Today’s research gem is from Digs and Docs by John R. Roby. An anthropologist explains his interest in an obscure document connected to the Titanic.
I could quite happily spend an entire day traipsing from one blog to the next reading stories about Titanic and other topics, discovering writers and researchers who share my passion for historical research. Alas, with work assignments to complete, I rarely find large enough blocks of time to indulge in such delicious, and time consuming meanderings. Yet, when I do, I am almost always rewarded.
Truth be told, you have to find your way through so much junk and regurgitation before you hit the true gems. But the gems are there, and they must be shared.
This prompts to me start a new category on this blog, which I will call “Research Gems” to recognize thoughtful and interesting work. All of the reposted work will have RG: in the title so it can be easily found.
About Digs and Docs
I decided to launch Digs and Docs for a very simple reason: To cover topics that I want to read about. I follow a good number of blogs, including more than a few on archaeology and history. But none of them are focused on the many and fascinating ways that material culture, historical documents, culture, and the past and present, intersect. A fundamental premise of mine, one that is widely held in my field, is that the objects (material culture) and writings (documents, archives) of people in the past are not merely of the past, but in a very real sense, are part of the present. They influence the ways we think and act today, and are part of our understanding of who we are as contemporary people living as part of a contemporary society. Too often, though, we seem to forget this. We imagine that our cultural landscape is something new and unique to us, without precedent in human history. We fail to realize that our present is merely a point in the grand sweep of history, and the past has exerted a strong influence on the makeup of that present.