I am pleased to announce a new series of guest posts that will be authored by graduate students who are enrolled in Professor Peter Carmichael’s Readings Course at West VirginiaUniversity. Professor Carmichael and I have been talking about doing this for some time now. Students are required to write a 300-500 word review of a Civil War classic and then participate in any dialogue that may follow. The only criteria for selecting a book is that the author needs to be dead. A few of the students have already contacted me with information about their particular titles and I suspect that the first reviews will be forthcoming in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.
I like this idea for a number of reasons. Most importantly, it introduces young scholars to the possibilities associated with social media. Many of Professor Carmichael’s students hope to enter the field of Public History, which has been particularly strong in taking advantage of social media tools such as blogging and, especially, Twitter. Organizations such as the Museum of the Confederacy, Virginia Historical Society, and Lincoln Cottage are just a few that come immediately to mind. From my vantage point, however, it looks like History Departments have been slow to acknowledge the possibilities associated with social media tools. The exception has been in the area of digital history. I thoroughly enjoyed following their commentary on the state of the field at the recent AHA through Twitter [use the hashtag #AHA2010]. It goes without saying that the growth of digital history and the culture that each generation brings to the field will lead to even more dramatic changes in how History Department’s evaluate social media.
p.s. I don’t think we are going to see a review of anything by Bruce Catton. I just liked the photo.