On Pre-Dissertating (And Learning to Love It)


As I indicated in my last post, I recently arrived in South Africa (two weeks ago exactly, in fact) to conduct pre-dissertation research.  For the first 5 weeks or so, I’ll be mainly based at Killie Campbell Research Library in Durban (with some brief sojourns at the Durban Archive Repository).  After that, I’ll be spending a week in Pietermaritzburg to explore the Alan Paton Centre and the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Archive.  I’ll also be continuing my research on Izichwe Football Club, a program that I started researching and writing about last summer.  I’ll bid KwaZulu-Natal goodbye in late July to visit Cape Town and Johannesburg, splitting my time between being a tourist and a researcher.
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Operation Summer 2014, eThekwini!

I just arrived yesterday in beautiful, sunny Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa yesterday to spend six weeks conducting pre-dissertation research.  I previously visited Durban in summer 2013 as part of the University of Pennsylvania’s Summer Language Immersion Program and eThekwini (the Zulu name for Durban, meaning “harbor”) quickly became one of my favorite cities in the world.  There are so many things to love about Durban, from the beaches (beautiful white sand beaches with perpetually warm water), the bunny chow (the Durban equivalent of a Philly cheesesteak), the numerous historical museums, archives, and sites (see some of them here and my list of places to visit below),and many lovely friends and family that I made last summer. Continue reading

I Have A Confession To Make….

bannerfrontpageThis weekend, I am attending the 10th Annual Sports in Africa Conference at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.  It’s been amazing (after just one day!) to be surrounded by a group of diverse scholars all working on sports-related topics throughout the African continent.  But being here makes me realize that I should probably make a confession to whoever might be reading this: football is not my primary research focus. Continue reading

My #DayofDH 2014 Wrap-Up

dayofdhBelow, you’ll find links to my contributions to #DayofDH 2014.  This was my first time to participate and I can’t wait for next year.  It was nice to see how other scholars utilize DH on a daily basis and also to have a forum to communicate (and commiserate) with other DH’ers.  Feel free to leave comments here or my Day of DH blog.

My 2014 Day of DH Plans

#DayofDH: First thing’s first

#DayofDH=Day of Frustration?

#DayofDH: Digital Collaboration

#DayofDH Turns Into Night


Amandla Weculo: The Power of Song

Ringing out from political rallies, funerals, and activists in the street, “Amandla!” (“The power!” in isiZulu/isiXhosa) became a rallying cry for the struggle against apartheid.  And the response, “Awethu!” (“Is ours!” in isiZulu/isiXhosa) united those who struggled together in a community of strength and determination.  If any sound can embody the struggle, it is this refrain: “Amandla! Awethu!”
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What About the Alternative-Alternative-Academic Path?

alt routeIn my previous post, I discussed some of our readings this week which provided definitions for alternative academix.  Bethany Nowviskie‘s definition, spelled out in “#alt-ac: alternative academic careers for humanities scholars,” is probably the most commonly cited.  Alt-ac refers to, by Nowviskie’s definition, “alternative academic careers-particularly for positions within or around the academy but outside the ranks of the tenure-track teaching faculty.”  While I understand Nowviskie’s definition, and others’ addenda to it, I have a bit of a problem with the way that this debate is framed. Continue reading

Alternative Academix-ing

When I first started this blog, I let it sit for months (literally) before I posted anything.  The thought of putting my work out there, beyond the reach of my advisers and classmates, was a terrifying prospect (and still kind of is).  The immediacy of the digital format is, simultaneously, exciting and intimidating.  Instead of going through months of reviews and revisions, you write something, click publish, and suddenly your work is out there, open for commentary by anyone who might come across it in their internet browsing.  I think this phobia is pretty routine (the responses to this blog by readers on Twitter suggests it’s fairly common), but reflecting on this hesitancy, coupled with the readings this week, I’m beginning to realize that my training as a historian (similar to the way that it has made me look at history as a powerful tool) had a lot to do with these initial sentiments.

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On Digital Pedagogy…

http://historyrat.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/koterba.jpgThis semester, I have found myself thinking a lot about digital pedagogy, not only because I am designing a course on South African sport culture for my capstone project in South African History in a Digital Age, but also because I plan to integrate teaching resources into my CHI project, Imbiza.  Designing course plans, as well as materials for use by other instructors, has really forced me to reconsider how I, as an aspiring professional historian, approach materials and content versus how students, with limited knowledge and experience in historical thinking, experience and conceive of those same materials.

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