Call for Collaboration

I'm very excited to announce the next phase of the Ecclesiastical Proust Archive. It is now hosted by the Center for Media and Learning at the CUNY Graduate Center and will become a collaborative project. Upcoming changes are detailed below.

If you'd like to participate in a lively writing community, to have a substantial editorial impact, or to develop technical features of the archive (you don't have to do it all), with the goal of creating a critically acclaimed scholarly resource, please contact Jeff Drouin at

1. Blogging Staff:

A lively community of writers in any language to explore topics related to Proust and this archive. The topics might include but are in no way limited to the following.

  • Proust, the Recherche, other works.
  • Translation and other editorial issues.
  • Textual issues and theory.
  • Technology and digital media.
  • Information, communication, archives.
  • Copyright and the economics/politics of publishing.
  • Narratology.
  • Aesthetics, synaesthesia.
  • Architecture and the visual arts.
  • Literature and the humanities.
  • Pedagogy and education.
  • Disciplinarity and the future of academia.
  • Conference reports.
  • Book and website reviews.

Posts could be as long or short, as frequent or infrequent as desired. We would work out a mission and editorial policy together, but at present I see the blog's basic purpose as mining these interdisciplinary issues collaboratively, over time, using the same central text(s). My primary inspiration for this is the fantastic if:book blog at

2. Archive Enhancement / Development:

Another major change will be the addition of French components, including the search engine and possibly some of the static content such as the about page and rationale. Scholars of French will be critical to ensuring that these are done correctly.

A. Develop a French version of the search engine. This involves:

  • Editorial decisions on which text(s) to use.
  • Reading the volumes to record or copy-paste the church-related passages into the database and determine their interpretive keys...
  • ...which entails additional editorial and scholarly decisions.
  • Apply for a Grad Center study-grant (probably about $500) to compensate scholars for their time in this activity.
  • Most likely each person working on this would read/transcribe only one volume so the burden is not overly great.

B. Determine whether and how French parts of the site should be developed:

  • Should there be an entire French version of the site?
  • Or should certain pages include both French and English? If so, how is this best designed?

C. Devise and implement enhancements to the search engine. Some ideas I have at present are:

  • Rewrite the search engine in PHP/MySQL (it's currently in ASP/Access on a different server) to make it more extensible.
  • Develop a comparative (i.e. English + French) component of the search engine.
  • Develop a variorum component of the search engine.
  • Devise and implement any other major or minor changes in search functionality.

D. Make general enhancements or changes to the site:

  • Improve the layout, color palette, navigation, sidebar widgets, banner image, etc.
  • Change images that appear in the search results and image galleries, possibly because they are a better match...
  • This might include researching the originals of churches mentioned in the Recherche.
  • Editing existing images for better clarity or color quality.

E. Apply for grants at the Grad Center or other institutions:

  • Get compensation for time spent on editorial and development activities.
  • Being able to say people gave us money would make us (look) prestigious.

F. Get the Ecclesiastical Proust Archive peer-reviewed, widely known, and recognized:

  • Work together to find journals and other resources to assess the site.
  • Attend conferences, panels, and other gatherings.
  • This could be the chance to (a) make a great scholarly resource that people will use and (b) add a really nice line to a CV.

Basically, I'm opening the door to scholars and developers interested in working on any or all aspects of this project. I can't offer any compensation unless we get grant money. However, participation in this project constitutes substantial editorial and scholarly practice, as well as theoretical rigor, making it a significant addition to a CV, especially if it gets recognition.

One last addition: many aspects of this project are on the cutting edge of the disciplines it crosses, giving it the potential for spinoff projects and scholarly publication. One thing to consider might be the collaborative writing of a scholarly book (print or online?) after the project has run for a while and we have results to assess. But for now that might be a more appropriate topic for a blog or discussion forum posting.