medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Dear friends

I also put this message to one side, but I am very grateful for your thoughtfulness!  The ball is rather in my court now – and Jo Ann’s example of a group of feminist scholars in New York makes me think that one does need a group of people for mutual support and to tap into any available help.  The internet allows one to belong to a virtual society that is world wide, but I think a group of independent scholars would benefit from geographical closeness. 

So if there are any independent/retired/unemployed scholars of matters medieval out there who live within striking distance of London or Cambridge, I would love to hear from you!

many thanks

Cate

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From: medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jo Ann McNamara
Sent: 06 March 2007 20:45
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [M-R] helping

 

Sometimes I put notes from the list aside with good intentions and then the mail piles up and I get way behind.  So it is with Catherine Gunn's important reminder that the lack of institutional affiliation (or lack of access to a major research library) is a severe handicap for some of our members.  I have been trying to think of a solution to her plea for a helping system without immediate success.  Back in the 70s when the job market fell apart, the same situation boiled over.  At that time, a group of feminist scholars in New York tried to address certain aspects of the situation with some success.  We formed an Institute for Research in History and some of the leaders (not, alas, me) learned how to get it registered as an official grant-eligible institution.  This provided an important umbrella for independent scholars.  Catch-22 is that lots of grants are not open to people not affiliated with an institution that gathers in the overhead.  In our case, the overhead was used to open an office and provide limited employment for a couple of people.  The Institute required members to belong to seminar groups to provide a scholarly community.  Actually, some of those groups are still functioning even though the Institute ultimately faded away as the world of grants got narrower.  Still, I think this is a problem that a community of scholars should still try to solve.  We might also think whether or not it would be possible for larger institutions to create some sort of system for extending JStor or other on-line privileges to eligible scholars.  Some universities offer library privileges to scholars in their immediate community (as does Columbia University) but in the world of the net, this might be extended with profit to all.

 

Sometimes identifying a problem is an important step in the direction of solving it, so I hope this communique helps in that direction.

 

Jo Ann McNamara

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