The Quick Guide
- Schedule your post’s publish date with the Medieval Institute (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Once you are set up on our site, login to WordPress and click on “Add New” under the “Posts” button in the left-hand column on the page.
- Put your title in the title bar, and type or paste your 500-1,000-word post into the text editor.
- Add images, but be sure to get permission for any photos not in the public domain. Indicate in bold where you want the photos to go, and email the image files (.jpg preferred) to the Medieval Institute (email@example.com).
- Select the appropriate categories and tags on the right-hand side of the page.
- Edit your work.
- Click on “submit for review.”
For more in-depth instructions, see the attached PDF document titled "Submission Guidelines."
Who writes our posts?
Most of our posts are written by members of Notre’s Dame’s medievalist community, both those in the Medieval Institute itself as well as medievalists in other departments. Many of these posts are written by a team of paid contributors, and many more are written on a volunteer basis by our graduate students, faculty, visiting scholars, alumni, and even undergraduates. Sometimes we also publish guest posts from non-ND affiliated scholars as well. If you are interested in submitting a post, please direct any questions or requests to the Medieval Institute (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What should I keep in mind when writing in this digital genre?
While our blog posts tend to be academic in nature, blog posts, even academic ones, differ from the types of writing many scholars are accustomed to in some fundamental ways. It is worth keeping some of the below points in mind as you write.
- How does my subject matter relate to the world today? This question relates to audience. We cater to a wide readership, including non-medievalists and the general public as well as the wider scholarly community. Some of those readers might be wondering why they should care about the Middle Ages, and making connections that show the relevance our work to the world today is an effective method for engaging all readers.
- How can I make my topic accessible to non-specialists, while still making it interesting for specialists to read? This one is admittedly a tough balance to strike, but is important nevertheless. My advice: do your best. You’ll get better at it with practice. Reduce your use of specialized jargon (or at least explain your terminology) and write as plainly as possible. Blog readers tend to read quickly, often skimming or using handheld devices, so aim for easy readability whenever possible.
- Images should advance content. Don’t plop in random pictures; rather, integrate them into your work because of their special relevance to your topic. Remember blog posts are a multimedia, text-image genre. As medievalists, we are uniquely suited to maximize on that potential since so many of the historical texts we study already contain multimedia elements. Make sure they are free of copyright, or else get copyright permissions. Alternatively, consider using your own images from the archives, your travels, attendance at relevant events, or wherever your imagination takes you. GIFs, YouTube videos, and audio files can all be integrated into the post as well as hyperlinks to other posts, pages, and sites.
- Your blogpost is a publication. Treat it as such. Online publications can go on your CV too. It might not be “worth” as much as a peer-reviewed article, but this is the 21st century; show people that you are part of it.
- Blogposts are short, an average of 500-1000 words. If you want to write something longer, split it into two or three parts, or publish a miniseries on a themed topic. We will be excited to help you with any of these options.
- Casual language is okay. And, you can talk about yourself too. Even though this site is professional, not all of the content needs to be formal. It’s okay to use personal pronouns and be conversational in tone.
- A blog post is not a journal article or a seminar paper. Careful documentation of your sources is extremely important and worthwhile, and we expect serious attention to citation in your work for us. However, while it is perfectly reasonable to include a short bibliography and/or some footnotes with your piece, blog articles do not require you to cite every source ever written on your topic. We know that you are well-read and qualified to write about your topic, or else we would not have added you to the schedule. Share what you know without the pressure of feeling like you need to prove your worthiness to do so.
What should I write about?
The short answer is anything related to the Middle Ages. But, if you’re having difficulty generating ideas, here are some topics that might get you started:
- Your research: Are you working on an article, monograph, conference paper, or seminar paper? Create a digest or abstract of it in the form of a blog post. You’ve already done the research and much of the writing; simply repackage it for our site. Alternatively, if you had to cut any exciting material from your drafts, write it up as a post instead. Blog posts can be a great way to advertise your forthcoming and recent publications, broadening your readership and making the content more accessible to non-specialists at the same time.
- Remember those grade school essays you once wrote about what you did over summer break? If you don’t feel like putting together a formal write-up of your recent research for the site, why not write a “what I did this summer” post? If you saw any cool manuscripts, visited any medieval ruins or churches, or even if you cooked up a medieval feast for fun, submit a post about it. You could even use your own photos. This site provides a great platform for sharing those learning experiences.
- Teach the public something cool about the Middle Ages. Maybe you have exciting lecture material sitting around from a successful lesson plan, or maybe you simply enjoy teaching others about the material you’ve devoted your life to studying. Write a public outreach piece that would make good supplementary reading material for undergraduates or high school students. Address a non-specialist readership that might include public intellectuals, donors, or anyone curious about the medieval period.
- Contribute to one of our special series. Our special series categories include topics such as “Working in the Archives,” “North Seas,” and “Undergrad Wednesdays.” Encourage your undergraduates to write for the “Undergrad Wednesdays” series, or make it a required assignment in your course.
- We also have some categories that focus on the state of the profession. These include “Pedagogy,” “Professional Development,” and “The Future of the Humanities.” You could also write about your experience attending or organizing an event.
- Translate a medieval text or excerpt of a longer work. Quality online translations have become indispensable these days, and we have a great ongoing series of translations coupled with audio recordings on our site! Our translations present the original text (or excerpt), a translation (sometimes diplomatic, sometimes more creative), and an audio recording of both the original and the translation. For questions and help, contact Richard Fahey (Richard.N.Fahey.email@example.com), who works directly with our translators. (*Update 3/19/20: The work of the several blog contributors, including Dr. Fahey, has been temporarily furloughed as part of the University of Notre Dame’s response to COVID-19. In his absence, please direct inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.)