Two Lakefront Historian contributors and public history students at Loyola University Chicago are featured this week on History@Work, the blog from the National Council on Public History (NCPH). Annie Cullen and Rachel Boyle discuss how the overwhelming success of Public History Ryan Gosling reveals the strengths and weaknesses of popular culture as a tool for public historians. The post will give you a preview of the panel presentation Cullen and Boyle will be giving at the annual NCPH conference this April in Ottawa, Canada. Hope to see you there!
A few months ago, I found some left over sandwiches in the break room at work. As I was eating one, I thought of a hilarious tweet idea:
Just “gained access” to some leftover “materials” related to bacon, lettuce, and tomato. “Accessioned” them into my stomach. #LunchAtTheArchives
In the subsequent weeks, I thought of several more jokes that were food and archives related. I realized it was time to start another comedy blog. Appropriating my oh-so-clever hashtag from the original tweet, I created Lunch At The Archives, a tumblr site dedicated to jokes at the intersection of “food and the profession,” [of archives].
I think it is important for every profession to have a humorous totem they can cling to [see Public History Ryan Gosling]…and I just really like cracking jokes that appropriate professional jargon and concepts.
The blog serves several functions. First, to share jokes that reflect the common quirks of the job:
Once, I also created a full Dublin Core Entry for a sandwich I ate.
Sometimes, though, I use the blog to address more serious professional issues:
Although the blog is young, I invite you to visit. I’m sure there will be some incredible material for your consumption.
As a public historian and young adult, there is no question of whether or not I will cultivate an online presence. Recently, however, I have been seriously grappling with the implications of separating or integrating my personal and professional online personas.
In my first months as a graduate student I launched a personal blog to polemicize on past and present culture. My goal was twofold: to critically engage with the culture I consume and to get into the habit of writing. Soon my blog became a steam valve for me to articulate my frustrations and revelations when my academic training informed my evaluation of popular culture and vice versa. With elation I realized that I could perform analysis as colorfully as I desired. I cursed freely, exhibited anger, expressed pleasure—all of the things that academics aren’t supposed to do. I utilized sarcasm, humor, and reflexivity at will while freely incorporating images, animated .gifs, and videos. My blog quickly evolved into a carefully constructed yet authentic representation of my subject position at the intersection of the past and present, the personal and political, the intellectual and the plebeian.
With Past Present and related projects produced for a Public History and New Media course, I found myself creating a whitewashed copy of my online persona. Continue reading “Between the Personal and the Professional”