Explaining One’s Research to the Public

From the desk of Dr. Charles Foy:

A basic responsibility of EIU faculty is to create knowledge. For historians, this typically takes the form of monographs published by university press or articles in academic journals. Unfortunately, the readership for these works is generally not extensive. The public’s exposure to history often is limited to the History Channel (Hitler, Hitler and more Hitler!). How to ensure a wider audience for our interesting scholarship? Eastern’s historians are engaging the public on a number of non-traditional and digital medium, including blogs, Twitter, and online essays.

Where can one find EIU history faculty’s informal writing? Here are some examples:

Twitter: Dr. Laughlin-Schultz, a historian of 19th century reform movements and women’s history regularly tweets on these issues, political matters and her new book project on the reformer Lucy Stone at https://twitter.com/bls75.

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Dr. Newton Key tweets on 17th century British history at https://twitter.com/newton_key.

Blogs: Short form essays are a handy means to quickly describe one’s research. The longest-standing blog by a EIU historian is Dr. Key’s Early Modern England blog at http://earlymodernengland.blogspot.com/

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Online Articles: Recently, a plethora of websites have been developed that seek to explain historical issues to the general public. One of these, Red Hooks Water Stories, http://portsidenewyork.org/history-cultural-tourism/, has undertaken to explain New York City’s maritime history to the public.

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This Fall it will be publishing Dr. Charles Foy’s short essay, “Blacks on the New York Waterfront during the American Revolution.” This is essay is a condensed version of Dr. Foy’s recent scholarly article “The Royal Navy’s Employment of Black Mariners and Maritime Workers, 1754-1783,” published in the February 2016 edition of International Maritime History Journal.

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