Course Syllabus

Clio Wired I
History 696.001

ver. 3.3.1

Professor T. Mills Kelly                                                   Office Hours
Robinson Hall B373b                                                              M 4:30-6:00
(cell provided in class)                                                            or by appointment
tkelly7@gmu.edu
blog: edwired.org
twitter: @EdwiredMills
AIM: tkelly7029

This is a course about tomorrow’s yesterdays. Over the next fourteen weeks we will examine the changes that digital media have wrought in the research, writing, presentation, reading and teaching of history. We will discuss readings, websites, teaching modules, and other manifestations of what some like to call the “digital turn” in the history business. Because an essential part of digital work is “making,” you will also be making something digital this semester.  Because this is a graduate seminar, I place a high premium on your full participation in all aspects of the course. That means I expect you to keep up with the readings, contribute to our discussions in class and online, and to complete all of your assignments on time. For doctoral students, this class is part of a two semester sequence and because the second course is much more technical, this is your chance to become familiar with the technology, to overcome any anxieties you might have, and to play with ideas in a slightly less structured environment.

Course Requirements: There are three main requirements for this course.

  1. Active participation in class discussions, both online and in class. Online participation will happen both through a blog in which you write something at least weekly (and comment on someone else’s blog at least weekly) and on Twitter (hashtag #ClioF13). My blog is http://edwired.org and my Twitter is @EdwiredMills.
  2. You will concept a digital historical (or art historical for those in the art history program) resource. This resource can take any form you think is most appropriate to accomplish the goal you set for it/its purpose. The point is to sketch out something that will improve the ways that historians and/or art historians pursue research, scholarship, teaching, learning, collaboration, or serious play. You will need to turn in both an essay that describes your resource and its purpose(s) in detail and a mock up, story board, wire frame, website, or other visual representation of what your resource will look and feel like. For doctoral students, you should think of this assignment as a first test run at what you might create in Clio II. Your resource is due no later than October 26. We will be discussing your work in class on the 28th, so late submissions are problematic.
  3. An original work of digital historical/art historical scholarship using digital methods such as text mining, mapping, visualizations. We will discuss examples of what such a work of digital scholarship might look like throughout the semester. Your work of digital scholarship is due no later than December 7. However, please note in the schedule for the course that we will be spending the last two weeks of the semester in presentations of your works of scholarship. These presentations will be your chance to get critiques from others in the seminar that will help you improve the final product. But, this means you have to have something to show us in those last two weeks.

Digital Identity: An essential part of the life of the scholar going forward from 2013 is your digital identity. How do you present online when people find you through a Google search (as they inevitably will)? What kind of scholar are you? What are your skills? Your interests? Are you an interesting person? Do you take part in debates of consequence? It used to be that outside of our circle of close friends and colleagues, others knew us through our published work. In today’s scholarly ecosystem, we are known by our digital footprint as well as by our “published” work. For this reason, we will be spending a fair amount of time this semester discussing how scholars create and manage their digital identities. It’s also worth noting that the work you do in this class will become part of that public persona, which is to say that you need to think carefully about what you write in your blog and on Twitter because whatever you write becomes part of your footprint.

Readings: As befits a class that is oriented around open access scholarship, no books are required for this course. If you are like me, however, and just like to own a few new books, the two I would recommend are:

Roy Rosenzweig, Clio Wired. The Future of the Past in the Digital Age, Columbia University Press, 2011

Daniel J. Cohen & Tom Scheinfeldt, eds. Hacking the Academy. New Approaches to Scholarship and Teaching from Digital Humanities, University of Michigan Press, 2013
Grading: Your final grade for the semester will be derived as follows:
Class participation       25%
Blog entries                   25%
Digital resource            25%
Digital scholarship       25%

Office Hours: My official office hours will be Monday from 4:30-6:00 in my Robinson B office (373b). I am also available other times by appointment and am generally on campus every day of the week except Fridays. I am working in the Provost’s office this semester helping the university devise its new strategic plan, so I will be working out of an as yet to be determined space in Mason Hall at least two days per week. There are no faculty phones in the history department, so I will give you my cell number in class. And, of course, I’m available via email and Twitter.

Weekly Schedule

August 26: Getting Started

Our first class session will be devoted to introductions—to one another and to the technologies we’ll be using. If you don’t already have a blog, sign up for a WordPress blog and send me the URL once you do. You also need to sign up for an RSS reader such as Feedly. If you are not on Twitter, sign up now and start following me (@EdwiredMills). The class hashtag will be #ClioF13. For a brief introduction on how RSS feeds work, watch “RSS in Plain English”, by CommonCraft. Select at least five historical RSS feeds, add them to your reader, and post a list in your blog as your second post (your first should be an introduction of you to the rest of the class). Be sure to include links to the feeds to make it easy for the rest of us to subscribe if we want to. Sign up for Zotero. Finally, read, “Going Digital” by William Turkel.

September 2: Labor Day, No Class

[September 3 – Last Day to Drop Without Tuition Penalty]

September 9: What is Digital History?

A Guide to the Digital Humanities
Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, Digital History. A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web, Introduction, Exploring the History Web
Tom Scheinfeldt, “Theory, Method, and Digital Humanities,” in Hacking the Academy
Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media [pdf]

And at least one of these:

Matthew Kirschenbaum, What is Digital Humanities…
Interchange: The Promise of Digital History,” Journal of American History, 95/2 (Sept. 2008)
Susan Hockey, “History of Humanities Computing,” A Companion to Digital Humanities, ed. Susan Schreibman, et al (2004)
Robert Townsend, “How is New Media Reshaping the Work of Historians?” Perspectives (Nov. 2010)
Edward L. Ayers, “The Pasts and Futures of Digital History” (1999)
Stan Katz, “A Computer is Not a Typewriter, or Getting Right With Information Technology in the Humanities” (1999)

September 16: Reading, Writing, and the User Experience
Cohen and Rosenzweig, Getting Started, Designing for the History Web, Building and Audience
Jeffrey Zeldman, “Understanding Web Design” (2007)
Paula Petrik, “Top Ten Mistakes in Academic Web Design” (2000)
Jacob Nielsen, “Are Users Stupid?” (2001)
Alexander Dawson, “Improve Site Usability by Studying Museums” (2010)

Useful reads
Alex White, Elements of Graphic Design, 2nd edition (2011)
Robin Williams and John Tollett, The Non-Designer’s Web Book, 3rd edition (2005)

September 23: Open Access, Copyright, Free
Chris Anderson, “Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business,” WIRED, August 2013
Jason M. Kelly, “Open Access and the Historical Profession,” Digital Sandbox, August 2013
A Fair(y) Use Tale, 2007
Cohen and Rosenzweig, “Owning the Past
Roy Rosenzweig, “Can History Be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past,” Journal of American History 93, no. 1 (June 2006): 117–46
Roy Rosenzweig, “Should Historical Scholarship Be Free?Perspectives, April 2005
Daniel Cohen, and Tom Scheinfeldt, eds. “Hacking Scholarship,” Hacking the Academy, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013

[September 27 – Last Day to Drop a Class]

September 30: Public Digital History
Roy Rosenzweig. “Scarcity or Abundance? Preserving the Past in a Digital Era.” American Historical Review 108, no. 3 (June 2003): 735–762
Spichiger, Lynne, and Juliet Jacobson. “Telling an Old Story in a New Way: Raid on Deerfield: The Many Stories of 1704,” Museums and the Web, 2005
Susan Cairns, and Danny Birchall. “Curating the Digital World: Past Preconceptions, Present Problems, Possible Futures,” Museums and the Web, 2013

Examine in detail at least two public history websites, e.g., The March on Milwaukee, at least one of which is from a museum or archive. If you need suggestions, let me know. Add the sites you reviewed, with a few sentences of commentary, to the class Zotero library. Also, poke around in the websites of the Europeana and Digital Public Library of America sites. What do you like? What do you not?

Sign up for an Omeka.net account, set up a site, and explore the “under the hood” aspects of creating an Omeka database.
October 7: Collecting History Online
Cohen and Rosenzweig, “Collecting History Online
Christopher J. Prom, “Reimagining Academic Archives,” Hacking the Academy
Preserving our Digital Heritage. Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, (2002) [pdf]
Matthew Kirschenbaum, et al, “Digital Forensics and Born Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections,” CLIR Report (December 2010) [pdf]
Alison Babeau, Rome Wasn’t Digitized in a Day, CLIR, August 2011
Daniel Cohen, “The Future of Preserving the Past,” CRM Journal (June 2005) [pdf]
Examine in detail at least one born digital historical archive. If you need suggestions, let me know. Add the site you reviewed with a few sentences of commentary, to the class Zotero library.

October 14: Columbus Day Holiday (I’m away, possible guest speaker)

[Note: Monday classes meet on Tuesday. Tuesday classes do not meet.]

October 21: Mapping the Past
Brian Sarnacki. “Spatial History,” Brian Sarnacki. (2011)
Jo Guldi. “What Is the Spatial Turn?Spatial Humanities
Richard White, “What Is Spatial History,” Working Paper, Stanford, California, 2010
Will Thomas and Edward Ayers, “The Differences Slavery Made
The Racial Dot Map: One Dot Per Person for the Entire U.S.” (2013)

Examine in detail at least one historical GIS project (e.g., HyperCities, Digital Harlem). Add the site you reviewed with a few sentences of commentary, to the class Zotero library.

October 28: Digital Resource Proposals
For this class, be sure to have posted in your blog no later than noon on Sunday a general description of the digital historical resource you want to propose. The more specific your description is, the better we’ll all be able to react to it in class. Class will be our chance to discuss what everyone intends to do.

November 4: Big Data and the Practice of History
Franco Moretti, “Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History,” New Left Review 24 (2003)
Daniel Cohen, “From Babel to Knowledge: Data Mining Large Digital Collections,” DLib Magazine 12/3 (2006)
Lev Manovich, “Trending: The Promises and Challenges of Big Social Data,” Matthew K. Gold, ed., Debates in the Digital Humanities (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 460-475
William J. Turkel, “Clustering With Compression,” Digital History Hacks (2005-08)

Useful reads:
Franco Moretti, Graphs, Maps, and Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History (2007) [book]
Jonathan Goodwin, et al, Reading Graphs, Maps, and Trees: Responses to Franco Moretti (2011)

Examine in detail at least one massive dataset in the humanities (e.g., the Old Bailey project). Add the site you reviewed with a few sentences of commentary, to the class Zotero library.

November 11: Teaching History in the Digital Age
Mills Kelly, Teaching History in the Digital Age (2013)
John McClymer, The AHA Guide to Teaching and Learning with New Media (2007)
Sam Wineberg, “Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts,” Phi Delta Kappan 92/4 (December 2010): 81-94

November 18: Open Topic
This is the week in which I want you to propose a topic we haven’t covered thus far in the semester, along with a couple of readings for everyone to do. These proposals should be available to us no later than November 10 so that we can vote in class on November 11. Topics could include coding, APIs, text encoding, writing for the web, or just about anything else that strikes your fancy.

November 25: Final Presentations – Work of Digital Historical Scholarship
Be prepared to give a very brief presentation of your work of scholarship. A draft of the work should already be posted in your blog so everyone can read about it in advance and be ready for your presentation. We will be doing nine presentations each night, so that means you need to stay around 10 minutes.

December 2: Final Presentations, continued

One Response to Course Syllabus

  1. Pingback: Historians and Books | edwired

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