Thursday, 13 November 2014

Live Tweeting Academic Conferences

Today is the start of the Southern Historical Association Annual Meeting, one of my favorite academic conferences. Alas, I will not be attending. However, I will be trying to follow the conference on Twitter. It appears that about a half dozen folks are promising to live tweet the conference (#sha2014 -- the hashtag appears to have been previously used for a music awards show in Singapore).

Obviously, much of what goes on at an academic conference won't make it's way to Twitter or some other online venue. Much of the value of going to these conferences happens away from the actual presentations -- at the vendor hall, at the receptions, etc. However, if anyone wants to live tweet the conversations at the hotel bar, I'm sure that would make interesting reading.

I'm curious about the value of live tweeting, both for the person doing the tweeting and those reading the tweets. Will I learn more about what's happening at the SHA by looking at Twitter than I would by simply looking at the conference program? Is live tweeting a conference a glorified version of public note taking?

I'm curious about what others think. If you live tweet academic events, why? Do you try to reproduce the speaker's arguments in tweet form or do you see tweeting as a form of commentary and analysis of the paper in real time? If you read tweets of academic conferences, what do you hope to get out of it?


Because #sha2014 has already been used for other events (see above), the SHA is encouraging folks to use #2014sha.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

American History Untucked 013 -- Seth Kotch

My guest for this episode is Dr. Seth Kotch. Seth was a classmate of mine in graduate school and is now the Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities in the American Studies Department at UNC-Chapel Hill, a post has recently taken after a lengthy tenure as the Digital Projects Director at the Southern Oral History Program.

This is kind of a short episode, as both Seth and I are in the heart of the fall semester and time was at something of a premium. We didn't get a chance to talk in depth about all of the interesting work Seth has done over the past few years. Here's a sampling:
Seth has also done some excellent work on the death penalty in North Carolina. His book on the subject should be out in the next couple of years.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

American History Untucked 012 -- David Trowbridge

My guest for this episode is David Trowbridge, who teaches at Marshall University. He is the creator of the Clio app that uses GPS technology to direct users to historic sites and provides information about the site that you can consume on the go. It's open source, so users can add content about historic sites in their area. Adding content would be a great project for high school or college students. Here's a promo video about Clio:

Trowbridge is also the author of A History of the United States and participated in a recent JAH roundtable on the current state of textbooks. Here's our conversation:

Monday, 22 September 2014

American History Untucked 011 -- Anne Sarah Rubin

This is my first show of the new academic year and I was very pleased that Anne Sarah Rubin agreed to come on to talk about her new book on Sherman's March, Through the Heart of Dixie. We also got a chance to talk about the digital project that she had created to accompany the book, and about digital history more broadly, including her work with the Valley of the Shadow project.

Unfortunately, the audio quality of the interview isn't great. I don't know whether the problem was with our skype connection or my recording software or my own incompetence (I'm betting on the last option). Anyway, I tried to clean it up as much as I could. It's still a great conversation, even if the audio leaves a lot to be desired.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Summer Hiatus

I'm spending the summer researching in the United States, and am going take the time off from American History Untucked. I can assure you that you'll have a full season of American History Untucked in the fall.

One way you can support the show is by buying the books of the people I've had as guests. Selling academic books is a difficult task: the royalties are low (if they exist at all), the print runs are small, and book stores are hesitant to carry books they think are *too academic*.

Megan Kate Nelson
Ruin Nation

Rachel Hope Cleves
Charity & Slyvia
The Reign of Terror in America

Lil Fenn
Pox Americana
Encounters at the Heart of the World

Chris Cameron
The Many Lives of Chris Cameron
To Plead Our Own Cause

Scott Reynolds Nelson
Steel Drivin' Man
A Nation of Deadbeats
Iron Confederacies

Donald Shaffer
After the Glory

Bringing God to Men

Many of my guests from last season also have websites or blogs worth checking out:

Megan Kate Nelson

Donald Shaffer
Civil War Emancipation

Rebecca Onion
Vault Blog

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

American History Untucked 010 -- Rachel Hope Cleves

My guest this week is Rachel Hope Cleves, author of The Reign of Terror in America and Charity & Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America. We talk about some events in her life that prompted her interest in the history of American violence, about LGBT history, and about her current research in Paris.

Subscribe the show on iTunes and Stitcher. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter for updates on upcoming shows.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

American History Untucked 009 -- Rebecca Onion

My guest this week is Rebecca Onion, author of Slate's The Vault blog and historian of childhood and science.

For those of you who haven't looked at The Vault, here are some of my favorite gems (the latter two of which we discuss in the show):
Here's her article on history on Twitter:
Snapshots of History

Monday, 2 June 2014

American History Untucked 008 -- Lil Fenn

My guest this week is Elizabeth (Lil) Fenn, Associate Professor of History at the University of Colorado - Boulder. We discussed her 2001 book Pox Americana and her new history of the Mandan Indians, Encounters at the Heart of the World. We also discussed her career as an auto mechanic during a hiatus in her academic career.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

American History Untucked 006 -- Cathy Wright

My guest for this show is Cathy Wright, the curator of the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia. We talk about what a curator does, the MOC upcoming merger with the American Civil War Museum, and about her favorite artifact in the collection.

You can listen to our conversation here.

Monday, 12 May 2014

American History Untucked 5 -- Scott Reynolds Nelson

My guest for this show is Scott Reynolds Nelson, author of A Nation of Deadbeats, Steel Drivin' Man, and Iron Confederacies. We talk about the influence his father had on his research, how his approach to writing and research has changed over the years, and about meeting Bruce Springsteen.

You can listen to show here.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Upcoming Shows

I got a bunch of shows scheduled that I'm very excited about:
I've also got a few other folks that have agreed to be on the show that I'm in the process of scheduling.

Stay tuned.

Friday, 25 April 2014

American History Untucked 003 -- Jackie Whitt

My guest for this episode is my dear friend from grad school, Jackie Whitt. She has recently published Bringing God to Men: American Military Chaplains and the Vietnam War. There's a wonderful bit a few minutes in when her cat, General Sherman, attacks something in the next room.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

American History Untucked 002 -- Megan Kate Nelson

My guest for this episode is Megan Kate Nelson, author of Ruin Nation and Trembling Earth. If you can't tell from our conversation, I really admire Megan's work. We talk about her research, ruins, and some interesting plans she has for the future.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

OAH 2014

I didn't make it to the OAH this year, having decided to eschew trans-Atlantic travel during my first year at Edinburgh. The History News Network had a good round up.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Upcoming Shows

We've got a couple of shows coming up later this week that I'm very excited about.

The first is with Megan Kate Nelson of Brown University, author of Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War (UGA Press).

The second is with Jackie Whitt of the Air War College, author of Bringing God to Men: American Army Chaplains and the Vietnam War (UNC Press).

We're recording the shows at the end of this week and (hopefully) will have them up on iTunes sometime over the weekend.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A New Logo

I decided I didn't like the way the logo showed up on iTunes, so I made a new one. Any better?

Friday, 28 March 2014

About the Host

American History Untucked is hosted by David Silkenat (me).

I'm a lecturer (UK equivalent of an assistant professor) at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. I teach classes on 19th century American History, focusing on the American South, slavery, and the Civil War.

Prior to teaching at the University of Edinburgh, I taught for five years at North Dakota State University. I received my Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and my undergraduate degree from Duke.  After college and before graduate school, I spent 4 years teaching at Jacksonville Episcopal High School.

I'm probably best known in academic circles for a book I published with UNC Press in 2011 called Moments of Despair: Suicide, Divorce, and Debt in Civil War Era North Carolina, which won the North Caroliniana Society award for the best non-fiction book published that year. It recently came out in paperback, so buy a copy -- it's not as depressing as the title suggests.

Welcome to American History Untucked

This blog is the companion site for the American History Untucked podcast.

The show is a conversation about and by American history and American historians. It’s not really an interview show – it’s a conversation:  casual, personal, informal, spontaneous. It’s about history, but it’s also about the historian’s background, their experiences, what they’ve learned doing history. It’s about time in the archives, about the writing process, about teaching, doing public history, engaging with all different kinds of audiences. It’s about American historians broadly defined – mostly academic historians, but also archivists, public historians, documentary film makers, and historians outside the ivory tower. It’s about what makes history interesting to us and how we try to share that with our readers, students, and other audiences. 

We're hoping to have our first few episodes up by mid-April 2014. Stay tuned.