History SLAM! 2011

Dear Writers:

Historians Are Writers (HAW!) will be hosting their second annual History SLAM! on May 14th, from 3-6 pm in 365 McGraw Hall. As Daegan put it last year: “It’s like a poetry slam (only with history), or a blues jam (only not at a bar). It’s an open format, alternative way to present creative historical work, in the broadest possible sense of those terms, to a sympathetic, supportive audience.”  All of this will be enjoyed with drinks and snacks. There will be an Open Mic portion of the afternoon, so feel free to bring something so that you can jump in if it feels right.

In our first announcement of this event, Heather shared these thoughts about last year’s History SLAM:

“From my point of view, participants in last year’s Slam demonstrated that our work as historians is often closely tied to our own lives; our academic work can transform us and teach us, and our personal lives can influence and strengthen our historical writing. I loved seeing the untold story of the research and writing process, as well as the connections that we make with our historical subjects. Furthermore, not all of the work that we produce has a place in traditional settings of academia. Perhaps you have had some secret oeuvre hidden away: historical fiction? poetry? memoir? Show your colleagues another side.”

If you are looking for ideas, here is Daegan’s inspiring list from last year’s call:  “We seek readings, showings, and performances of short works that are no more than 10 minutes long and that experiment with the creative possibilities of language and history, broadly conceived. This might mean that you flirt with the boundary between fact and fiction. Or maybe you throw all caution to the wind, jump the dividing line, and whole-heartedly embrace the possibilities of fantasy. Perhaps you will experiment with chronology: why does time need to run in a linear fashion, anyway? Or maybe you experiment with voices, or tenses, or your position as author. What happens if your historical characters are self-aware? Can histories show love or hatred? What about histories of the present, or the future? What role might symbolism or metaphor play in historical prose?  Can one create a minimalist history? Might you experiment with sound, rhythm, rhyme, pace, or texture? What role might images, or music, or smells play in an experimental history? How will you balance showing, telling, and withholding information? Where will you locate the boundary between creator and created, audience and text?”

We hope to see you on Saturday!


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