As a quick refresher–I am doing an analysis of The Washington Post’s Made By History blog section. The blog features pieces that connect current political events to their historical roots. I separated my paper into three parts—exploring the blog’s content, analyzing recent contributor interview responses, and conclusions.
Part I: Exploring Made By History’s Content
In part I, I summarized and analyzed a recent piece in the Made By History section to showcase the kind of work and content the blog produces. I chose a piece by Kyla Sommers called “The battle against D.C. statehood is rooted in anti-Black racism.”
Part II: Contributor Interviews
I sought out participants based on topic. I chose three pressing political issues—DC statehood, voting rights, and immigration—and reached out to two contributors of each subject whose recent articles I found compelling. These are the participants:
Dr. Adam Arenson is a professor of history at Manhattan College in New York City.
Rebecca Brenner Graham is a PhD candidate in history at American University, an AU Public History Alum, and a history teacher at the Madeira School in McLean, VA.
Kate Masur is an associate professor of history at Northwestern University.
A.K. Sandoval-Strausz is the director of the Latina/o studies program and an associate professor of history at Pennsylvania State University.
Elliot Young is a professor of history at Lewis & Clark College.
Robinson Woodward-Burns is an assistant professor of political science at Howard University.
I asked each contributor a series of five questions. I condensed them for the purposes of this post:
- What motivated you to contribute to the Made By History blog? When do you consider writing an op-ed or blog post?
- How do you view your contribution to the Made By History section?
- What is the significance of connecting the present to the past? And why do you think this—showing the public the utility of history and the work historians do—is important right now?
- What are your tips for historians looking to write op-eds? What makes an engaging op-ed?
- How is the Made By History blog changing the nature of how historians engage with the public? What does this digital resource say about the emerging possibilities for new forms of scholarship?
The responses were really interesting, and I was able to draw conclusions about the blog from participants’ professional backgrounds and from their responses. For example, most participants do not consider this kind of work “scholarly,” yet every participating contributor either holds a PhD or is a PhD candidate.
Part III: Conclusions
I am waiting to hear back from Made By History co-editor Kathryn Brownell. She is working on some questions that I sent her regarding the blog’s goals and to what extent she thinks they have been successful. I currently have some very broad conclusions that I will hopefully be able to clarify more when Brownell gets back to me—hopefully by the end of the week. I also found that I had a really hard time organizing this paper so any feedback on the structure would be much appreciated!