Despite my loud mouth, I’m not a very outwardly social person. When it comes to group research projects, I would much rather live in a corner of the archive bunker, scraping off lichen from the walls to eat and subsisting off the dried ketchup stains of messy readers past. Those moleman tendencies push me towards individual research and study, as well as sources of light when I’m digging subterranean tunnels.
When we first drafted our list of proposals, we made a list of the projects we had already begun as well as other general questions we wanted to answer. Some of the new questions were wide-ranging like “What type of writing was popular by each decade, and why?” and others were more specific, ‘Which is more absorbent, toilet paper or Amherst Literary Monthly?”
After we had this list, we committed our first cardinal sin of group research: we broke up into groups of 1 or 2 to each work on individual proposals. This was part selfishness, part-necessity. There were too many ideas whizzing around to be focused into 3 solid proposals by four interns at 2pm on a Friday.
Now, we’re attempting to come together and combine those ideas, which is proving a little difficult because we aren’t sure how wide-ranging the overall proposal should be. I’m sure that we’re probably still very rooted in what we originally proposed. We’ve summarized our proposals into bullet points and then did some “text-analysis” by highlighting common words and themes in each proposal. These have included:
- Publications looking outward v. inward
- Anonymity in Amherst writing
- Administration and censorship
- Wartime Attitudes
However, I think that as we push forward, that protectiveness will slowly drop away. At first, I was hesitant to let go of my issues of Hamster, but I’m definitely now more interested in the way comedy tracks trends present in other publications. Admittedly, it’s hard to come together on a day when Europe decided to fall apart. (#Archivexit)