History Slam Episode Eighty-Five: Slow Scholarship

By Sean Graham

To paraphrase John Mulaney, kids are upset when there is nothing do, but adults are ecstatic at the thought of doing nothing. (He presents this theory in a much more entertaining way) Ultimately, the joke gets to the point that everyone seems overworked. This is an issue in both the public and private sectors, despite the jokes I make at the expense of my friends in the public sector in Ottawa. It just seems as though there is always work to be done – even when working hours are over.

In academia, one of the ways in which people have started to deal with this issue is slow scholarship. I have to admit that when I first heard the term slow scholarship, I had an immediate reaction to what that would mean, but as I read more, I discovered that it could be an effective way towards a better work-life balance. In a recent article in University Affairs, the case for slow scholarship way made by a group of 11 faculty members from across the country.

In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with one of the article’s authors, Alison Mountz of Laurier and Harvard. We talk about the Canada Program at Harvard, the Canada Research Chair program, and the origins of the group’s efforts at slow scholarship. Around the 20 minute mark we get into slow scholarship in greater detail and discuss what it means, how it can be practiced, and the gendered and racialized environments in which we all work.

Sean Graham is a William Lyon Mackenzie King post-doctoral fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University where he studies the history of North American media and broadcasting. He is an editor at Activehistory.ca and host/producer of the History Slam Podcast.

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