Upcoming Talk: A Recipe for Success: Engaged Scholarship and The Utility of Websites to Challenge Divisions between Academic and Public History

Our editor will be speaking at the 2017 Women's History in the Digital World Conference, held at Ireland's Maynooth University on July 6-7th, 2017. Over the past few years, there has been a lot of chatter within the humanities, especially in the Faculty of Arts at McGill University, about  promoting digital humanities methodologies and also about the value of the humanities both inside and outside of the university. Ketchum's paper, "A Recipe for Success: Engaged Scholarship and The Utility of Websites to Challenge Divisions between Academic and Public History" engages with both of these topics. The intellectual focus of the conference is "exploring the range of methodologies in the landscape of digital humanities as used by scholars creating women’s history in digital formats," which has been a continual point of interest in this blog.

Let me (Alex Ketchum) know if you are also attending- either in the comments or on twitter @aketchum22 or @historicalcooks


In November 2013, I co-founded The Historical Cooking Project/ Le projet de cuisine historique, a website that showcases new scholarship on the study of food throughout history. The Historical Cooking Project began with monthly bilingual meetings where members would cook recipes from a chosen cookbook using the culinary techniques (when possible) of the same time period as the book’s original publication and the collective would post new articles twice a week. Over time the collective grew interested in exploring new aspects of historical cooking and foodways and as a result, the content and scope of the blog grew beyond the initial focus on cookbooks. Our material challenges the division betweenthe academic and public history. In addition to the blog we maintain a twitter and instagram account. We also solicited guest posts from prominent food studies scholars and historians. To date, the website has had over 210,000 views.

As scholars, I believe that we have a responsibility to making our scholarship outside of the academy. In the age of closed access journals, high tuition fees, and other barriers to acquiring education, website creation allows scholars to share knowledge to larger audiences. As Cat Pause and Deborah Russell argue in “Social Scholarship: the Use of Social Media in the 21st Century Academy” social media has lessened the distance between scholars and the larger world, enabling more people to become active participants in the construction of knowledge, “through offering ideas and data, recounting experience, and engaging critically with academic research”. I argue that by scholars creating websites and blogs we can likewise importantly engage with a larger audience.

In my paper I will discuss the vitality of creating new avenues with which we publish our research, the limitations of these techniques, and offer practical advice for creating one’s own website, even with limited technical skills.