It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for this site and I’ve recently decided to get back into blogging. Well, microblogging more specifically I guess. I’m still keeping my “About” page as my site homepage for a bit in the event that things don’t pan out the way I’m hoping they do, but you can expect to see more frequent updates over here.
What will I be writing about? Mainly stuff that’s related to my work in higher ed. Definitely some stuff related to digital humanities and public history at times, but don’t be surprised to see an uptick in writing related to pedagogy and teaching. Since the summer of 2020 I’ve been an instructional designer at Salem State University’s Center for Teaching Innovation, and I’ve enjoyed this work a great deal more than expected. Moving into instructional design wasn’t a surprising development in retrospect: at Brown I spent a fair bit of time talking with faculty about how to do cool digital stuff with students in classroom contexts, and I’ve spent most of the past twenty years (yikes!) teaching my own classes or working with educators in and around higher ed. I’ve talked with some folks who have thought about moving into instructional design work, so I’ll share some reflections on my ongoing experiences in this field in addition to other stuff. With the usual caveats that I won’t be able to talk about certain stuff and that Jim McGrath’s views do not necessarily reflect the views of Salem State, etc.
On the public history front, Teaching Public History is due to come out this May, and I’m excited to see my chapter in addition to the work by the volume’s other contributors. I’m always happy to talk about public history and public humanities; in the next week or so I’ll be joining a “Public Humanities” course at Northeastern University to talk about my experiences in that world with students, for instance. And last year I was happy to give a talk on “Networks of Injustice” as part of the Digital Ethnic Futures Consortium. Feel free to email me if you’re interested in that sort of thing: (jimmcgrath[dot]us[at]gmail
I’m also currently a Council Representative for the Association of Computers and the Humanities (ACH), and I’ve enjoyed working with colleagues there. Specifically, I’ve been collaborating with some folks on a professional development series called “Making DH Work For Us,” which is motivated by our experiences navigating professional worlds that don’t always prioritize our professional or personal needs and interests. I’m also involved in some conversations about publication interests and needs, with a particular interest in de-centering tenure track expectations to make space for contingent, precarious, “alt-ac,” and other essential laborers in and around higher ed and cultural heritage. I really admire the current ACH leadership and their investments, so it’s been a pleasure to listen to those folks and make some contributions in that space.
Aside from all that work stuff, I’ve been playing Fortnite and Marvel Snap, cooking my cranky dog scrambled eggs, watching movies on Shudder and The Criterion Channel, and trying to set some professional and creative goals for the year. The last few years have been not always great, as I’ve alluded to here and there on social media. One of my hopes is that doing this blog will help me stay a bit more self-reflective and engaged with the work I do in higher ed to pay the bills. Hopefully you stick around and find some stuff worth reading here from time to time.