Project Update – Lukacs

This digital project, “A River of Parties,” uutilizies a close reading of a Smithsonian artifact. The purpose is to provide context to this unique piece and a little bit more history as well.

So far, the website has been constructed, and every post has a rough outline of the information being included. The information is meant to provide a general overview of the era, but a “Further Reading” page will direct viewers to sources for deeper dives.

Every post will have a zoomed in/cropped version of the artifact to focus on the era being discussed. The original intent was to have the image interactable. This may still happen, but right now its not a priority.

The site also needs some more context for the origin of the document, as well as links within posts to redirect and enable a better sense of exploration.

Most of the work that remains is filling in the posts with information, and tightening the design of the site. Any feedback or questions would be great!

Digital History Project Draft – Kristin Herlihy

This print project studies Google n-gram and Time Magazine Corpus trends of when key figures in American history and terms (ie freedom, independence, Constitution) were mentioned most frequently, revealing spikes during wartime and domestic disruption. The trends indicate, for the most part, a correlation between American values and historic figures, with the exception of the 1960s and 70s. A close reading of the 20th century reveals the context of the primary source documents and how historic figures and values were discussed and how they changed.

In writing this paper, I included classic founding fathers like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, but I also included figures from later in history like Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, and the two Roosevelts. The time frame also ranges from the 1800s until the early 2000s, so I wonder if this is too broad of frame. Would the project be better off cutting the requirement for people searched to only founding fathers and beginning the study in the 20th century?

If you are interested in reading the draft, below is a shareable link from the Google Drive to access the PDF. If you have trouble accessing it, let me know!


Digital History Paper Draft: The Horrors of War-games

So far, work on my paper has basically proceeded as anticipated.  The one major surprise thus far has actually been a pleasant one.  While I had initially intended for this project to look at a broad range of games, I have discovered the Call of Duty franchise has been a much rich set of sources than anticipated, and so far I’ve spent all my paper discussing different games in it.  I’m still considering including games from outside the franchise, but I’m not sure how I feel about spending 5/7s of the paper discussing games which are all tightly linked, and then only moving on in the last portion to games that, while still connected thematically, are not quite so linked together.  Whichever way I go, and I’d love to hear people’s thoughts, I’m almost certainly going to need to rewrite the introduction, so while I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on the paper as a whole, there’s probably not much value in thinking about how to improve that.

Digital History Project Draft – Katie Krumeich

My timeline for the remaining work to be done on this project is a desire to do three continents a week from now until April 25th, which will allow me to have a fleshed-out website by that date. Since the intention of this project is not to be exhaustive, but only point out a variety of historical precedents to modern LGBTQ+ communities, I find this idea quite doable.

We’ve talked a lot about how history is converted into digital media, and I think one of the greatest uses for history is in public education on how the status quo on any particular social issue came to be. In light of that, for my digital project, I’m creating a website divided up by continents, and using that to show how same-sex love and other forms of attraction and sexuality, what we call in modernity LGBTQ+, was conceptualized across different places and times.

There is a paucity of round-the-world LGBTQ+ stories from a historical perspective. In fact, the usual treatment of this kind of material has been slipshod in scholarship and even, in those areas that do have it, encompassing straight up lies: mistranslated objects, etc., just generally very bad history.

My goal is to make something that was accurate but also inclusive, so we could show in quick snapshots how what we would today call LGBTQ+ people existed, persisted, and sometimes resisted as communities.

The website itself is just simple clickable links to relevant stories, sources, objects, and information about queer history on that continent. of North America, for example, which has information and pictures of First Nation two spirit people.

The virtue of having this a digital project is immediate: it’s inviting people interacting with the project to think on a more broad scale as to how a biological fact—attraction and sexuality between people of the same gender occurs naturally in the human population—has been viewed and understood across different time periods and in different cultures.

This is quintessentially made possible by a digital project—a paper requires one to get in detail about one particular period and place, whereas this is history on a broader but shallower scale, to see how one biological inclination was viewed in umpteen different cultures around the world. As a paper, this would be broad to the point of uselessness. As a digital project, however, it’s actually useful and natural as a topic. Digital projects work well in more survey courses style of historiography, after all.

For my terms and information about historical predecessors to what we now call the LGBTQ+ umbrella, I’ll be turning mainly to queer theory as well as historians with a focus on same-sex attractions in history.

It is my intention through this work to create a repository of examples of same-sex attraction and transgender persons and communities in history, and to wrestle with how a biological fact—that attraction towards those of the same sex occurs naturally in the human population—has been viewed, wrestled with, celebrated, but never non-existent in human cultures. In doing so, I’m dividing the world into geographic features and showing examples from all ends of them.

This is not intended as traditional scholarship—if I’m making an argument, it’s only in what I choose to select. Nor is it necessarily my aim to create something new of the traditional interpretations of these images and texts. Rather, my desire is to consolidate knowledge in one easily-traversed place.

My main audience is queer youth, and particularly queer youth of color, who have too often been denied knowledge of their place in history. The goal of this website is primarily education.


Digital History Project Draft – Where Is Dorsey Foultz?

As mentioned in my previous post, I have been working on a custom Google Map representing the (supposed) movement of Dorsey Foultz between 1897 and 1911.

Here is an image of what the map looks like fully zoomed out (note that this view effectively hides the earliest sightings):

Sightings that occurred in 1897 I labeled in blue, magenta represents those from 1898-1905, and green from 1906-1911. Color-coding in this way helps show increasing geographic distance over time and, I think, really demonstrates the way Americans thought about movement in this period.

While Google My Maps has a lot of wonderful icons to use, I had to stick with the single missing person one (other than the scene of the murder). I quickly realized that sightings were so varied that assigning them different icons–police for when police responded, a train for a sighting on a train, etc.–would create a lot of isolated icons that would not have much meaning in the grand scheme of things. If I had significantly more data to plot with more uniformity that allowed classification of sightings, the various icons would have been really useful.

The project also changed slightly from what I envisioned in that it is less possible to link to or provide images of the primary sources used to plot the sightings due to copyright concerns. In a few instances, I was able to include Library of Congress images or maps, or select drawings from the newspapers. Otherwise, I have had to settle for plain citations of my newspaper sources. Also, many sightings that are mentioned in passing in the Washington Post and Washington Evening Star articles lack enough evidence to plot on the map, but in the future could appear there if other newspapers that I have not yet incorporated into my research provide information on these supposed events.

Overall I am happy with this project, which I consider complete, since it seems user-friendly (let me know if it’s not!) and visually demonstrates what I was hoping it would. But more on that to come in a couple weeks…