Blogging on Borders: A Roundtable on Digital Humanities as a Tool for Dialogue at the US-Mexico Line

AHA Session 38
Thursday, January 5, 2017: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Room 401 (Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room Level)
Michael Kirkland Bess, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas
Michael Kirkland Bess, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas
Kris Klein Hernandez, University of Michigan
Lina Maria Murillo, University of Texas at El Paso
Jennifer Koshatka Seman, Southern Methodist University

Session Abstract

How can we speak within and across academic disciplines, as well as take that conversation to the public in order to link different levels of experience using technology and social media? This roundtable seeks to stimulate a discussion around this question as it relates to writing about borderlands history and the historical profession, online. Our blog, Borderlands History, began in January 2012, welcoming readers to what we hoped would become a space for lively conversation of “issues surrounding the history of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands as well as other borderlands regions.” Connecting established historians with graduate students and the larger public has been a major focus of our blog.  Leaving the sometimes hierarchical confines of academia for a more egalitarian forum, like a blog, allows for all to engage in meaningful conversations about particular scholarly interests in borderlands history and methodology.  

The Borderlands History blog has grown to include a number of young and established scholars in the field who blog on a wide variety of topics related to borders and borderlands. The website regularly produces think pieces, book reviews, interviews, conference reports, and essays related to the study and teaching of history.  In 2015, we launched new initiatives, including the Borderlands History Interview Project,  where budding graduate students have interviewed scholars including Vicki Ruiz, Ernesto Chávez, Alexandra Minna Stern, and others about their take on borderlands history, methodology, and emerging scholarship. We also developed a new series looking at European borderlands with the ambition to further reach out to scholars beyond North America. We hope to remain a dynamic space for issues related to life in border regions – issues that scale from intimate micro-histories to large transnational processes – as our founder intended. With this roundtable, we hope to share our experiences blogging about borderlands history, encourage attendees to engage in a broader conversation about what more can (and should) be done with digital humanities as a tool for historical dialogue, and to expand the scale from which we disseminate historical thought and inquiry.

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