian of the Caribbean and a banjo player himself, Dubois relied on the work of academic historians as well as insights from musicians, collectors, and banjo makers to tell this story.

Tweeting at the Annual Meeting: Results from the AHA17 History Hashtags Drive

Following the 2016 annual meeting in Atlanta, I argued in Perspectives that historians should try and engage in tweeting strategically in order to network most effectively at the meeting. Strategic tweeting includes, among other things, targeting tweets by using the appropriate hashtags. With so many different hashtags for the same subject fluttering about, however, how can historians with common interests reach one another?

Scholarship at the Speed of Light: Diving into Lightning Rounds at AHA17

Historians are used to delivering their research in the form of thoroughly expounded articles, papers, or books. The 20-minute talk had long been the standard conference format. In recent years, however, enthusiasm for a much more abbreviated form—the lighting round—has grown. In this format, presenters take the stage for 1, 3, perhaps 5 minutes each, to summarize their research or projects. Akin to the elevator pitch, this presentation format challenges scholars to delineate the highlights of their work and explain its importance in a very brief span of time.

Announcing the #AHA17 History Hashtag Drive!

Twitter is brewing with excitement these days in anticipation of the AHA’s 131st annual meeting! Already, enthusiastic presenters and attendees are tweeting about their sessions to the hashtag #aha17. (As with last year, please help spread the word that, since A-ha stole #aha2016, we’re now using the shortened version.)

Archiving the Internet: How Historians Can Help #SaveTheWeb

Imagine you’re a historian of the 21st century living and working in the 23rd century. You have an archive containing millions of documents related to an event (say, the Arab Spring), but you cannot read them—all you see is a number. It’s the ID number of a tweet, but only the number was saved, and the code no longer exists to display the content.

Banjos in Baltimore: Using Music to Tell History

In the October 2015 issue of Perspectives on History, I wrote on historically informed performance of medieval, Renaissance, and baroque music. Musicians at the Folger and Newberry Consorts spoke to me about how history informed their music, and in turn how music could help transport listeners to a different time.

At the National Council on Public History annual meeting in Baltimore last month, I once again found myself at the intersection of music and history at a workshop called “Banjos in the Museum: Music as Public History.” Organized by the Stevenson University public history program, this workshop featured archivist and musicologist Greg Adams and instrumentalists Ken and Brad Kolodner.

2016 AHA Annual Meeting

Attending the Meeting from Afar: A Few Notes for AHA16 Social Media

We will be meeting in Atlanta January 7-10 for four days of intellectual enlightenment and discussion on the historical profession. In addition to the enriching conversations historians will have in person, social media offers another way to learn about opportunities at the meeting and trade ideas. 

2016 AHA Annual Meeting

Textual Studies and Book History at the AHA Annual Meeting

Historians often rely on the written record to reconstruct the past. Documents, printed books, and other artifacts all provide historians with the information they need to understand another time period. But what about the records themselves?