Minor Field


The minor field, Digital History: Theory and Practice, during Fall 2015 with Dr. Lincoln Mullen and Dr. Kelly Schrum, examines the field of digital history through both theory and practical application. It will explore digitization, databases and searches, text analysis, data visualization, mapping, public history, crowdsourcing, digital scholarship and publication, copyright and open access, digital pedagogy, and programming theory. In addition to reading the relevant scholarship, this minor field also explores and analyzes digital projects across these topics. Below is the syllabus of readings.

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Blog Posts

Humanities Computing and Big History

There were two main topics discussed this week: the argument over mathematical methods in Matthew Jocker’s Syuzhet package and humanities computing and the call for a return to the long duree of history and its relevance to public conversations in […]

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Mapping and Historical Analysis

The readings on mapping this week discussed many ideas and issues. Tim Cresswell’s Geographic Thought: A Critical Introduction, explains the history of geography as a discipline and the varying frameworks of geographical thought, including humanistic and Marxist geography. Various authors in […]

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Visualizations are powerful, and I had never understood how powerful until this week. They are not just a nice picture of the Columbian Exchange, or a family tree. Visualizations are arguments themselves, as Johanna Drucker asserts in Graphesis, and they […]

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Network Analysis

A network is a visualization of connections between entities, such as people or places. In Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning About a Highly Connected World, Easley and Kleinberg define networks as “a pattern of interconnections among a set of things,” […]

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Textual Analysis Hysteria

In the digital age, there exists an abundance of digitized sources. Text analysis deals with large corpora of sources and how to access this vast and mostly available historical record, from nineteenth-century British novels to Early American newspapers. Humanities scholars […]

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Evaluating Digital Scholarship

This week’s readings covered numerous issues in digital scholarship. Similar to the on-going discussions on the definition of digital history, digital scholarship can take many forms. Trevor Owens outlined suggestions for digital exhibits and even games as scholarship. The digital […]

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Teaching Digital Humanities

This week’s readings on teaching digital history discussed many important themes. Two themes stood out particularly and go hand-in-hand: navigating the different technology backgrounds of today’s supposed “digital natives” and designing college and graduate-level courses that utilize digital media effectively […]

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Digital Public History

This week’s readings on public history raised a number of issues, namely defining audience and the “public,” building and maintaining that community of users, and the ability of digital exhibits to promote access, to encourage historical research, and to preserve […]

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Databases and Audience

This week’s readings discussed the advantages and disadvantages of databases and searching in presenting and conducting historical research. One aspect of these web-based databases that intrigued me was the usability of the database’s interface and the intended audience. In his […]

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Crowdsourcing as Community Empowerment

A few weeks ago I came across The Library of Virginia’s Making History transcription project. Anyone with an internet connection can view digitized primary source documents from nineteenth-century African-American freedom suits to letters penned by Patrick Henry and transcribe them […]

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What is Digital History?

What is “Digital History”? Is it a field of study, a genre, a methodology, a promise? Can it be defined? What is it not? How can I, a young graduate student studying “Digital History,” succinctly define this minor field to […]

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