An Introduction, and some thoughts about Tweets
Well, it’s my first re-entry into blogging since my rather sad efforts at Tumblr tapered off, and much as my entry onto the Tumblr scene was accompanied by my entrance to graduate school, my first real efforts at WordPress blogging are accompanying a class I’m taking through the history department at Clemson, HIST 8500: Digital Methods. I haven’t quite finished what I need to in order to do the first assigned blog post for the class, but I did want to jumpstart my thinking about my own digital participation in scholarship by taking stock of what I liked on Twitter today.
I don’t actually Tweet much. I suppose I just don’t have much to say that would fit the conversations that are going on, which seem to move much more quickly than they did in the days when all of my friends would comment on each other’s Livejournal posts back in high school. But I do find it very helpful for keeping in touch with the conversations that are going on in medieval studies, academia more generally, and frankly, the world as a whole. As a result, I use my likes as a sort of bookmark system, a kind of placeholder to go back and find things later once the conversation has moved on. But how often do I actually go back and follow up on the things I’ve liked? Probably not as much as I should. So I thought it wouldn’t hurt to start this blog off by thinking about what I’ve liked on Twitter today.
First, this tweet by Elizabeth Elliott announcing a special issue of the Journal of the International Arthurian Society dedicated to Arthurian medievalism. I thought about submitting an article for this issue when I first saw the call for papers, but decided that I wouldn’t have time to. I’ve been really excited about reading it, though, as contemporary Arthuriana is a research interest of mine. Re-looking at my likes page reminded me to check the table of contents, and I’m so looking forward to reading it! There’s a piece on David Lowery’s 2021 The Green Knight–how could there not be?, an article on Tracy Deonn’s Legendborn, which I’m reading right now, and….an article on characterization in an adaptation of Le Chevalier de la Charette! I’ve never even heard of the graphic novel, but characterization in Chretien’s romances is very squarely my jam. At some point, I’m going to have to carve out some time to read this issue, because it looks amazing!
Next, this tweet from Kenny Linden announcing another exciting new publication: Christopher P. Atwood’s forthcoming new translation of The Secret History of the Mongols. I first became aware of Dr. Atwood’s work when I began teaching The Secret History of the Mongols in a world literature class, using the open-access abridged translation by Igor de Rachewiltz and edited by John C. Street. Reading and learning about The Secret History and the Mongol Empire was a really fascinating and enjoyable experience for me–coming from a background in medieval French, Latin, and English literature, it was totally new to me, and I was so excited to be able to give my students a more in-depth look at the story behind the name Genghis Khan. It’s thrilling that there’ll be a new translation, doubtless with wonderful scholarly commentary, and I’ll have to remember to put this on my wish list for March 2023–maybe this blog post will remind me!
Just last week in HIST 8500, we read a cluster of articles about the origins of Wikipedia and how it works, and so I was intrigued to find this twitter thread, recommended to me because a friend from high school follows the “depths of wikipedia” account, which talks about the edits, separate articles, re-edits, and other evolutions Elizabeth II’s Wikipedia article underwent in the minutes and hours after her death.
Yale Classics Library announced in a tweet at around noon today that the first issue of a new journal through Edinburgh University Press, Journal of Late Antique, Islamic, and Byzantine Studies is out. Other people I follow made reference to the new issue, as well. I’m always on the lookout for this sort of thing as I try to develop more interdisciplinary courses (and, for that matter, world literature classes that take into account the debates about the ‘Global Middle Ages’ happening within the field). I took a look at the table of contents, and the issue has articles on some really interesting-sounding topics that I just don’t know anything about, such as Middle Persian historiography, Islamic representations of early Roman history, and Ibn ʿAsākir’s History of Damascus. The next time I have some free time and brain space, I’d love to dive in to one of these articles and learn about something new.
This seemed so perfect for me today, because I just was talking about a historical chronicle (William of Malmesbury’s Chronicle of the Kings of England) with my British Literature students, and we were talking about the ways that chroniclers attribute divine favor to the victors whom they like. We didn’t talk about signs in the sky–though we could have talked about the dream that William the Conqueror’s mother apparently had before he was born that predicted he would rule–but we did mention William (the chronicler)’s fondness for anecdotes about, say, mind-reading holy men.
Another tweet about Atwood’s new translation–guess I was just in a Secret History kind of mood today!
Last but certainly not least, a tweet from the editors of the journal postmedieval announcing a new open-access article. I was immediately drawn in by the title, because I just finished working on a project about a female character in medieval romance judged for being sexy. It looks like this article is looking more at law courts and their attitudes toward, say, adultery, and it arrives at a really intriguing argument: “Working primarily from the records of late medieval northern France, this article demonstrates that this idea is in fact a medievalism, a modern imagining about the Middle Ages. It attributes to medieval judicial authorities the disciplining and punishing of female bodies and female sexuality that instead emerged only with modern patriarchies.” I have to put a pin in this one to read later, because this might be very interesting for my own study of female sexuality in medieval literature.
Anyway, that’s what I liked on Twitter today! I hope that taking the time to engage a little more deeply with what I fleetingly hit the “like” button on over the course of my day will mean that I actually go past the 140 (or 280) characters in the tweet and actually seek out some of the interesting things I find online.