Defining Digital History & Kicking Off the Course

I hope everyone is on track to enjoy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. If you’re looking for ways to honor the work and legacy of MLK, you might find this post of use.  The post presents it’s own opportunity to consider the ways that history is communicated and shared online.

As a result of the holiday, we are holding virtual class this week. That means that we are doing many of the same kinds of things we would do face-to-face in class but over our course blog. To that end, I’m thrilled that we have a series of great introductory posts to our work this week identifying and defining what digital history is and what it means for us to become digital historians.

Be sure to;

  1. Read this weeks course readings
  2. Read and comment on at least one of this weeks blogs
  3. Try out the sites and tools that are shared in the practicum posts
  4. Gear up for our first face-to-face class next Monday, January 28th.

Situating Digital History

We are lucky to start off our class this week with three great posts that can serve as solid examples of the kinds of writing and thinking we are going to engage in here on the course blog and in our class. Huge thanks to Emily, Haley, and Maren for kicking us off so well!

In Digital History is for Everyone, Emily explores issues around argumentation in digital history, issues in ethics around communication of history through different approaches to social media, and a range of ways to get involved and start doing digital history with various online tools and systems.

In Let’s Get Digital: Theorizing Digital History, Haley digs into a bit of the history of digital history and the potential stakes for the relevancy of historical work in the digital age.

In Introducing Digital: Saving the Humanities & Solving the World’s Contemporary Problems? Maren explores issues in the rhetoric around digital technology and some critical perspectives on the functions and effects of digital history.

Starting to Do Digital History

Alongside our work reading and writing about digital history we are also going to engage in hands on explorations of some digital history projects and tools. It’s worth noting, in keeping with some of our initial definitional work, even the claim about what it is to do digital history is itself a bit fraught. Clearly writing is itself a way that we do digital history too.

Laura has put together a great overview of all three sites/tools we are exploring this week for practicums (Wordle, HistoryPin, and PhillaPlace). Be sure to check out each of the individual sites and tools. It is worth noting that HistoryPin may well be a useful tool to consider using for course projects.

Along with those overviews, Isaac has put together a nice in-depth walk through of how to use Wordle to create simple visualizations of texts. Take some time to follow along with the directions there and see what kinds of results you can get.

Some reminders

So we are off to a great start! With that noted, I want to make sure everyone is up and running with everything you need before our first face to face meeting next week.

To that end be sure that you

  1. Reach out to me to get your blog account (there are a few folks that still need to get account’s set up.
  2. Post your introductory blog post. If you are having trouble getting your post up reach out to me and I can help.
  3. If you haven’t signed up for which weeks you are writing about/leading discussion on some of the readings and practicums do that soon
  4. Lastly, seven of you are on deck to get posts up about practicums and readings before class next week. It may also be a good idea to reach out to each other to coordinate who will write about what. Do not hesitate to reach out to me directly if you need any help sorting through what you need to do for those assignments.

Looking forward to seeing everyone next week and to following along with great discussion on the blog in advance of then.

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