Wrap-Up Week 12/5-12/8

On Tuesday 12/5, we’ll discuss Historical Memory, especially as it relates to monuments, public plques, and commemorations. The reading is on Blackboard, an article about memorials and monuments called “Our Monuments, Ourselves” and one on the Vietnam Wall as a milestone in historical commemoration. Please read both and come prepared to talk about the complications in national memory, particularly around traumatic events.

Also, BRING LAPTOPS to Tuesday’s class, we will use them to make Portfolio pages, since most of you have not yet done that on your WordPress sites.

Case Studies of Interest
Manzanar Internment Camp
New Orleans Confederate Monument Removal, Mitch Landrieu speech May 2017
“Whose Heritage?” (Southern Poverty Law Center Report)

Thursday 12/7 is a day for some reflections on professional ethics (Williams Ch 13 and 21), and we will also do an in-class peer review of your Annotated Bibliography drafts. Please bring a PRINTED, PAPER copy of your draft to class with you.

The final Journal entry #11 is due on Friday at midnight.

Your Portfolios and Annotated Bibliography [Paper #3] are both due on Thursday Dec 14 by NOON. Follow the assignment’s guidelines for the Bibliography submission formats.

Public History

On Thursday 11/30, we will be joined by a special guest, Christopher Davis. Davis works as a costumed historical interpreter at the Boston Tea Party Museum and will be speaking to us about his experiences as a “living history” public historian.

In preparation, please read Williams Ch 17 and Loewen Ch 10. Reminder, Journal #10 is due on Friday.

Digital History

For Tuesday 11/28, please review the article “Digital Junction” (which was assigned back on Nov 16, but that was our library day, so we didn’t discuss it then). It’s posted on Blackboard under “Content.” And read Ch 19-20 of William’s Historian’s Toolbox, though Williams seems somewhat a) uninformed and b) skeptical/wary of digital methods and innovations in the field of history and the humanities. In reality, digital history is a well-established and vibrantly growing area of research and practice. There are a growing number of centers for digital humanities (DH) scholarship.

To name just a few:

Northeastern University NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks
MIT HyperStudio
University of Virginia ScholarsLab
Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University
UCLA Center for Digital Humanities

Check out a few of this post’s links before class – what kinds of work is happening in DH centers right now that looks interesting to you?

See also:
Digital Humanities: Projects, Centers and Tools (Univ of Washington LibGuide)
DH Commons (CenterNet)
DiRT (Digital Research Tools, Mellon Foundation)
Black DH, a list

For further exploration, a 2011 New York Times article explores the ways some historians and humanities scholars are use sophisticated mapping, data visualization and other digital tools for scholarly analysis. One of the projects mentioned in the NYT article is the digitalization of the Bayeux Tapestry (all 224-feet long of it), a project of a medieval scholar at Drew University, Martin K. Foys. A CD-ROM digital edition of the artifact can be purchased for about the cost of a textbook, but as one user notes… it’s also been installed in the virtual world of Second Life.

Here are some innovative digital data visualizations, like Alexander Chen’s mesmerizing art/programming/mapping mashup titled “Conductor,” which combined New York subway train schedules, HTML5 + Javascript + Flash programming, and some cool acoustic string sounds to show us the music of the subterranean cityscape. It’s a beautiful and creative way to display a complex system and visualize some highly technical data. A sampling of other gorgeous & smart methods and tools with which historians could experiment:

  • N-gram: visualization of the frequency of use of any word over time, searched across outrageously-many digitized old books
  • Similarly, the Popular Science Archive Explorer maps the frequency of a word used in the entire back archive of PopSci since 1872
  • Name Voyager – the top 1000 baby names over the last century (source: US Census) in a dynamic, interactive graph format
  • Wordle: dump any text in (say, a presidential speech) and get lovely word clouds sized by word frequency
  • Using GIS (i.e. geospatial information systems): here’s just one example of many
  • …and its close cousin: Geolocation, for example using
  • Find more examples of data visualization using (local) maps at Bostonography

Film as History, History on Film

On Tuesday November 21 our reading is Tom Gunning, Making Sense of Films. We will talk about film and history: historical film, how historians and filmmakers (and perhaps other categories – news media? YouTube users?) use film and the moving image to craft historical narratives and interpretations, documentaries, and films that made history (in the dual sense of the word).

Note: there is no journal post this week

Links for Tuesday:

Reel American History (Lehigh University)
Library of Congress National Film Registry
Brief History of Film (5 min)
1906 Trolley Ride Down Market St, San Francisco (10 min)
Lumiere Brothers Early Films (12 min)
Great Train Robbery (1903) – guitar score + colorization (10.30 min)
Trailer: THEM! (1954) 3 min
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (1966) shootout scene (4:32 min)
“Negro Space Programme” parody in Ken Burns style (10:25 min)
A Long Shot (Atonement, 2007) 5 min

Thinking Like a Historian

Tuesday Nov 14 – we will discuss Gaddis’s book The Landscape of History.
Here are the Discussion Questions we’ll use for our class discussion.

ALSO Paper #2 is due in class

Thursday Nov 16 – Meet in the Library Instruction area (Children’s Book Room) with your laptop and your Paper #3 topic idea ON PAPER.
Reading: Williams 10, and “Digital Junction” PDF on Blackboard

Paper #3 Assignment (due Dec 14)

Journal #9 is due on Friday, Nov 17