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Introducing the "Interactive Essay" on A&P

Recently I posted a new “interactive essay” called “Arthur Evans’s Cretan Pictographs and Prae-Phoenician Scripts: “Breaking the Time Barrier Between Historic and Prehistoric Greece” onto the collaborative history blog that I administer called Antiquorum et Praesentis (www.antiquorumetpraesentis.com) The essay is the second of its kind posted on the site (the first was “The Early Christian Body” by Caitlin Purcell).

I like to call these essays “interactive,” because—unlike the traditional essay—they take their inspiration from Wikipedia in that they are filled with links to pages devoted to certain key topics that the essay mentions as well as with footnotes that are also “clickable”. This serves two purposes. First, it encourages readers to go down “bunny trails” and look more into detail at topics that the essay mentions but only discusses in a limited sense. Also, it provides a venue for the scholars who wrote the essays to work in their own “bunny trails” of research that went into the writing of the essay but may not have “made the cut” of the final draft. Also, scholars can always go back and add new links and footnotes to their posts as they continue to study and learn new things and elaborate more on topics discussed in their essays. In this way, the essay exists online as a living thing—growing and changing over time and ultimately linked to a series of other evolving works of scholarship.

As the editor of this website and author of several “interactive essays” (which are more to come in the future) I am still experimenting with the tools that Wordpress makes available for transforming my research and ultimately making it more useful and accessible. 

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