December 19, 2008
In Search of New Frontiers: How Scholars Generate Ideas
In my second year of graduate school, the historian Michael Kammen brought a file folder to the first session of his Colonial America seminar. In it were several dozen term-paper topics that Kammen believed could yield publishable articles or dissertations. Our own ideas were not barred, but we all chose one of the subjects suggested by the man who had just won a Pulitzer Prize for People of Paradox.
What we did not know was how he had decided that those particular topics deserved