Horizons: H-Net Newsletter, 3:2

Volume 3 Number 2  August 2016Horizons: H-Net Newsletter Archive


This summer, H-Net focused on editor education. Editor Resources (the private editor network) has a new look and organization, and a series of summer webinars for editors provided a refresher on everything from organizing a network's front page to using new features, like calendars and timelines. And editors are not the only ones getting special treatment--the Help Desk is now easier to navigate, too, so H-Net users and subscribers can always find what they're looking for on the Commons. In previous editions of Horizons, we featured network publications like the Secessionism and Separatism Monthly. This time around, we highlight H-Slavery's Topical Guides, H-Afro-Am's Working Bibliographies, and two major digital projects from H-Kentucky and H-Russia. At the home office, we welcome our new Networks GA Jorge Felipe, Book Channel GA Jacob Jurss, and summer interns Jessica Kukla and Erik Rose, who are joining the regular home office staff this fall. And we say farewell to longtime home office clerks Hannah Slajus and Veronica Stachurski, who move on with their academic and professional careers beyond East Lansing, Caleb Owen, outgoing Book Channel GA, who moves on to a faculty position at Truman State, and Doug Priest, who has completed his PhD and moved to Albany, NY, though luckily for H-Net continues on as Content Developer and network editor. Best of luck to all!

--Yelena Kalinsky, Associate Director for Research & Publications

H-Kentucky Women Suffrage Project

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendement, H-Kentucky has launched the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project, a collaborative, crowd-sourced digital project that features an annotated map of Kentucky's "Votes for Women Trail." The trail pinpoints buildings, sites, historical markers, and monuments where woman suffrage activity took place in Kentucky before 1920, and will connect to a nation-wide Suffrage History Digital Map being developed by National Collaborative for Women's History Sites (NCWHS). More information about the project and project leaders can be found here.

Featured Staff

In this edition, we feature Caleb Owen, outgoing Assistant Editor of the H-Net Book Channel and doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Michigan State University. Caleb is defending his dissertation this summer and has accepted a faculty position in the Department of History at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. We had a chance to catch up with Caleb before he is off to Missouri.

What is your field of study, and could you tell us about your dissertation? I am a social historian of twentieth century Kenya. My dissertation looks at the environmental politics of urban parks and open spaces in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya. My research examines how urban residents' demands for recreation shaped struggles over urbanization and the physical development of cities.

What did your work at H-Net involve? During my time at H-Net I helped to oversee the launch of the Book Channel, H-Net's new announcement service. This involved the development of new features in the form of commissioned essays from academics across multiple fields and disciplines. An exciting feature of the Book Channel is the original, editorial content that highlights how trends in academic scholarship connect with society and a changing world. These essays open new ways that invite academics to consider the broader social context and relationship of scholastic trends. I also have begun aggregating online writings and essays this support this editorial mission. Finally, a large part of my work this year was helping to moderate books into their appropriate categorization.

Any other thoughts about H-Net, the digital humanities, or anything else you want to share? During my time at H-Net I have really come to value the potential for digital humanities to connect us as teachers and as scholars. Much of the work we do in professional scholarship is solitary and individualistic. I have come to admire the work of H-Net to create bridges among scholars and to create exciting projects that enhance our ability to teach and bring our own research into wider conversations.

Finally, what do you like to do outside of academia? Outside of H-Net and academic work more generally, I derive a lot of relaxation and enjoyment from cooking. This was something I picked up during my field work in Kenya, where produce, spices, and ingredients are generally cheap. I found cooking a nice way to unwind after a day of writing, editing, or research. As an Oregonian, love of outdoors is almost sacrosanct. Lansing has a beautiful river trail that my wife Ann and I enjoy very much.
We thank Caleb for his hard work commissioning and editing essays on Book Channel this year and wish him all the best in his new position!

New Features on the Commons

Collaborative efforts by network editors and H-Net staff this summer have produced a number of useful new features for networks. The World War I timeline (housed at the World War I Crossroads network) and the National Parks Service timeline (at H-Environment) are two examples of the new timelines feature. H-Kentucky's Votes for Women Trail Map (part of the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project) makes use of a brand new mapping capability. And both the Kentucky project and H-Asia's Digital Asia are crowd-sourced projects that rely on the new ability for subscribers to submit contributions (links, images, and media files) without needing special editorial priviledges on their networks. We are excited about these new tools and hope editors and subscribers who have ideas for projects that will benefit their network communities will be inspired by them.

H-Russia's OCR Bookshelf

Source: Wikipedia Commons

Another major network project unveiled this week is H-Russia's OCR Bookshelf. It contains hundreds of primary documents in the public domain that have been scanned with Optical Character Recognition to provide searchable, full-text research resources for scholars of imperial Russia. The documents were generously supplied by H-Russia subscriber Greg Afinogenov and organized and uploaded by H-Russia editor Doug Priest with logistical support from home office staff.

Guides to the Literature of Slavery and African American History

H-Slavery Topical Guides provide critical overviews of research topics in the study of slavery. Contributors submit draft guides that go through a round of revisions by the network's editorial board and then circulate on the network for subscriber feedback. The process provides close editorial support and a chance to receive crowd-sourced feedback from the H-Slavery community. The topics of completed guides include White Women in British Caribbean Plantation Societies, Manumission in the Atlantic World, Singing Slave Women in the Medieval Islamic Court, and Capitalism and Slavery in the United States, and submissions are open.

Source: Wikipedia Commons

H-Afro-Am hosts a number of working bibliographies on significant subjects and figures in African American history and culture, including the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, lynching and racial violence, John Brown, Langston Hughes, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Each bibliography allows H-Afro-Am subscribers to add suggestions.