The Covid-19 Chroniclers

Covid 19 logo

I’m participating alongside Andrea Eidinger, Britt Luby, Carolyn Podruchny, and Sarah York-Bertram in a “The Covid-19 Chroniclers” project. This initiative aims to document our experiences working in academia during the era of Covid-19.

We are chronicling our experiences working in academe throughout the coronavirus outbreak. We are writing as support staff, a tenured faculty member, a pre-tenured faculty member, a sessional instructor, and a graduate student. We feel that our personal lives could reveal how privilege in the academy shapes our experiences. We’ll be posting new content daily on the website and hope that chronicling this experience can be useful to reflect on academic life and to build community within academia.

Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Inclusion in Library Spaces Webinar Recording

On Thursday February 27, 2020 I presented a webinar on “Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Inclusion in Libraries.” Sponsored by the ACRL University Libraries Section Professional Development Committee this session provided an overview of a diverse range of gender identities and experiences and best practices for working with transgender colleagues, students, and patrons.

The slides and speaker notes from my presentation can be found here. You can also check out the PADLET I created as part of the session to allow participants to share what their libraries are doing to support trans and gender variant inclusion. The chat was super lively during the webinar and the collated links from the cat can be found here.

Lastly, if you want you can watch the whole webinar video. Thanks again for all the work of ACRL in supporting this webinar.

Webinar: Trans and Gender Non-conforming Inclusion in Libraries

Rainbow coloured lights

UPDATE: Registration for this webinar is now full (wow! thanks folks!). If you are interested in receiving a copy of the recording you can email Laura Gariepy at lwgariepy[at]vcu[dot]edu and she will make sure you get access to the recording.

On Thursday February 27, 2020 I’m presenting a free webinar on “Trans and Gender Non-conforming Inclusion in Libraries.”

Sponsored by the ACRL University Libraries Section Professional Development Committee this session will provide an overview of a diverse range of gender identities and experiences and best practices for working with transgender colleagues, students, and patrons. Through the sharing of examples, this session will challenge participants to create trans affirming spaces while critically examining library policies, languages, and practices.

Folks can register at: https://www.acrl.ala.org/ULS/trans-and-gender-non-conforming-inclusion-in-libraries/ If you can’t make this session but wish to view a recording later, please register so that you’ll receive an email that includes a link to the video of the presentation.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Appropriation vs. Incorporation: Indigenous Content in the Canadian History Classroom

My latest post, written with Skylee-Storm Hogan and Andrea Eidinger for the Activehistory.ca Beyond the Lecture series is up now.

Appropriation vs. Incorporation: Indigenous Content in the Canadian History Classroom” looks how historians can include Indigenous content in post-secondary classrooms, with an emphasis on providing practical steps and resources.

Podcasting, Scholarship, and History Talk

Earlier today I had the pleasure of providing a virtual talk on podcasting, scholarship, and public history. My talk focused on how podcasts can be forms of scholarship and outreach. I also spoke about my experience recording the Historical Reminiscents podcast.

For folks interested, my slides and notes are up on Google Slides.

Spreadsheet Beauty: Organizing The Things

laptop on table with excel sheet on screen

As is likely evident by a lot of my recent posts, I’ve been doing a lot of collaborative writing and research recently.  A huge chunk of this collaborative writing has been with my co-conspirator colleague Andrea Eidinger of Unwritten Histories. Andrea and I have a lot of project ideas and discussions about things we should work on.  Late in 2018 we decided that we needed to start keeping track of all these brilliant ideas in a more formal way.  Enter the spreadsheet to end all spreadsheets – or at least the spreadsheet to organize our collaborative writing projects. Continue reading Spreadsheet Beauty: Organizing The Things

Celebrating Women and Non-Binary Historians

Celebrating Women and Non-Binary Historians on yellow background

Check out my latest post over on Unwritten Histories.  This post, written in collaboration with Andrea Eidinger, looks at Celebrating Women and Non-Binary Historians. We share the submissions from our December 2018 call to celebrate folks and talk about why promoting and acknowledging the accomplishments of women and non-binary folks matters.

Celebrating the Accomplishments of Women and Non-Binary Historians in 2018

Celebrating Women and Non-Binary Historians on yellow background

In 2017, archaeologist Steph Halmhofer issued a call for submission for the first “Celebration of Women and Non-Binary Archaeologists.” The call was a response to the lack of women and non-binary representation in year-end archaeology roundups, as well as problems with representation in the media and public discourse. We have noticed many of the same problems in the field of History.

Inspired by Halmhofer, we invite all women and non-binary folk who consider themselves to be historians to celebrate their personal and professional accomplishments from 2018. To so do, please fill out the Google questionnaire by December 31st.  We welcome submissions from all forms of historians and your accomplishment can be anything you want to celebrate in your personal or professional life from 2018.  Blog posts, articles, podcasts, interviews, self-care, etc. all count as accomplishments!

Accomplishments will be shared on Unwritten Histories in a special blog post in early January. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on Twitter at @andreaeidinger or @kristamccracken, or by emailing us at unwrittenhistories [at] gmail [dot] com.

You folks are awesome, and congratulations!

– Andrea Eidinger and Krista McCracken

* Special thanks to Steph Halmhofer for her support for this project. To find out about her celebration of women and non-binary archaeologists, go here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc9mZqzJEcmbyvK_Ryg5kt_5cQrsyWYksD6lqj93JTp7MW09g/viewform

Year In Review: 2018

"2018" written with a sparkler

It’s December! That means it is annual year end reflection time. As in previous years I’m going to use this post remind myself of all the things I did over the past year.  A year is a long time and accomplishments tend to be immediately celebrated and then forgotten in the hustle of the day-to-day chaos.  I encourage other folks to take the time to reflect on all the small and big things they have been a part of in 2018.

Writing Things

  • In August Danielle Robichaud and I published “Doing the work: Editing Wikipedia as an act of reconciliation.”  I am still thrilled about having something published via On Archivy and I’m super happy that we able to develop our AAO presentation from April 2017 into a longer form piece.  Plus, Danielle is an awesome colleague and working with her was a joy, as always.
  • Skylee-Storm Hogan and I have submitted two book chapters – one related to the Residential Schools Land Memory Mapping Project and one about archives as contested space.
  • I had an article accepted to the Canadian Historical Review, it will be appearing in the 2019 summer issue of CHR.
  • Andrea Eidinger and I wrote an academic article together!  Publication details are still forthcoming, but working with Andrea on this was a fantastic experience and it highlighted the value of cross-discipline collaboration.
  • I’ve continued to work as part of the Active History editorial collective. In 2018 Andrea Eidinger and I launched the Beyond the Lecture series.  This series is focused on exploring best practices in teaching Canadian history and seeks to expand perspectives related to history education.  The series is still open to submissions, so hit us up with your ideas!

Talks and Presentations

  • In April 2018 I was part of a fantastic National Council on Public History roundtable, titled “Sharing the Power: The Role of Public History in Reconciling Indigenous-Settler Narratives.” It was an honour to be part of this panel that featured Indigenous, settler, Canadian, and US perspectives on public history work.
  • I also had the privilege of being part of the “Diversifying Narratives: Intersections of Public and Digital History in the 21st Century” roundtable at the Canadian Historical Association Annual meeting in May 2019.  This session brought together Andrea Eidinger, Jessica Knapp, Jessica DeWitt, and I to talk about digital history and public history.  I love collaborating with these folks and this roundtable was no exception.
  • In 2018 I also provided a number of nuts and bolts style workshops on archival practice, digital publishing, and local history.
  • I’ve also continued to do a lot of outreach and presentation work as part of my job – I’ve spoken with over 5,000 students and professional groups about Residential Schools and the history of the Shingwauk site.  As part of this work I’ve had the chance to work closely with some great folks including Skylee-Storm Hogan, Mike Cachagee, Madison Bifano, and Elizabeth Edgar-Webkamigad.  These folks are constant sources of inspiration and I’m lucky to work with them.

Collaborations

  • Jessica Knapp and I ran year two of the Canada-wide Wikipedia edit-a-thon event.  I am very happy to see this Wikpedia work continuing.
  • I was part of the group that helped organize the National Council on Public History (NCPH) “(Re)Active Public History” Twitter mini-con.  I am thrilled with how this event turned out and especially pleased with the number of great presentations that were part of the event.  If you missed it, you can check out all of the presentations as Twitter moments.
  • I was nominated to the NCPH Board of Directors and as part of that role I’ve been able to collaborate with some great NCPH folks and continue to learn more about all of the moving parts that make NCPH such a great organization.
  • The Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall exhibition space opened in August 2018.  This space is representative of so much community collaboration and I can’t adequately express how happy I am to see this space being used for education and the ongoing work to honour Survivors of the Shingwauk Residential School.

Grants

  • This year was full of grant writing and grant based projects.  Some highlights include:
    • Successful application to the National Heritage Digitization Strategy call for funding for the “Healing and Reconciliation Through Digital Access” project.
    • Being part of the SSHRC funded “Documenting Early Residential Schools” project with Tom Peace and the Woodland Cultural Centre.  This funding allowed a group of Huron students to spend a few days up at Algoma/Shingwauk site – which was a fantastic experience.
    • Skylee-Storm Hogan and I were awarded a $10,000 ChangeUp grant through the Inspirit Foundation.  This project has focused on youth education around Residential Schools and has allowed us to pay some awesome Indigenous youth for their work.
    • 2018 also saw the continued funding of the “Realizing Healing and Reconciliation through Education” by the Heritage Canada Museum Assistance Program.  This current funding will allow the SRSC to expand the Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall exhibition to include an artifact driven exhibition space.
    • I’ve also continued to be part of the SSHRC funded “Residential Schools Land Memory Mapping Project

Odds and Sods

  • I’ve continued to produce and record episodes of the Historical Reminiscents Podcast on a regular basis. With November marking the one year anniversary of this podcast!
  • This year I taught an “Introduction to Archival Studies” course at AlgomaU in the fall term.  This is the first time an archives studies course has been offered at AU, so I’m super happy about that development.
  • I have an energetic and empathetic four year old who inspires me to do better.
  • I started embroidering things! Photos can be seen on my Instagram account (@kris_tlon).

Despite the horrid news cycle that has characterized 2018, I had many good experiences over this past year.  I am fortunate to work with kind and generous collaborators who are an inspiration.  I’m looking forward to 2019 being filled with more of the same.

Photo credit: NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Speaking Up: The Clothing Edition

Hanging rack of grey clothes.

I’ve started and deleted this post multiple times, not because the topic isn’t important but because talking about it makes me feel tremendously vulnerable. I’ve thought a lot about professional expectations and social niceties.  I’ve also thought a lot about fear and the ways in which fear can stifle meaningful discussion. I’ve also had a hard look at my privilege – I’m white, mid-career, I have stable employment, and I’m protected by a union. I have a lot more space and security to discuss my views then some folks.

Over the past year, I’ve been in multiple professional settings where individuals have discussed female bodies. These conversations have often focused on what classifies as professional attire and what is suitable clothing for women to wear in work settings. Comments have ranged from “That outfit isn’t meant for someone her size” to “No one will take her seriously in that dress.” While embodying these spaces I have never once heard anyone comment on the attire of male presenting folks. What female presenting folk wear seems like a topic that is open for debate and scrutiny. Hearing these discussions have filled me both with despair and rage the desire to discuss the endless stream of microaggressions that are connected to female bodies.

Dress codes and concepts of professional attire often play out in ways that are sizeist, classist, misogynistic, colonial, racist, ablest, and transmisic. When we talk about professional clothing we are often referencing white able-bodied cis-masculine centred standards.  Carmen Rios has argued that, “queer people, women, people of color, working-class people – aren’t supposed to be comfortable when we’re being professional… All of the standards of appearance being pushed on employees in office environments are, essentially, strongholds of white, male standards of power.”  Women are often socialized to present in ways which are feminine, but not too overtly feminine/revealing. The politics behind that are directly connected to gendered explications and reliance on male concepts of professionalism.

I also wholeheartedly agree with Rios’ statement that “Every single person in every single office should be taken seriously and treated with respect no matter what they’re wearing.” When professional attire or concepts of ‘fit’ are used to evaluate workplace contributions we are marginalizing huge segments of society.  Discussions of institutional or cultural fit are often used in hiring and promotion practices. It is frequently used in the negative or as justification for not hiring someone (eg. “they just aren’t a good fit).  Fit is entirely subjective and more often than not it reinforces homogeneity of workplaces and can be used as an excuse to avoid hiring diverse candidates.

In the academic realm female presenting and trans* folks are often told they need to dress a certain way in order to be “taken seriously.” That they need to confirm to the white male imposed standards of professionalism.  Respectability politics expect marginalized people to conform to white standards of what is acceptable and penalize folks when they present using identities that are outside ‘accepted’ norms.  We should treat others with respect.  Period. Toeing an invisible line of acceptability is exhausting and “[d]ressing in order to be taken seriously indicates that the spectre of older, more explicit forms of sexism still hovers over us.” (Stavrakopoulou, 2014).  It’s also a near impossible game to win – dress in a way that is overly feminine and you won’t be viewed as frivolous, dress in a more masculine manner and comments of ‘power-dressing’ avail. Professional worth should not be tied to appearance.

Even just unpacking the language of sexism and acceptability can be a headache inducing wormhole. Holly Case has asserted, “Words like “sexism,” “gender bias,” and “structural inequality” describe conditions that are hopelessly banal, like a mob town or byzantine bureaucracy: grinding, petty, retrograde. Occasionally one catches oneself longing for a language that imagines a way out, rather than explaining why we are still subject to the ways of the mob.”  Raising your voice against this treatment or structural problems can have tangible consequences. Speaking out against sexism, colonialism, and classism takes a whole lot of spoons. And if you are a precariously employed or emerging career individual there can be very real financial and career repercussions.  Those with privilege, power, and authority need to speak up and challenge systemic problems.  There is so much on this topic to be unpacked, discussed, and challenged.  We need to do a better job of bringing this conversation into the forefront. We need spaces where this conversations can happen and where folks with power actually engaging with the structural problems that are unpinning concepts of fit and professional attire.

Photo credit: Fancycrave on Unsplash