In May three historians calling themselves the Wild On Collective caused a minor stir with a manifesto titled “Theses on Theory and History.” Helpfully providing a please-make-me-viral hashtag (#theoryrevolt), they argued that historical scholarship was afflicted with an atavistic empiricism so damaging and corrupt that practitioners ought seriously to reconsider (or perhaps consider for the first time) the tenets of historical research and analysis. “Critical history”—or study of the past informed by critique, and critique informed by study of the past—could lead the way forward.
Editor’s Note: This piece is second in a series of two posts on collaborative historical research. The first post can be found at blog.historians.org/2017/08/when-historians-collaborate-scholarship-benefits/
By Catherine Cymone Fourshey and Christine Saidi
Between 1880 and the early 1960s, all of Africa, except Ethiopia and Liberia, was under colonial occupation by European powers. Colonial rule came with political and economic domination and contentious struggles between the colonized and colonizers over cultural and social values. Gender relations, in particular, were strikingly impacted by colonial norms and needs.
By Patrick Nugent, Erica Fugger, and Maria Betancur
Origins of the Oral History Jukebox
Patrick Nugent: The idea for the Oral History Jukebox began with a Google search: “audio examples oral history interview techniques pedagogy.” No luck.
From choosing a graduate school to selecting a dissertation topic, a history PhD is full of avenues not explored. Not all research, for instance, makes it into the final dissertation draft. It’s one thing to discard a source that just doesn’t fit. But what about a trove of sources that have the potential to alter the direction of a project entirely?
By Christine Saidi, Catherine Cymone Fourshey, and Rhonda M. Gonzales
We are three historians who’ve collaborated in a variety of ways on several historical projects over the course of seven years. In the process, our intellectual work has taken turns we never envisioned. We hope that our discussions and approaches can push us all as historians to think about what collaboration looks like in our field, the expansive kind of work it can produce, and how we might infuse worth into undervalued aspects of collaboration.
On September 28, 1833, Prince George FitzClarence, the oldest illegitimate son of King William IV of the United Kingdom, dined on soup, fish, chicken, and beef steak pie at Windsor Castle. On the same day, the housekeepers ate soup, duck, and leg of lamb, and the comptrollers had soup, mutton, and fillet of veal. Detailing the many, often meat heavy, dishes served to the Royal Family and the Royal Household from fall 1833 to spring 1835, this menu book is only one of the thousands of documents from the Royal Archives already uploaded to Georgian Papers Online as part of the Georgian Papers Programme.
By Jennifer Vannette
Historical research can be quite funny even when investigating a serious topic—there is humor to be found in documents, in people, and in the process. I study the intersection of religion and politics in the late 1940s and early 1950s, with a particular emphasis on nongovernmental organizations’ attempts to advance human and civil rights in the United States and at the newly formed United Nations. It is fascinating, to be sure, but often disheartening to examine prejudice—the early Cold War, with its racially tinged communist witch hunts, roiled with emotions including fear, frustration, and even desperation.
By Michelle M. Martin
In a neat, ornate hand Katie Edwards wrote in her diary on April 4, 1870, about the new chapter in her life that awaited her in the Indian Territory. “After a good night rest in a clean bed I rose this morning much refreshed . . . started for the Mission . . . will start with 80 pupils,” she remarked. With this simple declaration Edwards left behind the security and comfort of Ohio and entered the intricate world of the Mvskoke and Seminole peoples in the Indian Territory.