History in 280 Characters
Johanna Mellis, Assistant Professor of History
By Susanna Throop
Professor of History and Department Chair
Let’s be honest. History scholars are not often associated with this era of social media and instantaneous information sharing across the Internet. They’re much more comfortable thumbing through dusty tomes in the back of a library than sending a Tweet. Right?
Digital technology has not only changed the way people consume information, but how historians think, write, and teach. Johanna Mellis, a former Division I student-athlete whose scholarship focuses on international sport during the Cold War, expertly uses the digital space to promote scholarly discourse. On her End of Sport podcast, she engages with co-hosts and guests on timely and provocative topics that impact amateur and pro athletes. She co-authored a TIME magazine piece challenging the resumption of NCAA Division I football in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been an outspoken critic of the exploitation of unpaid college athletes, and regularly uses Twitter to spark thought-provoking discussion.
Engaging online requires not only professional expertise, but also strong communication skills, a willingness to converse, ethical conviction, and resilience. It takes serious time, energy, and commitment. 280 thoughtful characters at a time, Dr. Mellis shares knowledge, engages the public, and supports and inspires literal thousands. She is a public intellectual for the twenty-first century.