Robert A. Karl Profile picture
Colombia past + present; author of #ForgottenPeace/#LaPazOlvidada. Digital research. Asylum advocate. Frmly @Princeton, @the_IAS
Dana Carlton Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
29 Aug 19
More thoughts on my book #ForgottenPeace + the nearly 3-year-old peace process in Colombia, after today's news that a group of FARC commanders are rearming 1/
I was supposed to spend today revising a much-overdue article on the FARC's founding myths + preparing a presentation on Colombia's current security situation for an upcoming international conference on asylum. Both questions come together in today's news 2/
(Thread will be slow to unfold, as school hasn't started yet here + my kids are still home. Espero publicar el hilo pronto en español también) 3/
Read 54 tweets
21 Jun 19
How to get archive catalog entries from PDF to a spreadsheet, using Zotfile and regular expressions. Still plan to do a video on this later, but for now here’s the process via thread. #twitterstorians #regex 1/
What you'll need: app to mark up the PDF (I use iAnnotate on the iPad; Preview works too), @Zotero plus Zotfile, non-Word text editor (I use TextMate on Mac; hear Notepad++ is great for PC) for regular expressions, spreadsheet app 2/
Regular expressions are a sort of syntax used across varying programming languages. Think of them as a fancy find-and-replace. I can't do them justice here (there are plenty of guides online), but here's a cheat sheet for the commands I model here 3/
Read 13 tweets
3 Jun 19
Rising college junior who's just declared as a history major? Congratulations! Interested in getting a jump on next year + beyond? Following several conversations I've had on this IRL, here are a couple pieces of advice. #twitterstorians 1/
These are largely things I would cover in a junior methods seminar. Hopefully your dept. has one; maybe it comes as a senior capstone. Whatever the case, it's never too early or late to start thinking about working more efficiently or improving your writing 2/
Tip #1: Sign up for @zotero. If that's as far as you get, you're already ahead. To unlock next level, check out a quick tutorial (, see how you might add sources. Formatting notes/bibliography can wait until the fall 3/
Read 11 tweets
15 Feb 19
Trump’s emergency declaration + what it means for US democracy over the medium to long term has echoes in my research on Colombian politics in the 20th century 1/
Under Colombia’s 1886 constitution (in place until 1991), the president could declare a state of siege “in cases of foreign war, or internal upheaval.” This gave him authority to suspend existing legislation, issue extraordinary decrees 2/
The state of siege was invoked several times between 1886 + the 1940s, often on a regional basis. The key moment came in July 1944, a group of military officers + Conservative Party collaborators kidnapped President Alfonso López. The govt declared a nationwide state of siege 3/
Read 9 tweets
9 Jan 19
With #AHA19 out of the way, the new year has begun for #twitterstorians. If one of your resolutions is to do research more effectively, here are my methods videos from 2018. In this thread, I'll break down the videos w/ separate links for each section
Using the library. This also introduces the color-coding scheme that undergirds keeping my entire approach to organizing research materials.
Keeping up on books in your field.
Read 23 tweets
6 Oct 18
El 6 de diciembre se cumplirá el 90o aniverario de la masacre de las #bananeras
Para conmemorar la masacre, voy a tuitear durante los próximos meses sobre los momentos claves de la movilización social que culminó en la masacre y sobre los efectos de la masacre. #bananeras90
La masacre de las #bananeras es el sujeto de uno de los capítulos de mi segundo libro. Sería útil trabajar los documentos con todos acá
Read 118 tweets
6 Oct 18
December 6 is the 90th anniversary of the massacre of Colombian banana workers, which García Márquez's 100 Years of Solitude made one of the best-known events in Colombian history
I'll be tweeting over the coming months to commemorate significant moments in the mobilization leading up to December 6 + in the massacre's long aftermath. #bananeras90
The massacre is the subject of a chapter of my second book, so I'm looking forward to working through some of the material out loud. ht too to @ErikLoomis' tweets on This Day in Labor History for inspiration
Read 106 tweets
21 Jul 18
I visited 16 archives on 3 continents, took digital photos of 100K+ pgs of archival material, + gathered thousands more pgs in other formats to write #ForgottenPeace. As a result, I have a comprehensive system of archival methodologies + best practices #twitterstorians
I’ve given yearly workshops on these methods to colleagues, grad students, + undergrads @Princeton, as well as @UConnHistory. I’ve long thought of recording the presentations, both to share these ideas w/ a larger audience + to get feedback to improve my own practices
So here are my two videos on research methods for historians
1) (13:19)
2) (26:03)
Read 12 tweets
4 Jun 18
It’s that time of year for tenure/job/fellowship announcement tweets. I have my own professional news to share, but it’s not like most of what’s out there

I wasn’t awarded tenure + will be leaving Princeton this time next year
It's been as seismic a development as one might expect. And tenure’s an inhumane process regardless of outcome. So there have been no shortage of difficult moments since the decision came down in the fall

But you know what? I’ve never once thought about it in terms of failure
I’m terribly proud of #ForgottenPeace. The translation just came out in Colombia, a year after original edition. Last month's launch was as fulfilling a professional accomplishment as I could ever hope for. 13 years after my 1st trip, my work is receiving an incredible reception
Read 12 tweets
30 Sep 17
Start of the academic year is a great time to adopt new practices for research/organization/productivity. #twitterstorians
Now that semester’s settled in, some tips. In rough order of usefulness. Most helpful for all levels, from undergrad up, across disciplines
1) Stop taking notes in Word. Various options for better search, organization, functionality, etc; I use @devontech’s DEVONthink Personal
Read 29 tweets