8 Fave Twitterstorians: An Introduction to History Twitter

Twitter is one of the most powerful platforms yet devised for historians to connect with their audiences. #Twitterstorians has become a rallying cry for tenured academics and graduate students alike as they struggle to push back against a tsunami of online ignorance and historical myopia.

Although my account has more followers than the median of 61 (https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/12/its-a-lonely-world-the-median-twitter-user-has-1-measly-follower/282513/), my Twitter journey is only just beginning. Nevertheless, I've found a few excellent #Twitterstorians worth following for their commentary, insight, and levity. Most of these academics are affiliated with the University of Virginia, as that's where I completed my undergraduate studies.

The first account I'd like to introduce to you is that of @Jalane_Schmidt. Her confrontational moniker: Jalane Smash the Fash Schmidt. An activist academic affiliated with the University of Virginia, Jalane Schmidt participated in the rowdy counter-protests against the fascist occupation of Charlottesville on August 12, 2017, marching alongside myself and Cornel West. I took one of her classes during my time at UVA, but I doubt she remembers me anymore. She specializes in Afro-Caribbean religious practices, particularly in Cuba, although her posts tend to be less about her work and more about her politics.

Another excellent account to follow: @chrisjudetaylor. Chris Taylor is a specialist in cultures of slavery and emancipation at the University of Chicago. Although he's affiliated with the English Department, his work on CLR James and other radical Afro-Caribbean historians locates him within the broader historiographical dialogue on his area of expertise. A Marxist-influenced anarchist, his tweets are primarily humorous and/or sardonic.

Brian Balogh, one of the hosts of the renowned podcast BackStory, has an active Twitter account (@historyfellow), where he posts about both American political history and contemporary US politics. He shares content that seeks to situate the confusing, tumultuous world of the Trump regime within the context of the American longue duree.

@CallMeRichier, the Twitter persona of Leah Richier, a historian of death in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, was an excellent find. Richier's been working overtime, for the present situation with SARS-CoV-2 has brought her area of research to the fore in the public's consciousness.

The Disability History Association's content always hits home with me as an individual with Bipolar I. @DisabilityHistr shares biographical tidbits, primary source excerpts, and other little treasures relating to the experiences of people with disabilities over the course of the last several centuries. If you're up for a strong dose of sobering reality, I strongly recommend giving them a look.

@christinamobley is the handle of the eponymous Christina Mobley, a historian of Africa and the Caribbean at the University of Virginia. She describes herself as "a dyslexic advocate of neurodiversity and decolonizing the university." Mobley's deeply interested in revolutionary Haiti and its participants' connections with the Kingdom of Kongo, but her tweets generally revolve around politics and the rigor of academic life. She's always willing to serve up a hefty plate of sarcasm!

The Twitter account of the Scottish Court of Session Project at the UVA Law Library (@UVALAWSCOS) offers its followers a fascinating glimpse into the world of yesteryear. Jim Ambuske and Loren Moulds spearhead this project, an ambitious effort to digitize a large corpus of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century legal records from Scotland's highest court.

@DH_at_UVA is a unified clearinghouse for those interested in content relating to digital humanities projects at the University of Virginia, including the aforementioned SCOS Project. They share content that goes beyond history to include intriguing scholarly undertakings such as Tyler Jo Smith's 3D Greek Vases Project, whose participants scan and 3D print archaeological artifacts from the Fralin Art Museum in Charlottesville for pedagogical purposes.

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