Collaborative Teaching, Writing, and Research in Medieval and Early Modern Women’s History

AHA Session 172
Saturday, January 6, 2018: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Congressional Room B (Omni Shoreham, West Lobby)
Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Teaching the Medieval and Early Modern History of China and Iran
Sholeh Quinn, University of California, Merced; Ruth Mostern, University of Pittsburgh
Digging through the Archives Together: Collaborative Research in Medieval Gender and Jewish History
Dana Wessell Lightfoot, University of Northern British Columbia; Alexandra Guerson, University of Toronto
Two Heads Are Better Than One: Collaborative Writing in Early Modern Women’s History
Allyson M. Poska, University of Mary Washington; Susan D. Amussen, University of California, Merced

Session Abstract

In comparison to other disciplines, history has been slow to engage in collaborative work. Indeed, at the AHA in 2017, scholars debated whether or not collaboration was worth the risk it entailed, highlighting the negative impact that collaborative projects could have on a person’s career in terms of promotion and the path to tenure. In this session, we will continue the conversation began in 2017 but move it in a new direction, to consider what we can gain from collaborative work in terms of academic teaching, research, and writing. While there are certain risks in terms of the potential weight given by promotion committees to collaborative work, we argue that such collaboration is essential in the historical profession. The papers included in this session explore the importance of such work from three perspectives. Dana Wessell Lightfoot and Alexandra Guerson will discuss collaborative research, specifically related to working with archival sources and how working together has allowed them to expand their analysis of such material. Allyson Poska and Susan Amussen will consider collaborative writing in their publication of two articles exploring transimperial and gendered analysis of the early modern Atlantic world. Sholeh Quinn and Ruth Mostern will discuss collaborative teaching through the development and practice of an undergraduate course on the comparative history of China and Iran from 600-1600 and the importance of such teaching practices as a means of engaging students and introducing them to comparative analysis of connected civilizations. All three papers work to demonstrate the importance of collaboration for the study of medieval and early modern history in particular, using gendered, feminist, and comparative frameworks as a means of expanding our understanding of the past as well as developing important connections amongst scholars.
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