In my work as a writer (at Medievalists.net and elsewhere), my goal has always been to be a bridge between people interested in history and the scholarship that will answer their questions. Rather than being the foremost expert on any one subject, my aim is to whet peoples’ appetites, and then point them in the direction of the experts.
In late November of last year, I was brought onboard at Arc Humanities Press, giving me the chance to explore another way in which I could connect people to great historical scholarship. Although I’d been involved with publishing from the other side of the press, I’d never been part of the process behind the scenes. I’ll be honest: I wasn’t sure acquisitions was going to be for me, but then I realized it tapped right into that connective nature that’s always been a part of my historical DNA.
At Arc, I look for authors to contribute to a couple of series involving subjects close to my heart: Curation Development, Cultural Heritage and Digital Humanities, and European Medieval Battlefields. With both of these series, I get to find people working on cutting-edge heritage and digital humanities projects that are bringing the Middle Ages to people in all sorts of new and innovative ways. As a person who’s spent a decade dedicated to reaching out to the public, being involved in spreading the word about new ways to use museums, galleries, archives, and heritage sites to draw a diverse crowd of people into history is continually inspiring.
Right now, I’m creating a new series that explores the periphery of medieval military action: all the interesting stuff that was a huge part of the everyday life of thousands of soldiers. Things like where did people build their latrines? What kind of field medicine did they use? What was it like to be a soldier in between battles? The aim is to get a clearer picture of the people actually involved in the battles, and what it was like to be in their shoes. Getting the right scholars together to explore this in book form for the betterment of the academic community and the wider community is an exciting prospect. Beyond the enjoyment of helping scholars reach a wider readership, learning more about this fascinating stuff is a reward in itself.
In the future, I’m looking at developing another new series that looks at the Americas during the time period we think of as medieval in Europe in order to make it easier to look at this moment in history on a global scale. Helping to create more resources, especially for a new generation of students who will (hopefully) see history in global terms is, in my mind, a goal worth striving for. There are so many scholars doing such excellent work, and so many avenues to explore that the possibilities are endless.
For a girl who wants to get more people talking about interesting stuff, finding myself at Arc turned out to be a good fit. I welcome any opportunity to expand the conversation, and if you’re interested in working with me to do the same through publishing your work at Arc, please drop me an email, or take a minute to say hello this week at Kalamazoo!