Monday, November 19, 2007

Plans and Prospects

As many of you know, I'll be relocating from Ohio to Oregon sometime in the late spring/early summer of 2008. Teaching work has dried up out here, so it seems like time to move. I'll be close to my parents and to a number of friends from Ohio who moved out there. Even if I stay poor, there will be mountains in the background, which is a big consolation for a guy who's been living on an ancient lake bed for eighteen years. All of this has, of course, meant a little shuffling of priorities. I have access to resources right now that I won't have in a few months, so a certain amount of final gleaning is a priority. I'll be doing some local research travel, particularly to pick up some bits and pieces by Josiah Warren and Joshua King Ingalls, and I'll be setting the stage for a few other projects. That work goes well: my most recent dip into The Boston Investigator yielded scarce work by Josiah Warren, Paul Brown, Orestes Brownson, Lewis Masquerier, (equitable commerce advocates) Maria and Thomas Varney, Peter I. Blacker, and William West. I should soon have William B. Greene's "Omega" articles from the Worcester Palladium. (Thanks again, Brady, for the assist!) Almost imperceptibly, we've advanced to a point where the vast majority of known work by Greene, Warren, Ingalls, and Stephen Pearl Andrews are available online, or are waiting in the OCR/transcription queue. And we've added substantially to that category of known works. The job is far from over, but it does seem that now is the time to start seriously thinking about how to use this significant collection of anarchist texts. My plans are these:
  • I'll be attempting to start teaching the "anarchist curriculum" online by sometime in the summer of 2008. Expect more discussion of educational counter-institutions in the interim.
  • I will be doing some sort of face-to-face course/lecture series locally, beginning just after the first of the year, as a wrap-up for my friends and comrades in Ohio, and as a summing-up between my various project here and their continuation after the move.
  • Once I'm settled in Oregon, I hope to get a couple of book projects completed. First priority will be the long-in-the-works scholarly edition of William B. Greene's Equality and 1850 Mutual Banking, together with a "digital variorum" collecting the various states and editions of the mutual bank writings. That project will still require a chunk of translation from Leroux and some picky collation work, but most of that should be done before I leave Ohio. Much of it is already done.
  • I want to follow the Greene edition with a short text on searching digital archives, and, perhaps, another short academic intro to doing intellectual history in the digital age.
  • I'll also be looking to connect with anarchist in the Pacific Nothwest, to enlist additional instructors for our online anarchist school, and to make some decisions about how to pursue the print publication of the public domain works I have accumulated.

The development of the online courses should clarify the shape of the digital archive. In some ways, it already has. There is still a possibility that I will pursue a graduate degree in library science, and make that side of things my job, but, honestly, I'm currently a little too worn out to make big career decisions. I've got a good support system in Oregon, and can take a little time to reinvent myself vocationally.

The question of counter-institutions, and how we support those who contribute to them, remains one of the critical ones. I would love to hear from others with projects that might intersect, support, or draw support from the things that I'm planning and doing. I would particularly love to hear from anarchists outside the market tradition who might be interested in participating in a cost-priced online education effort.

1 comment:

Presto said...

Once you get out to Oregon, drop me a line. I live near Seattle, and I'd welcome a chance to get together with you and other anarchists in the NW.