As a field Periodical Studies is particularly well-suited to encourage innovative and interdisciplinary methodologies not only among experts but also among young scholars encountering the discipline for the first time. Periodicals are diverse, multi-authored visual and textual objects that when taught effectively can improve students’ close reading and distant reading skills, demand their equal attention toward art and advertisement, and teach them how to imagine the audience of a different historical time and place. They also invite digital humanities work that can enrich students’ critical methods and put their traditional modes of analysis in dialogue with other skills. At a broader theoretical level, the careful study of a periodical’s lifespan encourages students to recognize multivocality within a complex, evolving, and highly collaborative medium.
This summer, the modernist scholar Johanna Winant and I found ourselves working on a number of converging projects, from book chapters to essays on Stanley Cavell’s philosophy and Donald Hall’s poetry. Below we reflect on the process of writing together, sharing work, and discovering the kinds of friendship that collaboration makes possible
Why would a modernism scholar want to write collaboratively? Aren’t solo ventures hard enough? Below are some rejoinders, meditations, and provocations, the first in dramatic form.