Working Papers now on the site!

Working Papers (WPs) are new to the site. These are drafts that I’ve pre-circulated in advance of a talk, or distillations of the main bits of a talk (that may not have been prepared in paper form at all) some time after I’ve delivered it. I decided to incorporate this into my website after realizing a few things:

  1. I tend to treat talks and lectures as opportunities to explore new ideas rather than spaces to rehash material that I’ve already published.
  2. I spend a lot of time preparing for these talks, many of which don’t wind up as publications (or take lots and lots of time to get there), and so
  3. unless you happened to be able to physically attend a talk that I’ve given, we won’t have the opportunity to talk and think together about a bunch of things I’m working on and would really love more conversation and feedback on. (We are all so busy and over-committed. I know that I, at least, don’t get to half of the talks I’d like to – even those happening at my home institution – because of scheduling conflicts and general exhaustion. And when I do make it to a talk, even if it’s a talk I’m really inspired by, the Q&A format doesn’t naturally lend itself to meaningful exchange and extended dialogue. And when there does seem to be a spark of something that emerges during Q&A, once I’m back home after the talk, All Of The Things rush in to fill whatever space was sitting there happily waiting for me to fill it with ongoing dialogue with that day’s speaker. Maybe you are somewhat like me, and maybe you, too, have experienced something like this.)
  4. I like people, and I like talking with people about ideas, and especially about ideas I’m actively trying to work through.
  5. Historians often do this ridiculous “Do Not Circulate” thing on paper drafts. (I, too, am ridiculous and am part of the problem: I have done the “Do Not Circulate” thing many, many times.) I’ve decided to try to subvert this ridiculous “Do Not Circulate” thing.

And so, here we are. I won’t post everything that’s talk-related as a WP, but I’ll try to post things that feel like they would benefit from sustained dialogue, stuff I want feedback on, etc. I’ll try to be good about posting updates to the page for a WP if that WP winds up morphing into something else – a publication, a blog post, another paper, etc.

On citation and circulation of WPs: Feel free to circulate these papers. I’ll just ask – for your sake as well as mine, since these are screamingly in-progress drafts that I may totally disagree with in time and that may contain all kinds of horrible errors – that if you cite these papers anywhere you include the phrase “A Working Paper” in the title.

I’ll post the first one later today, and you can find the new WP category under the “Text” menu above.

Warm wishes from Vancouver,



I support an academic culture that recognizes and acknowledges web-based media as forms of publication. Please feel free to cite anything on this blog using the format indicated below:

For Working Papers: Carla Nappi,”Working Paper: Title of Post,” Date, URL.

For everything else: Carla Nappi,”Title of Post,” Date, URL.

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