One Semester Away

I applied to the Ph.D. History program at Liberty University and was accepted. I received the welcome letter by post yesterday so it is official, I start the doctoral program in January. I am waiting for a grade from the historical filmmaking class to be posted, hopfully over the weekend, to close out the Spring semester. There are three classes left for my M.A. in Public History which I will take in the fall. Registration for the Fall semester opens in two weeks, once registered, I can submitt my application for graduation. My head has been burried in the books for so long it’s a little weird thinking I am a doctoral student with two master’s degrees, well, one and almost a second. It feels like I was just finishing my bachelor’s last term. Three and a half more years if all goes acording to plan, I am looking forward to it though.

My area of interest is the Industrial Revolution, as has been clearly stated in every post so far, and while the IR is a large topic, my specific interests in it are somewhat narrow, but they cover expansive territory within the topic and field. It sounds and is contradictory, which is part of my delema. There are some subdivisions in the field that I find interesting and more narrow, The Gilded Age and Progressive Era (GAPE). These areas wholly overlap the time period of the IR but they carry different connotations and focus leaning more into the social and political than the technical that is generally associated with the IR. There is also a stronger tie to the litterature of the period due to the growth of social justice movements which are represented in the period literature. Thus far I have found two associations with academic journals in my specific areas of interest, the Society for Industrial Archeology [sic.] and the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. The first issue of The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era arrived a couple of days ago and I am looking forward to reading it this week. Already I have some ideas that center around the saterical social commentary illustrations of the period. I am hoping to make some connections and find inspiration for my dissertation in the one of these journals, or one of the other primary history journals as I get closer to that phase.

Things to come

You may have noticed, there is not much content here. My attention has been directed elsewhere, mainly with postgraduate studies. There are 14 days left (December 15, 2023) in my last class for my M.A. in History program, however, it dosn’t end there. A second M.A. in Public History starts in January and thanks to some advanced planning, completion of the second master’s will be in December of 2024. It will be head down and full-steam ahead to get the public history degree completed on time. The month between the fall and spring semesters will be dedicated to planning what happens next. One of the top items to be concidered is whether or not to pursue a terminal degree, if so, what major concentration, and where. I will be looking for degree related work throughout 2024 and will revisit the terminal degree question over the summer.

Degree antics aside, this post is an opportunity to ask myself a few questions about this website that will be reviewed over the winter break; what is this site for, what are its intentions and voice? Will it be a historically focused personal blog or a research publication and portfolio site? There is also the question of research focus which is important if pursuit of a terminal degree is the path forward.

While my primary area of historical focus has remained constant, subsets and concentrations have been flexible. The chronological period has remained relativly fixed to the Industrial Revolution about 1830 to 1939, though the roots of the Industrial Revolution in the U.S. go back to 1790 and Samual Slater’s cotton mill (1790-1808)1 and the Pawtucket labor strike of 1824.2 In the U.K. the first sparks of the Industrial Revolution can be seen as early as the 1760s with James Hargreaves invention of the Spinning Jenny3 (pat. 1770) and James Watt’s improved steam engine4 (pat. 1769). Topically, my interests are centered around the technologies of power, communications, and transportation. Other period considerations include the social and political aspects that allowed industrialization to take root in the first place, topics like social class mobility, international commerce, dependant economies, monopolies, workers rights, and social justice were all developing during this period. Any investigation into the topics above will quickly show how interconnected they all are.

These are questions to explore during the December/January break.

Until then,

  1. Gary Kulik, “Factory Discipline in the New Nation: Almy, Brown & Slater and the First Cotton-Mill Workers, 1790-1808,” The Massachusetts Review 28, no. 1 (1987): 164–84. ↩︎
  2. Gary Kulik, “Pawtucket Village and the Strike of 1824: The Origins of Class Conflict in Rhode Island,” Radical History Review 1978, no. 17 (May 1, 1978): 5–38. ↩︎
  3. Charlotte Moy, “Who Invented The Spinning Jenny?,” The Economic Historian, January 30, 2023, ↩︎
  4. “Industrial Revolution Timeline,” Britanica, accessed December 1, 2023, ↩︎