This is the second in a series of three posts from the participants in the session “Say It Like You Mean It: Graduate Education and Creative Expression in Thinking, Making, and Doing History” held at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association. The intent of our session was to take a deep and discerning look at the ways in which History Ph.D. programs prepare their students for a radically-changed job landscape. As you’ll see in these posts, we take a critical stance towards the status quo, and argue that graduate programs in particular, and the historical profession in general, need to fundamentally re-think the ways in which they train the next generation of professional historians.
For part one of this series, click HERE.
Cody J. Foster is a Historian and Presidential Fellow at the University of Kentucky where he specializes in U.S. foreign relations and American political history. He has been featured in the USA Today, New York Times, and Courier-Journal, and has written articles for Huffington Post, History News Network, and the Lexington-Herald Leader. You can follow him on Twitter at @codyjfoster or check out his site at www.codyjfoster.com. And be sure to check out the Long Story Short podcast!
Graduate education has been limited to three interrelated constraints placed upon the candidate by the department: (1) the needs of the department, (2) limited departmental funding, and (3) both a rapid and unvaried path toward the professorate. Continue reading “Guest Post: Cody Foster, “The Key To Enhancing Your Graduate Experience? Take Risks.” [#AHA276]”
This is the first in a series of three posts from the participants in the session “Say It Like You Mean It: Graduate Education and Creative Expression in Thinking, Making, and Doing History” held at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association. The intent of our session was to take a deep and discerning look at the ways in which History Ph.D. programs prepare their students for a radically-changed job landscape. As you’ll see in these posts, we take a critical stance towards the status quo, and argue that graduate programs in particular, and the historical profession in general, need to fundamentally re-think the ways in which they train the next generation of professional historians.
Eric Gonzaba is a PhD candidate in American history at George Mason University. His research interests revolve around the cultural politics of race and gender in late 20th century America, particularly 1970s/1980s African American and queer nightlife. Eric is the creator of Wearing Gay History, an award-winning online digital archive and museum which explores the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities through t-shirts. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Rainbow History Project, which collects and preserves LGBT history in metropolitan Washington DC. He also is a regular contributor to OutHistory, a site and blog dedicated to uncovering the queer past.
Eric is currently working on his dissertation, “Because the Night: Nightlife and Remaking the Gay Male World, 1970-2000,” which examines resistance to racial discrimination at gay nightlife in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter at @Egonzaba
My fellow panelists Kevin Gannon and Cody Foster did an incredible job outlining various concerns I share regarding the current state of graduate education. I had the opportunity to speak to one aspect of my graduate experience that has shaped how I go about thinking and doing history in the future, a “side” project that turned out to be foundational to my work as a doctoral student. Continue reading “Guest Post: Eric Gonzaba, “Centering the Side Project” [#AHA276]”
The American Revolution embodied, despite the misgivings of many of its leaders, some profoundly radical ideas. Rebelling against the world’s most powerful monarchy and replacing its authority with a clutch of homegrown republican governments (of varying effectiveness) was as fundamental a political change as one could imagine in the 1770s and early 1780s. It’s hard to see that from our contemporary vantage point, however; looking backwards through the French and–especially–the Haitian Revolutions, the revolution that created the United States looks tentative, even skittish, by comparison. Yet it’s also evident that the American Revolution and its early republican aftermath fell far short of fulfilling the truly radical potential inherent within the process of declaring independence from Britain and establishing a republic in place of an imperial sovereignty. Most glaringly, the revolutionary rhetoric of liberty and equality was notable more for who it excluded in practice–women, indigenous Americans, people of color both enslaved and free–than anything else.
And yet. Continue reading “Some Thoughts on the Electoral College”
Making the rounds on Twitter today was a letter from the University of Chicago (more specifically, the Dean of Students) to the incoming students of the Class of 2020 with the purpose, I guess, of letting them know they were in for a real education. More of a full-on broadside than a welcome letter, the dean let the incoming students know in no uncertain terms, that the University is totally committed to academic freedom and “freedom of expression” from its faculty and students.
What this means in practice, the letter continues, is that “we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.” And, if you’ve watched students at other campuses, the Dean warns, don’t get any crazy ideas about protesting invited speakers: “we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial.” And, for the love of Milton Friedman, “Our commitment to academic freedom means we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings.’” WE ARE A MIGHTY RACE OF INTELLECTUAL WARRIORS. Continue reading “Trigger Warning: Elitism, Gatekeeping, and Other Academic Crap”
Earlier today, a robust debate emerged around an article in the “Academics Anonymous” section of The Guardian‘s “Higher Education Network” and its sweeping denunciation of social media in academe. With the charming title “I’m a Serious Academic, Not a Professional Instagrammer,” the author takes pains to tell us they are a PhD student and not “some cranky old professor harking back to the Good Old Days” before deploying every trope in the cranky old professor playbook. Lament the current “selfie culture?” Check. Decry people “too busy checking their phones to look up and appreciate their surroundings?” Check. Complain about people tweeting at conferences rather than honoring the speaker with their full attention? Check. Repeated earnest declarations of “seriousness?” Oh, boy, you got it. I AM A SERIOUS PERSON DOING SERIOUS THINGS. SMART THINGS. TOO SMART FOR YOUR INSTAGRAM FRIVOLITIES. Continue reading “I’ve Got a Serious Problem with “Serious Academics.””
Every summer, I take time to reflect on the academic year that was. The classes I taught, the workshops I either facilitated or attended, what I learned from failures and successes in and out of the classroom–when it comes to my teaching, I try to be a critically reflective practitioner. Directing a teaching center on my campus gives me a chance to also ground that reflection in the larger discourse about teaching and learning in higher education. Continue reading “Radical Hope: A Teaching Manifesto”