My name is Devin Leigh, and I am a graduate History student and teacher’s assistant at the University of California Davis in Yolo County, California. Occasionally, I also teach classes as an adjunct History instructor at Solano Community College (SCC) in Solano County, California. The Zamani Reader (abbreviated as TZR) is a blog that I created in 2014 to be a free and open forum for sharing my academic work in the field of History.
In the past, TZR has featured posts about History in a variety of formats, including academic book reviews and précis, personal reflections, notable quotes, news and announcements, class lectures, interviews, recommended resources, links to online materials, and feature-length articles. The featured articles have ranged from research prospectuses to bibliographical essays, historiographies, and research papers. Recently, at the start of summer, 2017, I decided to take TZR to a new level. I have explained my decision in the paragraphs below:
I first created TZR on Saturday afternoon, February 1, 2014. It evolved out of my experience writing posts for a different blog, known as The Lakefront Historian, when I was an MA student at Loyola University Chicago. During the first three-and-a-half years of running TZR, I treated the blog as a supplement to, and a release valve for, my more-formal studies in graduate school. As such, I never adhered to a very reliable or consistent posting schedule. Instead, the only way I felt that I could make a blog work with my commitments in school was to partner it with my academic course-work, adapting and posting materials as I completed them for my professors. This strategy meant that, while my posts often aligned closely with my personal research interests, they more-generally reflected the assignments that I was given by my professors at any particular moment.
Recently, I passed over a threshold in my journey towards my doctorate degree. During the 2016-2017 academic year, I started conducting research for my potential dissertation project. Since I plan to publish this research in a more formal venue some day, I chose not to post about it on TZR. Then, in the spring of 2017, I finished with my graduate course-work entirely. As a result, I am no longer being assigned and producing papers for school that I can re-post on TZR. Rather, I am focusing my time on studying for my comprehensive examinations and preparing for my dissertation prospectus, both of which, god willing, are supposed to occur in the fall of 2018 . If I successfully complete these two stages of the PhD process, then I will begin several years of intensive research and writing for my dissertation project. Like much of the work that I undertook in the 2016-2017 academic year, I will be saving these writings for publication in a forum other than TZR. This means that, in order for TZR to survive and even thrive in an organic way, it will have to be adapted to meet these new circumstances.
In order to adjust TZR to this next phase of my career and to ensure that the project is continually moving forward, I have chosen to take the blog in a couple of new directions. For the first time ever, TZR will begin accepting submissions for outside content starting in the fall of 2017. (Please see the “Submissions to the Blog” page for more information.) Hopefully, this new aspect of TZR will help the website continue featuring new material, while also making the site more dynamic by expanding the diversity of its voices and by making its production much more interactive. Second, I am planning to produce material in a couple of new forums. In particular, I am hoping to begin producing video blogs that discuss some of the books I am reading for my comprehensive examinations. For me, these new directions are a fresh reminder that TZR is a continually evolving project.
For more information about TZR, please check out some of the pages cataloged beneath this one, browse older posts in the “Search the Archives” section, or send me a message via the “Contact the Author” page. Thanks for supporting TZR, and best wishes.