It’s been three months since the three of us, with the help and sponsorship of our benevolent overlords at the Journal of the History of Ideas, launched this blog. We wanted to take a moment to pause, reflect on what we’ve done so far, and note some upcoming developments as we continue to experiment with this new venture.
In what we’ve taken to calling the “think pieces” that we’ve published so far, we’ve tried to stay true to what we promised at the outset: embracing an ecumenical definition of “history of ideas,” and featuring a wide range of graduate-student guest contributors who have offered us their views on subjects ranging from medieval metaphysics to Foucault, and everything in between. We’ve offered our own eclectic thoughts as well: on listening to the sounds of history, early modern marginalia, intellectuals on toboggans, and much more besides. And we’ve sought out contributions (and written a few ourselves) that comment on hot historiographical topics, and that report and reflect on current events or exhibitions. We also try to stay abreast of developments in the republic of letters that is the academic internet, collating upcoming events and online reading for readers’ information.
That any of this has been a success is down to you! We’re so grateful to those of you who have engaged in the comments, responded on Twitter, linked to our posts on Reddit, sent us notices of events, CFPs, and interesting reading, and particularly to those of you who have written for us. We hope you’ll continue to do all these things—to feel that this is your blog too. And we want to mention some ways in which we’re working on making JHIBlog more of a community, how we’re focusing our energies to that end, and how you can help.
First, we’re changing our editorial schedule slightly: while we’ll feature content and news from the republic of letters whenever time permits, starting next week we’ll be offering a regular fare of two more substantial blog essays on Monday and Wednesday and then our usual link roundup on Friday. This is a slowing down of the frenetic pace we established at the outset, but it will allow us to use our time instead to seek out new contributors and develop new formats. Look out in the coming weeks for interviews, collaborative pieces, more efforts to engage with the authors and ideas of our parent Journal, perhaps even a bit of multimedia, and—in the summer—a book club. We’ll also be aiming to achieve greater geographic scope, whether seeking contributors who can write on non-western topics or those who can be local correspondents, sending us the news about history of ideas from their particular universities or cities across the United States and the world. If you think you might fit into either of those categories, get in touch! We’d love to talk about how you can get involved.
While we want this blog to provide a space for the ideas and writing of talented young scholars, we want also to ensure that it is a community, interactive and open to contributions other than substantive essays. We’re always eager to hear your suggestions about how we might foster this ethos, as well as any other feedback you might have. And we hope you’ll keep commenting, tweeting, and sending us the news from your corners of the republic of letters, as well as getting involved in our new initiatives.
Many thanks, and here’s to the next three months—and many, many more!
Emily, John and Madeline