Marie Pellissier, Graduate Student, Loyola University Chicago

Proposal Type


  • Seeking Additional Presenters
  • Seeking General Feedback and Interest
Related Topics
  • Digital
  • Inclusion

The first British edition of Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense offers a fascinating look into the British reaction to the American Revolution and a reminder of the global consequences of the American Revolution. Exploring the global dimensions of the American Revolution is critical to understanding how our nation came to be, and facilitating access to primary sources like the British printing of Common Sense is essential to that goal. We have created a digital critical edition of J. Almon’s first edition of Common Sense. Using Omeka and various plugins, particularly, we seek to engage a variety of audiences with broad ideas about the American Revolution and facilitate audience interaction with this important primary source.


We are seeking to put our digital critical edition of Common Sense in conversation with other digital projects that work to break down access barriers to primary sources. We want to explore narratives of power in a number of different aspects of this project. Firstly, there are narratives of power in Common Sense itself, through the redactions made by the printer in order to avoid arrest for libel and the dissemination of the text. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, we are interested in the dynamics of power inherent in the digital format itself. What power do we have as creators/administrators, and in what ways can or should we practice shared authority with our audiences? How does the digital platform itself both facilitate and create barriers to access and power in participating and contributing to content? How do we best distribute our project so that it can serve a purpose outside of fluffing up our CV’s and invite feedback and make modifications to better serve our users?

We are looking for panelists who have worked on or are working on digital projects who have encountered similar questions, particularly questions of shared authority and distribution. We are interested in proposing either a panel or a working group, and would welcome feedback on focusing the proposal and selecting a format that would work best for this discussion. As of right now we are leaning towards a panel discussion, but would be interested in a roundtable or other format if that would work better. The beta version of the website Explore Common Sense is available at

If you have a direct offer of assistance, sensitive criticism, or wish to pass along someone’s contact information confidentially, please get in contact directly: Marie Pellissier, [email protected]

If you have general ideas or feedback to share, please feel free to use the comments feature below.

All feedback and offers of assistance should be submitted by July 2, 2017.


  1. Courtney Hobson says:

    Hi Marie,

    I recommend getting in contact with Joe Tropea at the Maryland Historical Society. He is the Digital Projects Coordinator and is in charge of the Preserve the Baltimore Uprising Project: He might be a good person to talk to about this.

  2. lara kelland says:

    hi marie! hope you’re well!

    our working group from 2017 on digital public history and civic engagement is planning to propose a follow up on best practices. it sounds like this might be a like-minded vision. so, if you don’t find folks with whom to propose a traditional panel, drop me a note at lara dot kelland at gmail dot com and i’ll put you in touch with them.


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