Welcome to the Keywords Collaboratory Wiki
This website is an interactive online space where classes or groups can work together on projects that take their method, focus, or inspiration from the meditations contained in Keywords for American Cultural Studies. Through this website -- what we call the “Keywords Collaboratory” -- we invite work that builds on the essays published in Keywords. The website is funded by theWalter Chapin Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington and NYU Press and is designed to encourage new, diverse forms and genres of inquiry.
Collaboration is Our Keyword
In Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (1976/1983), Raymond Williams described keywords as important elements in a living vocabulary. Both Keywords for American Cultural Studies and this website follow Williams's lead. Keywords invite research and reflection because debates about culture and society can be enhanced -- rather than resolved or shut down -- by an increased understanding of the multiple genealogies of their structuring terms and the diverse conflicts and disagreements embedded in differing and contradictory uses of those terms.
Keywords open onto a critical domain in which terms are not owned by any methodology, discipline, or field. Likewise, the study of culture and society through keywords is centered around dialogue and debate, collaboration and contestation. This is one reason we became interested in hosting an online space devoted to new work. Another is that that we can’t predict what will happen here. In our introduction to Keywords for American Cultural Studies, we conclude with a list of terms about which we would like to hear and read more, and we note that any such list is necessarily incomplete. These collaboratories are one place where this work and reflection can happen.
To facilitate the coordination of keyword projects among classes and working groups, the Keyword Collaboratory uses MediaWiki, the same technology as Wikipedia. The technology seemed adventageous to us because, by its design, it enables us to offer an “authoritative” narrative of the emergence of certain keywords while leaving an open space for articulating and challenging the type of cultural, social, political, and scholarly work that occurs through those terms. While we may borrow our technology from the growing force behind Wikipedia, we think our Keyword Collaboratory offers a good starting point for examining the “living vocabulary” used to guide work in American Studies and Cultural Studies.
How to Use Our WebSite
New to the Keywords Collaboratory website?
- Browse through the sort of keyword projects currently under development by clicking on the collaboratories featured in the left navigation.
- Review the keywords from the book that are currently available for discussion and debate by clicking on Keywords Under Discussion, and then selecting the discussion tab to post your comments.
- If you are an instructor of a class or an organizer of a working group: Look at the assignments and syllabi some instructors have developed to integrate Keywords for American Cultural Studies in the classroom. Or, consider what keyword or keywords you’d like to propose for your class or working group and contact us to set up a keyword collaboratory.
Returning to the website to participate in your class or working group’s collaboratory?
- Select your collaboratory from the left navigation to enter your class or working group area. To contribute to your collaboratory, click on the "edit" tab in your collaboratory and then enter your user ID and password.
- For tutorials on how to edit, discuss, or register for the Keyword Collaboratories Wiki, see our Help page.