University of Waterloo
Department of History
History Gone Digital: An Introduction
8:30-9:20am Mondays and Wednesday, HH 1102
|Instructor: Dr. Ian Milligan
Office: Hagey Hall 114
Office Phone: (519) 888-4567 x32775
Office Hours: Monday 3:00-4:00pm or by appointment
|Digital history, the application of new and emerging technologies to the study of history, is an exciting new field. In this course, we are going to explore the literature on digital history, and then put theory into practice by digitally collecting, evaluating, and producing historical knowledge. Some critical topics for this course include:
This course aims to be different than other history courses you’ve taken. While I will lecture a bit throughout the class, much of it will be hands-on: playing with tools, experimenting with various software packages, getting out of the classroom from time to time, with an eye to active and engaged learning.
You will notice that the reading load is a bit lighter for this course. To make up for this, I will occasionally ask you to do some short ‘homework’ assignments: be it a blog post, asking you to pre-install a piece of software before you come to class on your laptop if you have one, and asking you to spend a decent amount of time on your assignment.
|Course Goals and Learning Objectives|
|We have three goals for this course:
|There are two free textbooks that we use in this course:
Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.Available online at http://chnm.gmu.edu/digitalhistory/
Shawn Graham, Ian Milligan, and Scott Weingart. Big Digital History: Exploring Big Data Through a Historian’s Macroscope. Imperial College Press, 2016. Available online in parts at http://www.themacroscope.org/.
|Assessment in a Nutshell|
Assessment #1: Tutorial and Course Participation (15%)
Students are expected to be actively involved in lecture and tutorial discussions. Remember: this is not a straight-up lecture course, so it will be a bit more active in terms of participating. I expect you to:
Assessment #2: Ongoing Course Blog (30%)
|Week 1: January 4th, Introduction
Reading: “Introduction: Promises and Perils of Digital History,” in Digital History.
Week 2: January 9th and 11th, The History Web
Reading: “Exploring the History Web,” in Digital History.
Reading (for tutorial): “Interchange: The Promise of Digital History,” available online, http://www.journalofamericanhistory.org/issues/952/interchange/index.html
Lara Putnam, “The Transnational and the Text-Searchable: Digitized sources and the Shadows They cast,” American Historical Review, Vol. 121, No. 2 (April 2016): 377-402. Available online via LEARN.
Homework: Set up a WordPress.com blog, and say hi in your first post! Who are you, why are you in the course, what is your background?
Week 3: January 16th and 18th, Citizen Histories and Web Histories
Reading: “Designing for the History Web,” in Digital History.
Toni Appelbaum, “How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by Reddit,” 15 May 2012, available online, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/05/how-the-professor-who-fooled-wikipedia-got-caught-by-reddit/257134/.
Explore the following websites:
9/11 Digital Archive: http://911digitalarchive.org
Hurricane Katrina Archive: http://hurricanearchive.org
Occupy Archive: http://occupyarchive.org
Homework: Write a short blog post on the three websites listed above. What are they? What do they offer? Are they valuable? Representative? (500-800 words)
Week 4: January 23rd and 25th, Podcasting and Sketchup
Reading: “Building an Audience,” in Digital History.
Devon Elliott, Robert MacDougall, and William J. Turkel, “New Old Things: Fabrication, Physical Computing, and Experiment in Historical Practice,” Canadian Journal of Communication, 37 (2012): 121-128. http://www.cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/2506.
Homework: Play with Sketchup Make. Make a simple object and we will look into 3D printing it.
Week 5: January 30th and Februrary 1st, Textual Analysis: From Word Clouds to Topic Modeling
Reading: Jean-Baptiste Michel et al, “Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books,” Science. Michel et al – Quantiative Analysis of Culture.pdf
Graham, Milligan, and Weingart. “Basic Text Mining,” at http://www.themacroscope.org/?page_id=362.
Graham, Milligan, and Weingart. “Topic Modeling by Hand,” at http://www.themacroscope.org/?page_id=47.
Read the following websites and explore the projects:
– Mining the Dispatch: http://dsl.richmond.edu/dispatch/
– Google N-Gram: http://books.google.com/ngrams
Homework: Write a short blog post on the Science article, the N-Gram viewer, and the Mining the Dispatch website. Play with them! Have fun! What do you think?
Week 6: February 6th and 8th, Digitizing Primary Documents
Reading: “Collecting History Online” and “Preserving Digital History,” in Digital History.
Reading: Explore the Internet Archive at http://archive.org.
Week 7: February 13th and 15th, Spatial Histories
Reading: “What is Spatial History?” http://www.stanford.edu/group/spatialhistory/cgi-bin/site/pub.php?id=29
Jo Guldi, “What is the Spatial Turn?” Click around, but specifically focus on “The Spatial Turn in History.” http://spatial.scholarslab.org/spatial-turn/
Trading Consequences Project – read the blog at http://tradingconsequences.blogs.edina.ac.uk/, the linked White Paper, and play with the visualizations.
Homework: Play with Neatline and Google Earth.
One-on-one meetings with Professor Milligan re: your project begin.
Week 8: February 27th and March 1st, Humanities Programming
Readings: The Programming Historian, available online, http://programminghistorian.org.
We will focus primarily on:
– Data Manipulation (Introduction to the Bash command line);
– Setting up Python;
– And the pathway towards interacting with the Old Bailey Online with Python.
Those of you with past programming experience will get some other fun stuff to do.
ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS WITH PROFESSOR MILLIGAN RE: YOUR PROJECT CONTINUE.
Week 9: March 6th and 8th, Humanities Programming
Readings: The Programming Historian, available online, http://programminghistorian.org. Continuing our work from last week. The Monday class will be largely the same, and Wednesday will have some options to branch out to explore areas that interest you.
Homework: After our introductory classes, begin to work through the lessons. Write up a short blog post on your encounters with Python. How far did you get? Do you think this is a valuable approach for historians? Why or why not?
Note that I do not expect you to become the best Python programmer in the world. Instead, these readings are to help you start thinking about programming and whether we think it matters for Arts students. At the end of the day, if you hated it and got nowhere, that’s fine!
Week 10: March 13th and 15th, Lightning Talks
Each student will present a short lightning talk on their research in progress, with time for questions.
Refreshments will be provided, conference style.
Week 11: March 20th and 23rd, Video Games
Readings will be provided.
These will be the last readings for the course, giving you time to focus on your project.
Week 12: March 27th and 29th, No class, but we will schedule final meetings with Professor Milligan.
Week 13: April 3rd, Course Conclusion
Late work is generally penalized at five percent a day, unless you are in touch with me beforehand and we work something out. If you are submitting a late assignment, e-mail it to me and bring a hard copy (if applicable) to the next class. I will ‘stop the clock’ based on when your e-mail is stamped.
Electronic Device Policy