New Co-Authored Publication: Postdoctoral Bill of Rights

As part of the Postdoctoral Laborers Group, I was happy to contribute to the discussions, writing, and revision that went into the Postdoctoral Bill of Rights. It’s been great to see the positive reception this document has received on social media, and it’s been particularly gratifying to see the implications of our thoughts resonating with people responsible for creating and supporting postdoctoral positions in the humanities. There’s still lots of work to be done and the life of a postdoc is difficult in many different ways for many of us, but one aim of the Bill of Rights was to document and circulate perspectives held and shared by postdocs across various institutions, to make these concerns manifest, to hopefully make individuals in this positions or thinking about applying for them aware of the professional and institutional realities around them. It was cool to see the document cited as a resource by Digital Humanities Now, and in addition to the contact information included on the Bill itself, I know folks like me are happy to talk more with people who are interested in changing our professional working conditions for the better.

Thanks to Amanda Henrichs for seeing the clear need for this sort of document and for keeping it a priority for the Postdoctoral Laborers Group, and to Hannah Alpert-Abrams for all the work that went into the Bill of Rights and into making the Postdoctoral Laborers Group a group with a clear sense of community, purpose, and momentum. And thanks to fellow group members like Heather Froelich and Kim Martin (among others!). The Bill of Rights was a collaborative document informed by a number of voices and perspectives, and I was glad to be part of this work. It’s been great talking through our shared and varied experiences at conferences like DH 2018 and DLF 2018, on Twitter, and through less-public channels like Slack and email.

If you’re a postdoc in the humanities, or someone whose career trajectory is leading you to consider postdoctoral positions, join us! Our next meeting is May 3rd: see this page to learn how to join our Slack and email channels. And my guess is that a number of members of the group will be in attendance at ACH this July, so hopefully we’ll see some folks IRL soon!

Questions, comments? Feel free to email me at james_mcgrath@brown.edu, or get in touch with me on Twitter @JimMc_Grath.

New Interview: Careers in the Public Humanities Podcast

Catherine Winters, co-host of the Careers in the Public Humanities Podcast, invited me on the program to talk about my current gig as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Public Humanities at Brown University. It’s a pretty candid conversation about the life of a postdoc in higher ed these days. I also talk about public humanities, digital humanities, and why “digital public humanities” seems like a productive term that creates space for particular kinds of work and methodologies in academic contexts. And I use the adjective “tricky” a lot, which seems worth noting in the historical corpus of descriptives for this kind of labor in this particular time and place. Thanks Catherine! I hope some folks find these reflections helpful!