Announcing the Sixth Annual UHA/The Metropole Graduate Student Blogging Contest

The Metropole/Urban History Association Graduate Student Blogging Contest exists to encourage and train graduate students to blog about history—as a way to teach beyond the classroom, market their scholarship, and promote the enduring value of the humanities.

This year, the contest prompt is slightly different than it has been in the past. From topical themes like “life cycles” and “embrace,” we are pivoting to a theme related to the craft of writing prose. Blog posts are a unique format, not short journal articles, and so we want to encourage contest entrants to think beyond argumentation and evidence and focus on the affective elements of their narratives.

The 2022 theme is The Senses. Tell a story about any time, topic, person, or place in urban history that foregrounds sight, sound, smell, taste, or touch. Immerse the reader in the world of your story and make them feel like they are there. Posts can be from your perspective as the historian-researcher (i.e., you are the first-person narrator), from the perspective of historical actors (i.e., third person), or a combination of the two. Successful posts do not need to be about senses or make an argument related to senses, but must use vivid descriptions of at least one sense.

All submissions that address the theme and meet the guidelines outlined below will be accepted. The Metropole’s editors will work with contest contributors to refine their submissions and prepare them for publication.

In addition to getting great practice writing for the web and experience working with editors, the winner will receive a certificate and a $150 prize!

The contest is now open to submissions, and the deadline for entries is Friday, July 1 Update, Friday July 15, 2022. Entries must be emailed to Posts will run on the blog in August and early September, and we will announce the winners in October. Finalists will have their entries reviewed by three award-winning historians.

Contest Guidelines

  1. Contest entrants must be enrolled in a graduate program.
  2. Contest entrants must be members of the UHA. A one-year membership for graduate students costs $25 and includes free online access to the Journal of Urban History.
  3. Contest submissions must be original posts not published elsewhere on the web.
  4. Contest submissions must be in the form of an essay related to the theme of “the senses.” Essays can be about your research, historiography (but not book reviews), or methodology.
  5. We encourage contest entrants to read Lessons Learned from Three Years of the Blogging Contest. Essays that stick to the following criteria will be most successful:
    1. Write for a non-academic audience and assume no prior knowledge.
    2. Don’t try to do too much; focus on one argument, intervention, or event.
    3. Spend more time showing than telling.
    4. Include images and illustrations that help the reader visualize the people, places, or sources you write about.
  6. Posts must be received by the editors ( by Friday, July 1, 2022 Update, July 15, 2022 at 11:59 PM EST to be eligible for the contest.
  7. Posts should be at least 700 words, but not exceed 2000 words.
  8. Links or footnotes must be used to properly attribute others’ scholarship, reporting, images, and media. The Metropole follows the Chicago Manual of Style for citation formatting.

Featured image (at top): “Second floor, north corridor. Mural depicting Hearing of the Five Senses, by Robert Reid. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, DC.” Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith (2011), Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

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