It seems worthwhile to begin by outlining my reasons for launching this blog.
First, I hope to make this space an integral part of the research and writing of my dissertation: a place to share interesting finds from the archives, to test out new ideas before an audience (even if it’s largely a hypothetical one), and perhaps, eventually, to get feedback from colleagues and readers. As I move full-bore into the research process, I’m eager to see how this arguably less-filtered form of writing, can serve these purposes alongside more traditional forums, like conferences, colloquia, and writing groups. The idea is, as Lynn Hunt recently put it, that “writing leads to thinking.” At the state-of-the-field panel on digital history at the OAH annual meeting in April, Dan Cohen argued that Hunt’s piece was an endorsement of blogging. We’ll see if I think he’s right.
Second, I hope to use this space to explore existing interests, and discover new ones, that don’t—or don’t always—find a place in my dissertation project: U.S. politics, twentieth-century New England, gay politics and culture, digital history and humanities, and mass transit, for starters. Some of these are academic, and some are less so. Some I know quite a bit about already, but I’m a neophyte regarding others. For these purposes, my blogging will, I expect, certainly involve collating and curating relevant interesting things I find in my online journeys. But having a platform for frequent, short-form writing, will also, I hope, produce thought, reflection, and new ideas to expand on down the road.
At least at first, my modest goal is to post at least twice a week—routine, but not so frequent as to be a chore.