August 1, 2020
Over the course of the summer, for a couple of hours every Friday afternoon, we came together as a team via Zoom to plan and plot out the Collaboratory. There were many questions. What should it do? Who is our audience? How can we address our disciplinary differences and represent the field of German Studies both broadly and equitably? Most of all, how can we make the Collaboratory of use?
It has been a long and winding road! Along the way, we’ve learned about new ways to organize collectively as a group, drawing on some snazzy new digital tools, like Trello. We’ve stared down some difficult questions about sources that might not best represent the times in which we live. We’ve discussed the demands of and differences in our various corners of the discipline, with rich conversations about how our colleagues do their work. Fundamentally, and with good humour, we have worked together, sharing skills and insights, troubleshooting, and figuring out what we might be able to do with a resource such as this.
At its base, the Collaboratory is about working together, sharing, creating, and giving back to the discipline and community. Although it was forged out of emergency teaching during the beginning stages of the global pandemic, its roots run much deeper. It draws inspiration from past and ongoing efforts to promote, well, collaboration, working together to spread resources and ideas, for the benefit of all of us writing, lecturing, teaching, and working in German Studies. It is part workshop, part mutual aid, with decision-making shared collectively within the Team. It is about recognizing that we are teachers as well as scholars, that what happens in the classroom is both vital and urgent, and that we all, collectively, bear some responsibility that good quality, critical, scholarly material makes its way into the public sphere.
This experiment in German Studies is precisely that, experimental. It is open-ended and evolving. Over the course of the next weeks, we’ll be uploading more and more material for use in the classroom this fall, including advance access to GHI video material from the German History Intersections project. We will continue to archive recorded webinars and guest lecturers. And we hope to receive more syllabi and teaching ideas from all across the field.
We are excited to give this project life, and hope, together with all of you reading, and clicking, and making your way through the site, to make the Collaboratory a resource we might all be proud of.
The GSC Team