Two Heads Are Better Than One: Collaborative Writing in Early Modern Women’s History

Saturday, January 6, 2018: 9:10 AM
Congressional Room B (Omni Shoreham)
Allyson M. Poska, University of Mary Washington
Susan D. Amussen, University of California, Merced
In a session at AHA 2017 “Is Collaboration Worth it?” the participants noted that historical profession remains skeptical of the desirability of scholars working together; however, the move towards global and transnational history has only accentuated the need for collaboration. Indeed, the global perspective of the AHA 2018 conference theme, “Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism in Global Perspective” itself serves as a call for collaborative work. As we attempt to move beyond the traditional constraints of nation-state focused histories, particularly in the premodern period, few of us have the broad range of knowledge, let alone the linguistic abilities to both research in and write about diverse contexts around the world. Fortunately, collaboration has long been a hallmark of feminist scholarship and in the past few years, Susan Amussen and Allyson Poska have taken advantage of the emphasis on collaborative and transnational work in early modern women’s history to produce two articles that appeared in peer-reviewed journals. In the process we have formulated a gendered, transimperial perspective on the early modern Atlantic world. Both our research and our intellectual strengths are complementary, enabling us to move beyond what Ann Stoler called the “parallel play” that has marked much comparative scholarship. In this presentation, we will discuss the challenges and the opportunities that our collaboration has presented, consider the ways that early modern Atlantic women’s history is a natural setting for such collaborations, and explore the ways that such collaborations both enrich us as scholars and expand the field in new and exciting directions.

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