Liner Notes Vol. 1, Track 09 – Karen L. Cox

In this last official entry in the Liner Notes Vol. 1, I talk with historian Karen Cox. Check out her most recent book, No Common Ground: Confederate Monuments and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Justice, out now.

In this episode, we talk about apps and strategies for organizing archival documents, how to balance the ebb and flow of writing projects, and how to weigh requests for service. Ultimately, it’s all about the content!

Liner Notes Vol. 1, Track 08 – Austin McCoy

Historian Austin McCoy discusses the best music for work, how he incorporates reading into his workflow and research process, and we discuss the various frameworks for thinking, creating new arguments, and writing. Listen in to take an expansive view of the writing process, and for some good musical recommendations.

Albums and artists mentioned in this episode:

Liner Notes Vol. 1, Track 07 – Ellie Shermer

For anyone looking for some strategies regarding color coding, time blocking, and incorporating digital tools, this is the episode for you!

Historian Ellie Shermer, author of Sunbelt Capitalism: Phoenix and the Transformation of American Politics and a forthcoming history of the student loan industry and policy, discusses her time management strategies for balancing teaching, research and writing, and all the stuff of life.

I had to use a bit of a different editing tool for this episode, so it is split screen the whole time. I hope it works out!

Another Radical Restructuring of the U.S. Survey

As I was thinking about how much Charles W. McKinney, Jr.,’s keyword essay on “Riot” (in Edwards, Erica R., Roderick A. Ferguson, and Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar, eds. Keywords for African American Studies. New York: NYU Press, 2018. doi:10.2307/j.ctvwrm5v9) resonated with students, I began brainstorming another new way to teach the US survey (again).

What if I organized each week around a “keyword” in history, and students built a construction of the term over time. This approach would particularly translate well to a hybrid format, I’m thinking.

It could go something like this: each week there is a keyword — we could start the semester with the “riot” essay as an example of what we would create each week. Examples could include: freedom, consumption, work, policing…

Then, in each class session, students would pair up and be assigned a chapter from a textbook, perhaps American Yawp. They would work together to gut the chapter and its contents for material that would help explain the week’s term for that era. For example, if the week’s word were policing: students looking at chapter 15 might explore issues of convict leasing; those looking at chapter 16 would explore how strikers encountered force, those looking at American imperialism might think about the concept of “policing” the Western Hemisphere and beyond, or they could examine the origins of modern police forces in the Progressive Era in chapter 20 (or in the chapter on urbanization).

The class would build an outline in a Google document, perhaps, providing an overview of the term’s various meaning across historical contexts. Then as a class we could write a reflective thesis.

Writing assignments could include an article review or primary source exploration of the term — an article review would allow them to go in depth into the nuance and complexity of application in a particular moment. These could be added to the document as an aside or cutout.

A final exam could have them assess the question of periodization. At our university, we have upper level electives that divide the century into the classic eras: 1877–1920; 1920–1945; 1945–1968; 1968–present. In their final assignment, the could propose core themes for an era drawn from the keywords, or they could propose a different periodization based on three of the keywords developed in the class discussions.

Liner Notes Vol. 1, Track 4 – Joe Adelman

This week’s track is with Joseph Adelman, a historian at Framingham State University and author of Revolutionary Networks: The Business and Politics of Printing the News, 1763–1789.

We discuss our favorite pens (with a strong showing from the No. 2 pencil, this week), organizing space and time with kids at home during the pandemic, and Joe’s picks for to-do management software Workflowy, as well as the “flexibility” trap. We also discuss how we are only *just now*, if at all, figuring out how to organize time with three kids, two of whom are having most of their schooling take place at home.

Liner Notes Vol. 1, Track 3 – Eladio Bobadilla

This episode gets deep! Not only do we discuss the importance of having a range of pens, and in particular the magic of the Pilot Friction Erasable pens, (they even come in MARKERS), we also get into how pens reflect the development of our voices as writers.

There is so much to think about after this episode. It’s been a few weeks since we recorded it, and I still think about it!

Check out the episode here:

Liner Notes Vol. 1, Track 2 – Hilary Green

This week, we talk with historian Hilary Green, whose social media posts about writing, research, reading, and process are so inspiring. In addition to her many publications, she has also has captured research about race, slavery, and memory at the University of Alabama in the Hallowed Grounds project. Her book, Educational Reconstruction: African American Schools in the Urban South, 1865–1890, is available from Fordham University Press.

In this episode, we talk about purple pens, an ingenious way to keep track of books loaned, how notes can form a personal intellectual history of each book, and spaces for writing, editing, and reading. And, if you listen carefully, Rutherford B. Hayes the cat makes a contribution!

Be sure to check out her posts from her research for Black History Month, under the tags #slaveryua and/or #BlackHistoryMonth2021.

Her posts feature details about people enslaved at the University of Alabama, and she offers photographs, archival documents, architectural details and more. Posts follow the documentary trail and biographies of a number of individuals.

Liner Notes Vol. 1: Track 1 – Megan Kate Nelson

In this first episode of Liner Notes, we talk with author and historian Megan Kate Nelson.

We discuss the merits of the blue BIC Cristal pen and florescent yellow Sharpie highlighter, writing during a pandemic, and the personalized process of finding one’s writing structures and routines.

Trounce, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the show, we make reference to John Hughes’ films of the 1980s and our reinterpretation of them. For more, here is an essay by actor Molly Ringwald that goes into more depth on this. But that scene with the Bic pen remains embedded in my memory!

Megan also discusses essays by writer John McPhee on structures and outlines, which you can peruse here and here.

And I am verrrrry new to video editing, so bear with me through any learning curves.

Watch the episode on YouTube or listen to the audio version.

Recorded on January 19, 2021, using riverside.fm.

Music composed with Citizen DJ from the Library of Congress. Contains samples of “Kitten on the keys” by Confrey, Zez, 1895-1971.. Retrieved from Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division.