Friday, November 18, 2016

Researching Your Research Trip

By: Tracey Hutchings-Goetz

The archive has long functioned as a space of fantasy for academics. The romanticization of the archive dates at least as far back as the nineteenth century, when historians like Leopold Von Ranke (1795-1886) began to argue vigorously for primary source based history. In making the case for archival research, Ranke often characterized his methodology as a heroic quest. According to Ranke, primary source documents were like “so many princesses, possibly beautiful, all under a curse and needing to be saved.”[1] Although more recent academic accounts usually eschew such problematically gendered language, the notion of the archive as a quasi-magical space has persisted.

While these fantasies can provide a potent motivation to pursue original research, they also risk obscuring the truth about archival research: the most important part of conducting archival research occurs months before you hit the road or board a plane. Carefully researching your research trip matters for two interrelated reasons: funding and timing. If I had not started researching my research trip to London nine months in advance I could not have afforded to travel to the U.K. However, I was able to fully fund my trip by securing four different dissertation research travel grants, the first of which was due eight months before my intended departure date. In order to secure a travel grant to conduct research, one must produce a proposal outlining the intended research and a provide a realistic timeline for the completion of that research.

To that end, I’d like to dedicate the remainder of this blog post to outlining some concrete tips for making your research trip dreams come true. They are as follows:

·       Start early and stay organized from the start.

·       Compile a list of travel grants, and keep track of deadlines. I know of at least four sources for dissertation research funding at IU: the College of Arts and Humanities Institute (CAHI), the University Graduate School (UGS), the Graduate and Professional Student Government, and the Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Many national organizations (like ASECS) as well as individual libraries offer funding for graduate students to conduct archival research. If you are having trouble tracking down funding or want help writing grant proposals, make an appointment with GradGrants.

·       Begin by identifying the archives most useful to your project. Start by making a list of libraries and special collections that likely house materials pertinent to your historical field, and then search their catalogues.

·       When searching in an unfamiliar catalogue, actually read the directions on how to use the catalogue first. Many archives and libraries have separate catalogues for different collections (e.g., one catalogue for bound materials, another for manuscripts, and another for ephemera).

·       Be aware that not everything in a special collection is catalogued online, so don’t be afraid to email a reference librarian for help early in your research.

·       Focus on undigitized sources in your grant proposal. If a source is available digitally, your grant proposal will need to explain how the original version of that source differs from the digitized version as well as why that difference matters to your project.

·       Once you’ve identified the collection(s) you want to visit take note of the archive’s hours. Many archives aren’t open all day and/or close for government holidays.

[1] Quoted in Bonnie G. Smith’s “Gender and the Practices of Scientific History: The Seminar and Archival Research in the Nineteenth Century” (1165) American Historical Review vol. 100, issue 4 (1995).
Tracey Hutchings-Goetz is a PhD candidate in Indiana University's Department of English and a dissertation year fellow of the Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Her dissertation, Touchy Subjects: An Eighteenth-Century Anatomy of Haptic Sensation, makes the case for the importance of the sense of touch to eighteenth-century British literature and culture by attending to the experience and representation of touching and being touched during the period. Last spring, she traveled to London to conduct archival research at the British Library, Wellcome Collection, National Archive, Guildhall Library, and V&A Clothworkers' Center for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fabric. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

CFP: Words Matter Graduate Student Conference

Words Matter: Politics, Rhetoric, and Social Justice
Indiana University Bloomington
March 24-25, 2017

We are issuing a Call for Proposals for scholarly and creative submissions for the 15th Annual
Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference entitled “Words Matter: Politics, Rhetoric, and
Social  Justice,”  hosted  by  the English Department at Indiana University Bloomington, March
24-25, 2017.

This conference aims to interrogate politics, rhetoric, and social justice in moments of national
and international upheaval. We aim to address these terms individually, but also their
entanglements across historical moments and geographical locations.

What are the modern and pre-modern histories of these terms? How do literary and visual texts
engage questions of politics, rhetoric, and social justice? What are the physical and material
manifestations of these concepts? How do genre, discipline, and methodology impact the
representation and study of these topics? What roles do both written and spoken words have in
politics? Who/what has a voice and who/what is silenced socially and politically? How is rhetoric
informed by politics, and what are the implications of their entanglements? What do we mean by
“social justice” and how has this term been shaped historically? How do digital and virtual
cultures intersect with social justice, and how have those cultures changed our perceptions of
political movement and rhetorical  engagement?

We invite submissions from all disciplines addressing, but not limited to, the following topics:
●   Black Lives Matter, critical race studies, (anti-)colonial and postcolonial literature
●   materialisms, phenomenology, object oriented ontology
●   testimony, witnessing, civic duty
●   anatomy, bodies of texts (corpora), the blazoned body
●   language(s), translations, textuality, signification, vernacular/discourse studies
●   advertising, memes, slander, mudslinging, rumors, gossip, virality, trolling, verbal abuse
●   articulations of remembrance, monuments, postmemory han, therapy writing, memoirs, trauma study
●   tattoos, body art, graffiti, banners
●   protest literature, pamphlets, broadsides, community activism, grassroots politics
●   reproductive rights, gender and sexuality studies
●   legality, legislation, legal personhood, “the letter of the law,” sovereignty
●   writing as activism, digital activism, Twitter, journalism, letter-writing campaigns,
epistolary cultures
●   communication studies, composition studies, pedagogy
●   lyrics, music/sound studies, poetry
●   global citizens, peace studies, area studies, nationhood
●   vocality, muteness, silence, censorship, animal advocacy, post-humanism
●   storytelling, myths, typology, “a people’s history”
●   close/distant readings, scales of reading, big data, text mining
●   structuralism, poetics, aesthetics, formalism, figurative language
●   sacred words, religion, naming

We invite proposals for individual scholarly papers, creative works,  and  panels  organized  by 
topic.  Please submit (both as an attachment and in the body of the email) an abstract of no more
than 250 words along with the following personal details: name, institutional affiliation, degree
level, email, and phone number.

Submission Deadline: December 16, 2016 (email to

This conference is generously supported by the Department of English, Department of Anthropology,
Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, and Cultural Studies Program.

#iuic17  |

Helping Hand, Volume 1 Issue 3

Now that the GSAC Book Sale is over, it’s time for another time-honored tradition: the book donation! Last year our department donated over a hundred books to Pages for Prisoners and the Bloomington Public Library, and we are looking to continue the tradition this year. To make this happen, we need help sorting through the piles of leftover books from the sale.

This Friday, starting at 3:00, we will be in Weatherly 123 sorting books for donation. If you have some time before the Thanksgiving break, please consider coming to help out for even an hour or two. People with cars are especially welcome, so the books can be transported after sorting. If you are able to come help, please email Stephen or Phil to let us know.

On a different note – in the wake of the election last week, there have been many calls for action, organization, and reinforcement of our communities. As Community Outreach Coordinators, we would like to reaffirm our commitment to using the resources available to us so that we can be present and active in our communities, and to calling attention to others’ efforts towards these same goals. If you know of any resources, organizations, events, etc. that could help, please let us know and we will share it along with your contact information in future newsletters and on the Canvas site.

For now, if you would like to know more about volunteering in the Bloomington community, check out the information available here.

You can also click here to sign a petition by the UndocuHoosier Alliance to show IUB administration that you support and urge protection for undocumented students and community members.

Thank you for your work and individual commitments to helping others. Take care of yourselves and those around you, and have a happy Thanksgiving break.

Best Wishes,
Stephen and Phil

Helping Hand, Volume 1 Issue 2

We’d like to begin this month’s edition of The Helping Hand by giving a shout-out to all the volunteers who came out for our breakfast at Shalom Center last week. We teamed up with the Center’s fantastic staff to serve eggs, (turkey) bacon, breakfast sandwiches, and more to over 100 members of our local homeless community. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this event, whether through your financial donations or physical labor – it was greatly appreciated!

We will be planning more events for the spring semester, so look to future newsletters for further opportunities to volunteer as a departmental collective.

In order to keep The Helping Hand clutter-free, we will be compiling a list of service opportunities that you have sent us. Our plan is to archive this list on the English Graduate Student Resources Canvas page, under the “Community Service” folder. We will update the document each month and use this space to publicize new opportunities. We are also partnering with the IU English Graduate Student blog to make this information available in multiple venues. Check out the blog at and look for regular updates both there and in your inbox!

This month’s new service opportunity comes from John McGlothin, who volunteers at Pantry 279 in Elletsville. The pantry is based in the Trinity Lutheran Church, and was first organized by local Girl Scouts. The pantry is expanding rapidly, and is looking for cash donations, food donations, and volunteers, particularly during the week. More information can be found at their website ( You can also contact John for more information, at

And as always, you can find more ways to contribute to the Bloomington community at

If you have other opportunities or events that you would like publicized, please contact us and we will share the information in our next newsletter. In the meantime, keep being the wonderful, community-oriented selves that you are!

Best Wishes,

Stephen and Phil