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Tag: research

In the Biting Stage

[The following is the introduction from a paper, “In the biting stage”: The 1955 Nebraska State Penitentiary Riots and Violent Prison Activism, submitted for a research seminar last year. This fall I am working on preparing the paper for submission to a journal.] Following the evening meal of August 16, 1955, prisoners at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln, Nebraska, refused to return to their cells. Instead, they called for the warden, Joseph Bovey, and the state penal director, B. B. Albert, to join them in the mess hall. Fearing the collection of inmates would turn violent, the warden removed…

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The following is an excerpt from a draft of the conclusion to my thesis. If anyone is interested in reading more I’d be happy to provide additional text as well. The water scandal came to a rather quiet end. In February 1906, the prosecuting attorneys dropped the charges against former mayor George Perry nearly two years after jury could not agree on a verdict, as well as the remaining open cases. Five years after the water scandal first broke, the prosecution did not believe they could convict anyone else. The city’s residents had become, as Grand Rapids historian Z. Z.…

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Thesis Intro

The following is an excerpt from a draft of the introduction to my thesis. If anyone is interested in reading more I’d be happy to provide additional text as well. Drawing its name from the Grand River’s rapids near which the city was founded, Grand Rapids’ rise was somewhat fortuitous. Grand Rapids occupied a regional economic importance located between Detroit and Chicago. However, Grand Rapids did not benefit from its location. It was neither directly between the two major cities, nor was it positioned on the lakeshore. Early industry was positioned around natural resources, namely the river which bisected the…

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Clubs of GR

The following is an excerpt from the same chapter draft as last week’s post. Grand Rapids’ Club Scene According to the Peninsular Club’s constitution, the club’s primary function was “to promote social intercourse amongst its members.” In order to accommodate the city’s preeminent elite on both sides of the political aisle, the club refused to express any “opinion on any religious, political or social question.” On everyday but Sunday, members could frequent the club house from seven in the morning until midnight, though special occasions could keep the club open until four in the morning. The club was still open…


Spatializing GR

I am currently coming down the home stretch for my MA thesis and it has been keeping me quite busy. My thesis work actually made me miss a blog post last week (I am sure people were heartbroken). This week as a sort of compromise with myself I am posting an excerpt. Granted, this is a very rough section of the second draft of my first chapter. In my digital project I added a spatial element to my research, something I have continued in my work. The excerpt below is the base layer of an introduction to the city’s elite.…


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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Open Source Scholarship

A couple of weeks ago, Bethany Nowviskie visited UNL and talked about adapting the model of “skunkworks” to producing research and development. While her talk included many great insights as well as the most entertaining slides I have ever seen in an academic speech, one part of my notes from the talk really jumped out to me. I wrote: “scholars used to hiding work until polished–> bad for open source collaboration,” which seems to me to be a great insight into academic production of scholarship. When debating whether or not to start a blog, I found that I too had…


Digital Research

William Turkel: Knowing how to program is crucial for doing advanced research with digital sources. There are still many powerful tools that you can make use of if you don’t know how to program (yet), and even if you do, it usually isn’t a good idea to reinvent the wheel. The posts below describe a complete workflow for finding, harvesting, clustering, excerpting, and keeping track of digital sources, using programs that run on your own computer.

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Can Micro be Macro?

Even though I am still trying to finish my MA thesis, I cannot help but think forward to finding a dissertation topic. Now I like my MA thesis topic, and I think there is still much I could do with it, but I want to really love my dissertation topic (I think you need to in order to finish it). So recently I have been thinking about some potential avenues that might bring some of my diverse historical interests together into one project. In the past, I have dove directly into primary sources, and I probably will start that way…


The Social Network of 19th Century Brit Lit

I came across this interesting project via twitter. While the exact approach does not carry over to history (the project visualized a social network using the dialogue in 19th century British novels, but, unfortunately, most of the “dialogue” of history gets lost), it makes the project I am working on for my digital history seminar (visualizing social and political networks) seem more timely. I just wish they put the project online (or if they have done so, provided a link).

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