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Tag: digital history

Digital (Urban) History

[In lieu of readings for the final class meeting of UNL’s Digital Humanities Seminar. Each student was to give a brief presentation on the digital humanities in their field.] As a field built around places, urban history has always been cognizant of space. Beginning with Phil Ethington’s Los Angeles and the Problem of Urban Historical Knowledge digital urban history has used the digital medium’s visual power to explore space. As an early digital history project, Ethington modeled the digital medium’s visual power for spatial analysis. Building on his Los Angeles and the Problem of Urban Historical Knowledge, Ethington developed HyperCities,…

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HASTAC V: DH Strikes Back

For my first “real” conference experience (read: first non-grad student conference as a grad student), HASTAC V was terrific. I met a ton of friendly, smart, and engaging people. I presented successfully (no major faux pas) and received many good questions, comments, and tips. I particularly enjoyed the format of the conference, which was essentially two days of lighting talks and keynote addresses. By keeping presentations very short, scholars (myself included) had to make sure they only selected the vital information. Audiences received the best, most provocative points of each presentation. Though I was often left wanting to discuss the…

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Alone Together

[This is a post for UNL’s Digital Humanities Seminar. The week’s readings was Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.] In Alone Together, Sherry Turkle explores human interaction with technology, concluding that as technology provides companionship it also isolates individuals. Turkle presents this argument in two parts, first looking at “tomorrow’s story” of sociable robots and later examining “today’s story” of online networks and connectivity (17). Turkle suggests that as people and technology become closer, people grow further apart. While Turkle’s use of extensive examples make her point clear and understandable, as a historian, I found her analysis lacking genuine reflection on comparing…

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Four Stages of DH

[This mostly serious look at the four stages of DH reflect my own journey in learning about the digital humanities/digital history. The experiences of others may vary and I reserve the right to add stages at a later date.] Practical-ist You see DH as another way to make yourself stand out as a job applicant. While not really knowing what DH means or how to go about practicing DH, there is curiosity. What you should do if you are a practical-ist: Learn more about DH. Some good starting places are Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig’s Digital History, Stephen Ramsay’s On…


The Importance of Versioning

A few months ago, I checked up on a digital history project to which I was introduced in my introductory digital history course, Richmond’s Voting America project. It is a great project and a wonderful teaching resource, but I was really interested to see that it had been updated. In addition to some cosmetic changes, since the last time I had visited the project had added the presidential data for 2008 and more analysis of their maps. I had originally explored the website to review it for part of the DH course I was taking. In the review (in December…

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The Corrupt Network

Last week, I turned in my project for my digital history seminar. What I hope is evident from my design, I used this course to play with an idea of investigating “Facebook friends” in the past. “Facebook friends” is a modern term that can describe relationships ranging from life long friendships and one time acquaintances. Though Facebook and the term “Facebook friends” are modern things, social networks are nothing new. Examining social networks of the past provides context for events, like the political scandal on which my thesis is based. My digital project is meant to visualize some of the…

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DH and the (Social) Sciences

The topic of poster sessions came up a short time ago among some other history graduate students and I was surprised at the responses. While not outright hostile, I got the sense (perhaps incorrectly to be fair) that few were open to the idea of creating a poster themselves. This response was surprising to me because I had just come across the AHA’s poster session list for its 2011 conference (which was not its first venture into poster sessions) as well as the fact that in many other disciplines posters are a widely used medium for research. Perhaps it was…

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Virtual Middletown

Also very interesting from Ball State’s Center for Middletown Studies, a project attempting to create a virtual Muncie in the 1920s: Robert and Helen Lynd’s seminal investigation into the social conditions in Muncie, Indiana, during the 1920s not only marked the community as the nation’s Middletown, it also generated a substantial body of source material documenting social experiences in it. Simply put, Middletown research has made Muncie the best documented city of its size and thus the ideal setting for the digital re-creation of ground-level American social history.

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Defining DH

I am participating in the Day of Digital Humanities 2011 they asked applicants to define the digital humanities. I have first listed my definition of DH and then I have re-posted Dan Cohen’s definition and short reflection. Me: At its core, the Digital Humanities is the use of digital tools to gather, organize, analyze, and present scholarly research in the humanities. Humanists seek to understand the world and cultures in which people live and have lived through a variety of disciplines including literature, English and other modern languages, philosophy, art, art history, and history. While many of the questions humanists…

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A Few of My Favorite Things

With some fudging on how many items can be in a “top five”, here are my top six “top five” lists (in no particular order): 1. Top Five History Books (Listed in the order in which I read them) 1. Rats, Lice & History: The book that really made historical thinking click for me in my first history class freshman year. 2. A Midwife’s Tale: The book professors have assigned to me in three different courses, a great microhistory. 3. Nature’s Metropolis: The book that has stuck with me for years–I just really like Cronon’s approach. 4. Nation among Nations:…

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