In scientific fields collaboration is the norm. There are distinct roles aside from the principal investigator, like, I suppose, the person who does the stats, everyone who performs the experiments physically.
In the humanities, the model is much more that you do your own work. There is no lab; there may be a working group. It is much more the model of the arts, where one person writes a symphony or a novel (typically). You don't imagine Proust writing a novel with a friend of his. There are collaborative poem, but they tend to be lighter in nature, and often fail even then.
I had an idea for an article / chapter when I was still lying in bed, before arising. "Lorca's Musical Theater." I could be my next Lorca lecture. The idea is to look at the music in the book Las canciones del teatro de Federico García Lorca and then branch out from there, with the thesis being that this music makes its way into films, other musical works, etc..., or is transformed /rewritten in various ways that have not emerged in the scholarship. This would be ideal for collaboration with musicologist.
I sent a trumpet fanfare from the book to my daughter to be recorded. She said it would be playable, though it is strangely notated. That might be a good addition when I'm giving a lecture. It is a "toque de trompeta floreada y comiquísima." [ornate and very comic]
I've collaborated successfully on
a) institutional grants. You get people from different depts and you come to meeting of minds on concept and divide up the writing, edit each other and collectively smooth it out so it comes into one style.
b) that translation project. Translation is too boring/tedious to do alone, it has to be social. My Spanish is better than collaborator's, but he is better than me at imitating poets. (Has actually now gotten to the point of doing faux Mallarmé in English, getting both sense and *sound and puns*, it's kind of shocking)
But cannot figure out how to write an article. But wait. I could. On the prisons. With a sociologist type. Or on the representations of slavery. With a historian. Hm. Or 19C narrative. Hm. To collaborate you must be seriously curious about something and have expertise, but also have a serious gap you are aware of and are willing to let someone else fill. And they have to be like that too.
... and I dreamed about this, actually. I should probably always collaborate, it keeps my head straight. Except I do try to collaborate on other work projects and people do not hold up their end.
Still, it's smart. I'm about to collaborate on an MLA panel proposal. It's a start, I mean, we are going to have to collaborate to refine our concept and write the text.
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