Lowering the Stakes with Online Writing: A Case Study [GradHacker]

Lowering the Stakes with Online Writing: A Case Study [GradHacker]

In my latest post, I walk you through how I solved a pedagogical problem using a digital tool… I have written several posts on digital literacy and pedagogy for GradHacker, many of which suggest ways to incorporate digital components into undergraduate courses. The overarching theme to all of my advice is simple: start with clearly articulated learning goals, and then find the right digital tools to achieve them. Not only does this help you focus on the learning objectives instead…

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Three Books that Changed my Dissertation [GradHacker]

Three Books that Changed my Dissertation [GradHacker]

In this month’s post on GradHacker, I discuss Stephen King, Anne Lamott, and… Julia Child!?! Writing is hard. It can be isolating, messy, frustrating, mentally taxing, and a constant exercise in self-discipline. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either riding a great wave of creative productivity (which will eventually recede) or is trying to sell you something (like a new irreplaceable productivity tool). Occasionally though, when you are able to perfectly express yourself on the page and block out your…

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On Congressman George Brown’s Papers and Completed Projects

On Congressman George Brown’s Papers and Completed Projects

Finally, after two years of hard work, an email arrived from my former supervisor, Jessica Geiser, telling me that the Congressman George Brown Papers were done! They were processed and posted online for the whole world to see! Fantastic news, and, yet, it made me a little sad, a little teary-eyed. Large projects, ones that take years to come together and require meticulous planning, are hard to leave behind. They train your brain to always be solving problems, thinking simultaneously…

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Imaging Catherine: Collecting on Behalf of the Empire

Imaging Catherine: Collecting on Behalf of the Empire

Our journey today does not begin with Catherine, but with a German merchant–Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky (1710-1775), a man described as “a gallant German, stupid, comely, cordial.” Although he made his fortune selling desirable trinkets and dealing art to wealthy noblemen, Gotzkowsky decided to buy a porcelain factory during the economic turmoil that followed the Seven Years’ War. Sadly for him the regional economy remained unstable, and, despite luring many gifted artisans to his factory, he had difficulty remaining solvent. When…

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Reining in Your Metadata with Help from an Archivist [GradHacker]

Reining in Your Metadata with Help from an Archivist [GradHacker]

Now up on GradHacker, a little advice for effectively employing metadata to bolster your research: Every book we read, every source we mine, and every number we collect has a history, has a life that precedes us and will continue long after we are gone. It is easy to forget this when we are frantically collecting materials for our dissertation. This legacy is rich but, in the hustle-and-bustle of research trips, exam prep, and writing, it is often neglected or…

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The Hubris Syndrome; or, How Jealousy and Self-Aggrandizement Can Derail Your Graduate Studies [GradHacker]

The Hubris Syndrome; or, How Jealousy and Self-Aggrandizement Can Derail Your Graduate Studies [GradHacker]

Here is a little pre-view of my latest GradHacker post: In her book, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott wants her readers to understand that writing is physically and emotionally difficult work. She says that sitting down to write, every time,  it is like putting on a pair of earphones. The left earphone plays a constant stream of “rap songs of self-loathing,” a radio station devoted to her self-doubt and inadequacies. In the other ear, she writes, “[comes] the endless stream…

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Imaging Catherine: The Spector of a Sexmonster

Imaging Catherine: The Spector of a Sexmonster

A German magazine last week ran the headline, “Ist Donald Trump ein Sexmonster?” (“Is Donald Trump a Sexmonster?”). Although most compound nouns in German are unintelligible to English speakers, the meaning of Sexmonster is humorously evident, and, as a result, the headline went viral. This attention merited a fun article in Slate, which, in addition to highlighting some amazing German words (like Schlammschlacht), briefly touched upon the seriousness of calling someone a name in German. The author points out that “when they…

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Thinker’s Block: Play Your Way Out of a Dissertation Rut [GradHacker]

Thinker’s Block: Play Your Way Out of a Dissertation Rut [GradHacker]

From this month’s GradHacker blog post: “There is no earthly way of knowing,” muses Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, “in which direction we are going. Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is a hurricane a blowing?” While hurling through the darkness with ever-quickening images streaking across the walls of the tunnel, Wonka’s voice reaches a fevered pitch, something bordering on terror and ecstasy. “YES!” he shouts. “The danger must be growing for the rowers…

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