In seeking a post on the H-Net council, I propose neither revolution nor simply reprising past success strategies. But we must admit that our medium and our network have matured. Recently, the question of how to wrestle with the opportunities and difficulties tied to H-Net's success story has garnered significant discussion on the various administrative lists. We have speculated about ways to ensure consistent revenue streams, how to manage effectively the burgeoning production of book reviews, and how to make use of new technologies or platforms to expand the kinds of intellectual offerings that H-Net can provide. I have no magic bullet to eliminate all H-Net's dilemmas. I do, however, want to propose a different kind of conversation about these issues and to think briefly about some ways that that conversation might be realized.
1) H-Net plays a vital role in the global scholarly community. Yet its continue vitality depends on its ability to play a role as part of that community not as a self-contained intellectual space.
To that end, I believe H-Net must consider ways to expand its interaction with scholarly spaces beyond H-Net's "virtual walls." Recent conversations about the shape of affiliations with other societies and organizations strikes me as a vital step, not in the direction of central regimentation but rather as part of a set of mutually reinforcing connections that might be realized in conference participation, print journal collaboration, and expanded online discussion. H-Net is not an alternative to "traditional" scholarly venues but, like them, part of a much broader intellectual enterprise.
2) While H-Net is ultimately more than the sum of its member lists, it nonetheless must take seriously the identity, purpose, and function of these diverse lists, acknowledging their sub-disciplinary demands, respecting their differing forms of discourse, and accepting that they will never all be having the same conversations.
As much as new technologies and an expanding web presence offer exciting opportunities for H-Net to speak to expanded constituencies and broader publics, I believe that the intellectual work happening on and through the lists remain at the heart of H-Net's intellectual work. This process is necessarily content-driven, and we must be committed to the highest quality of posting and exchanges. In 1995 a list could perhaps begin with nothing and generate sustainable momentum, now I believe the content must be there first. We should be cautious about approving new lists and Balkanizing our existing intellectual communities without compelling reason.
3) Creating a sense of coherent sense of H-Net community depends on transparency of operation and intensity of communication.
I believe H-Net leadership must be committed to regular and expansive communication to its constituent editors and lists, transparent and vigorous debate about potential strategies and policies, and open and detailed discussion about the technical, financial, and organizational structures with which H-Net must operate yet which remain only partially visible to many of those committed to and interested in H-Net's future.
I have been list editor at H-German since 2002 and my candidacy is very much an outgrowth of the intellectual and organizational efforts we have undertaken on that list. A member of the third generation of H-German editors, I am conscious of the need to balance a commitment to the legacy of past achievements with a readiness to evolve to face new challenges. In that spirit, I stand as a candidate committed to transparency, flexibility, and the broad intellectual work for which H-Net is an increasingly vital part.
Thanks for your consideration.