Digital Say It Like You Mean It: Graduate Education and Creative Expression in Thinking, Making, and Doing History

AHA Session 276
Saturday, January 7, 2017: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Room 605 (Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room Level)
Kevin M. Gannon, Grand View University
Wearing Gay History
Eric Nolan Gonzaba, George Mason University
Long Story Short: A Brief History of History
Cody J Foster, University of Kentucky; Dara Vance, University of Kentucky
Tatted Waves and Laced Strength
Dara Vance, University of Kentucky
The Audience

Session Abstract

In 2017 the scale of the academic jobs crunch appears to be growing exponentially, almost to the point of crisis.   Preparing graduate students for careers in History in the 21stcentury is complicated.  Being smart, passing qualifying exams, and writing an innovative dissertation does not differentiate a newly minted PhD from other PhDs vying for limited academic jobs.  In order to be a viable job candidate, graduate students need concrete and intangible skills that can be utilized in a wide variety of academic, public history, archival, and research positions.  Yet, the most efficacious and long-term solutions will not be found in continuing to think about history and historians like we always have. 

            The session panel is creative collective of graduate students Cody Foster, Eric Gonzalez, and Dara Vance, and Dr. Kevin Gannon.  These four scholars met via Twitter, where they produce research, create exhibitions, and experiment with the boundaries of making history.  Project Ed’s session is an opportunity to experience the value of creative expression in researching, writing, and producing history that is engaging and thoughtful to a wide audience. 

The session will first introduce participants to the social media components through which session components will be distributed.  This includes twitter feed, goggle docs, and web sites.  Participants will then explore three projects that synthesize research, expression, and professional practices into a digital presentation format.  The session will conclude with a 30-minute session in which participants and presenters discuss challenges and opportunities for 21st century graduate student education.  A central theme that weaves the three projects together is the performative aspect of producing and digesting historic research.   The session places emphasis on the need to engage history as a verb in order to broaden the scope and scale of inquiry and the methods of expression.    Scale in the historic profession can be approached literally, quantitatively, and conceptually.  Scale is, at its essence, proportional relationships and comparisons.  The session presenters believe scale, in the 21st century, must include an examination of the relationships between traditional research in proportion to creative expression, and academic comfort in proportion to risk-taking.  In what way can the elements and principles that drive research and decision-making in the performing, visual, and design arts also drive the inquiry and publication process of history in the 21st century?

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