Thoughts on the job season – a few years on

A few years ago, I cataloged my experience on the job market as a (then) (relatively) recent history Ph.D.  Now, more than two years later, I thought I’d update it slightly. This is meant neither as a suggestion that ending up with a job means that I unlocked arcane job market secrets, nor as an intimation that being attentive to my luck means that I can wash my hands of the structural power I now…

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Learning to Think Like Joe Lee

In the spring of 1847, the First African Baptist Church in Richmond Virginia raised twenty six dollars and thirty four cents to aid “the suffering of Ireland.” That amount is worth about eight hundred dollars today – an impressive sum for a one-time collection by a congregation.  But the donation is even more notable, I think, because the congregation was predominantly comprised of enslaved people. So, in the midst of the Irish famine, but also…

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Grappling with Revisions

I am working on several sets of revisions at the moment, and find (this might just be me) that the process of dealing with many different reviewer comments sends me into an anxious spiral that makes doing work of any kind difficult.  In these moments, I feel like the executive function part of my brain is shut off – which is a problem because it is precisely the part that I need to make sense…

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Hurricane history

As I am writing, hurricane Harvey is still happening.  At the moment (the evening of August 27th, 2017) it seems poised to swing out into the Gulf, pick up energy, and swing back to deluge inland Texas again (as an aside, I saw someone on twitter claim that Hurricanes are powered by cold, therefore climate change is “not a thing.”  Hurricanes get their power from warm, moist air, often found over oceans.  NASA has a…

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What do we do about archival violence? (#DH2017 talk)

I’m in the process (after the book manuscript is submitted!) of revising this into a more formal paper.  But in the meantime I wanted to put it out in the world.  (The slide deck is here: http://bit.ly/humanizing_data) Also, this includes the story that I didn’t have time to tell.  Again.  Some day I will give this talk and get to the story. Data is fraught with peril. I want to do two things today. The…

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A few thoughts at the start of the job season

I was cleaning up my desktop recently, and stumbled upon my ‘jobs’ folder.  Since new jobs are just beginning to appear, I thought I’d share a few things: I was seriously on the market for five years. The first time was in 2010.  I applied for seven jobs. I think I had two dissertation chapters written.  I had one campus visit. My committee was divided about whether it was better to defend with no job…

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Open(ish) letter to the University of Chicago

This morning, I received an alumni survey from my alma mater, the University of Chicago.  At the end, there was a section for extended comment.  Since I indicated in the survey that I highly valued my education, the connections I made, and the mission of the institution, but that I had no plans to give in the future, I thought I should explain myself.  Here’s what I wrote: I used to donate to the University…

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Diagnostic tools – or – the pretty visualization is not the end

As the semester and my first graduate digital history class wind down, I’ve been thinking a lot about building DH things for investigation vs. argument.  There’s a lot of good work on tools-as-theory, and whether a digital thing can be a satisfying argument, and an upcoming conference on argumentation in the digital humanities – so I’m not the only one. I also just finished writing 1-2 pages – maybe 1,000 words – based on a…

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