Schedule of Readings & Assignments
1: Course and Digital History (+ Humanities) Introduction
Tuesday (Jan 15)
Today we’ll review the syllabus, course aims, assignments, and general plan for the semester. We’ll also figure out how to customize the course to best suit participants’ interests.
- Brief Introduction to Digital History/Historiography
- Relevance of Digital History to Contemporary Society
Sample Digital History Projects
Valley of the Shadow, Virtual Jamestown, American Social Movements, Civil War Washington, Blue Ridge Parkway, Slave Voyages + a striking visualization, Colonial Dispatches, Colored Conventions, Lynching America, Mapping Segregation, Native Land, UM Heritage Project, First Days Project, American Yawp, American Panorama
Thursday (Jan 17)
Think about and come prepared to discuss what kinds of public digital history projects you’d be excited to work on.
2: The Uses of (Digital) History
Tuesday (Jan 22)
- Beverley Southgate, What is History For?, 10-30.
Thursday (Jan 24)
- Refine your ideas for our Histories of New Mexico Project. Remember that it’s easy to think of cool projects that end up being impossible because we can’t find historical sources. So make sure what you want to focus on has at least some trace in available archives. Hunting for digital (and analog) sources is part of the fun! (ok, no, it’s not always fun, but it’s a necessary step in the process.)
- SKIM QUICKLY: Beverley Southgate, What is History For?, 31-58.
- SKIM SLOWLY: Knowledge Infrastructures
- What is an archives?
3: Archival Power
Tuesday (Jan 29)
- Lauren Klein, “The Image of Absence: Archival Silence, Data Visualization, and James Hemings,” American Literature 85, no. 4 (January 1, 2013): 661–88.
TO-DO FOR TUESDAY
Thursday (Jan 31)
Read one of the following and be prepared to discuss in class. For ideas of what to think about when reading, see the reading response guidelines (even if you’re not going to write anything).
- Marisa Elena Duarte and Miranda Belarde-Lewis, “Imagining: Creating Spaces for Indigenous Ontologies,” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 53, no. 5–6 (July 4, 2015): 677–702.
- Melissa Adler and Lindsey M. Harper, “Race and Ethnicity in Classification Systems: Teaching Knowledge Organization from a Social Justice Perspective,” Library Trends 67.1 (2018): 52–73.
- IN CLASS: Introduction to Metadata and Controlled Vocabularies
- Complete a short project description on our class project page, and link to at least three primary source to organize around. If you can’t find at least three relatively easily, you might have trouble completing the project. So this is a good litmus test as to the viability of your idea.
4: From Analog to Digital Archives
Tuesday (Feb 5)
Create an RSS Feed for your blog and put the link on our RSS Feed page.
Thursday (Feb 7)
- Come to class ready to discuss your experience with some of the interfaces mentioned, or others that you’ve used for something that you’ve found interesting.
- Continue to look for sources for your research essay. We’ll be talking more about that on in class and we will be more productive and efficient if you’ve more some poking around ahead of time.
As discussed in class on Jan 31, this is our first extra credit possibility. This can be done at any point, not just for today The assignment:
- Search for a history book at https://unm.worldcat.org/ or https://library.unm.edu/, that is also held physically in one of our libraries at UNM, and note what you see in the first few pages of search results for that book.
- Note the library call number for the book, and go find it in the stacks.
- Browse around the book and note what kind of books are physically around it—look at a few shelves above and below, too, not just the few books on either side of your target book.
- Write up a standard essay (like transcription assignment) (~800 words) about how these two different browsing experiences compare.
- Obviously there’s no right or wrong answer. But strive for clarity in your description of what you searched for, what you found in both cases, and how you might explain the differences.
- Graded on 0-10 point scale, like everything but reading responses.
- Margaret Hedstrom, “Archives, Memory, and Interfaces with the Past,” 21–43.
- Joshua Sternfeld, “Archival Theory and Digital Historiography: Selection, Search, and Metadata as Archival Processes for Assessing Historical Contextualization,” 544–75.
5: Archives and Algorithms
Tuesday (Feb 12)
Thursday (Feb 14)
- ajobin, Google’s Autocompletion: Algorithms, Stereotypes, and Accountability
- Joy Buolamwini, Algorithms aren’t racist. Your skin is just too dark
- SKIM: Angwin, Larson, Mattu, and Kircher, Machine Bias. Look especially at the images, captions, and statistics provided.
6: Creating New Archives
Tuesday (Feb 19)
- Jimmy Zavala et al., “‘A Process Where We’re All at the Table’: Community Archives Challenging Dominant Modes of Archival Practice.,” Archives and Manuscripts 45, no. 3 (2017): 202–15.
- Laura Sydell, 3D Scans Help Preserve History, But Who Should Own Them?
- SKIM: Michelle Caswell, “Seeing Yourself in History: Community Archives and the Fight Against Symbolic Annihilation,” The Public Historian 36, no. 4 (2014): 26–37.
Thursday (Feb 21)
In class we’ll survey a few transcription projects and go over instructions for your transcription assignment
TO-DO FOR NEXT THURSDAY
- Get started with this over the weekend and bring questions to class on Tuesday.
- Review the assignment guidelines. (summarized below, but important details are on the guidelines page)
- Review some transcription tips.
- Pick one of the transcription projects above.
- Transcribe at least THREE pages (can be sequential pages of the same document).
- Create screen shots of your work, including images of what you’re transcribing and aspects of the interface that you comment on.
- Create a NEW PAGE in your portfolio for your ~800-word essay–this is not a blog post like reading responses–that describes and critiques your experience.
- Imagine that you’re writing for other students in the class (so you don’t need to introduce what a transcription project is, for example). We all know the general assignment, but you can’t assume anyone is familiar with your site, interface, text, or experience.
7: Text Analysis and Visualization
Tuesday (Feb 26)
Some Digital Archives
- Stephan Sinclair and Geoffrey Rockwell, “Text Analysis and Visualization”
- Benjamin M. Schmidt, “Do Digital Humanists Need to Understand Algorithms?,” in Debates in the Digital Humanities.
- Sara Klingenstein, Tim Hitchcock, and Simon DeDeo, “The Civilizing Process in London’s Old Bailey,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111, no. 26 (July 1, 2014): 9419–24.
- Between Canon and Corpus: Six Perspectives on 20th-Century Novels
- Andrew Piper, “Novel Devotions: Conversional Reading, Computational Modeling, and the Modern Novel,” New Literary History 46, no. 1 (May 20, 2015): 63–98.
- Shlomo Argamon et al., “Gender, Race, and Nationality in Black Drama, 1950-2006: Mining Differences in Language Use in Authors and Their Characters” 3, no. 2 (2009), DHQ.
- David L. Hoover, “Corpus Stylistics, Stylometry, and the Styles of Henry James,” Style 41, no. 2 (2007): 174–203.
- David Elson, Nicholas Dames, and Kathleen McKeown, “Extracting Social Networks from Literary Fiction,” in Proceedings of the 48th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Uppsala, Sweden: Association for Computational Linguistics, 2010), 138–147.
Thursday (Feb 28)
DUE: Transcription essays
8: Loose Ends
Tuesday (Mar 5)
- DUE: REVISED AND IMPROVED transcription essays
- 1/2 semester QUIZ!!!
- Transcription post-mortem
- Topic modeling assignment possibility (see below)
- Richard White, What is spatial history?
- Spatial History Project Possibilities
OPTIONAL Topic Modeling Assignment
- Pick an old medical journal (or two) from this list. Don’t be intimidated by all the text and commas. Part of the lesson here is to learn to use a CSV file.
- Go to archive.org, search for the title of your journal.
- Download 5-10 journals—get the TEXT FILE, not the PDF–and put them all into a single folder on your desktop.
- Create a free account at Overview, and upload your directory of files (it’s pretty obvious how to do this).
- Write up your explorations on a separate topic modeling page on your digital portfolio (the usual ~800 words, 0-10 point grading scale).
Thursday (Mar 7)
- Pre-break break. We all need it.
9: SPRING BREAK
10: Spatial History, Historical GIS, and Digital Mapping
Tuesday (Mar 19)
- David J. Bodenhamer, “The Potential of Spatial Humanities”, 14-30. (note the Zotero PDF has an extra chapter at the beginning, so make sure you read chapter 2).
- IN CLASS: Introduction to GIS and Historical GIS
Thursday (Mar 21)
11: Intersectionality: Race, Class, and Gender
Tuesday (Mar 26)
We didn’t quite get to these last time, so it’s our top priority for today. Should only take 20 minutes or so, but we can be more efficient in you’ve browsed the exercise guidelines ahead of time. As with all exercises, these are optional, but also opportunities for easy points.
Thursday (Mar 28)
Choose your place
- Before class, pick a building or space on campus. Buildings that no longer exist have important spatial histories, too! Take a few minutes to find something that interests you.
- You can consult this list to get started, but you can do anything you want as long as no one else has claimed it.
- Add your name (in the author column) and building/place (in the place-name column) to our UNM Campus History Index
- Ignore all the other columns for now
- Note that the data on this page will be used on our collaborative website, take care with details!
- Americo Paredes, The Hammon and the Beans and Other Stories (Houston, TX: Arte Publico Press, 1994), 3-9.
- How does intersectionality affect how space is conceived or structured? In other words, how is space modified by race, class, and gender? When reading Paredes think about what the landscape tells us about these positionalities. Who moves between the different spaces in the short story, who determines the spacial boundaries and their markers? What can be read in this movement? As White states in What is Spatial History? (week 9!) we “produce and reproduce space through our movements and the movements of goods…” and I would add the movement of ideologies as well.
Drawing only from the cues in the short story, draw a map of Jonesville on the Grande. As a literary cartographer, you get to decide what to include. Bring a physical copy to class because we will be using them during class.
12: Historical Authorities of Knowledge + Collaboration
Tuesday (Apr 2)
Today’s class will be split into two halves; the first part a discussion of History and Wikipedia, the second a discussion about the technology required for our collaborative spatial history project.
If you miss class you will create a lot of confusion for yourself and waste time. What we’re doing cannot be explained effectively via email, and I will not teach this class again to you personally during office hours—so you need to be in class. We will be using these tools for our spatial history project and there is no alternative. Of course I will help you with problems, but you need to see the explanation in person first.
- Roy Rosenzwieg, “Can History Be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past.” Journal of American History 93.1 (2006): 117-146.
Peruse these beforehand:
- Introduction to Markdown
- Introduction to GitHub. Read through this tutorial, but do not actually do all the steps—just try to understand what’s going on and we’ll go over it.
Do in class or ASAP afterward
- As with all our other tools, we’re using real world tools as part of our survey of digital interfaces to history.
- Create a free and secure account at GitHub. You can pick any username/password you want—it’s independent of UNM and Zotero.
- Add your GitHub username to our shared Google Doc of GitHub usernames by the end of the day, and I’ll invite everyone to join our GitHub Team. Like Zotero, You’ll get an email asking if you want to accept the invitation. Do it!
- Use either Dillinger or a text editor (like Atom) to create a plaintext Markdown file with some dummy text that includes some Markdown formatting—this shows me you understand the basics of Markdown. Be sure to save it as
fred-gibbs.md). The text in your file doesn’t matter, but make sure your filename:
- has no spaces
- is all lower case
- ends with
- Be sure you are logged into GitHub, then add your Markdown file to our GitHub repository. To do this, click on the
testfiles folder, or simply click HERE then drag and drop your file onto your browser window. You should see my own test file there,
fred-gibbs.md. If you don’t see my file, you’re in the wrong place!
- Click the green ‘Commit Changes’ button near the bottom of the page.
Thursday (Apr 4)
Make sure your Markdown file is in the
Pick one of these two and be ready to discuss:
13: Digital Public History
Tuesday (Apr 9)
These are short, easy, and important, so you should read both. If you do a reading response for today, you should discuss both!
Thursday (Apr 11)
- Building off our testfiles exercise: for today, put a sample Markdown file for your UNM space (with appropriate file name) in our repository. We are not using the
testfiles folder anymore, but rather our essays folder in the docs folder. In this folder you will see an
images directory and my
mesa-vista-hall.md sample file.
- You do not have to have done any research—you can simply use the text from my sample file. Simply copy and paste this text into your editor—including the info at the very top— save it as a text file, and drag and drop it into the essays folder, as you did in the previous exercise.
- PRO TIP: You can also create a file directly on GitHub by using the “Create New File” button, and copying and pasting text into the editor window. Remember to hit the green “Commit Changes” button.
- Your final essays will have lots of images in them, so we want to be sure everyone can display images in your place holder file.
- Find a test image to use (it does not have to be related to your campus space for this exercise) and download it to your computer. Rename the file according to our naming conventions (all lower case and dashes instead of spaces). The name should help you remember what the image is (keep in mind you will have lots of images to keep track of eventually).
- To display images, we need them in our repository. You can add images as you have created files. Navigate to the the images folder and either drag and drop a single file, or select bunch and drag them all at once(much easier!).
- You need to make sure the block of code that loads the image is customized to your image by changing the
source fields, but the
source field must always start with
- If you use my sample, change
src="images/YOUR-IMAGE-FILENAME.EXT" but replace
YOUR-IMAGE-FILENAME.EXT with the name of your image file.
- IMPORTANT: The filename in the quotes and the name of your image file MUST MATCH EXACTLY (see the yellow box below), including the extension. My sample image file uses
.jpg but yours might be different (.jpeg, or .png or .JPG, etc)
- Notice that the GitHub page for your file (like the Mesa Visa one) makes your Markdown look nice (with headers and bold and so on) but it does not display images.
- To see if your images are working, go to your live webpage, which is at a URL like
https://unm-campus-histories.github.io/spaces/essays/mesa-vista-hall except you need to replace
mesa-vista-hall with the name of your file. We will have an easier way of doing that soon.
- Your webpage can take up to ten minutes to refresh when you make changes–usually just one or two minutes, but please be patient. Save yourself frustration by BEING CAREFUL with punctuation, ESPECIALLY WHEN CUTTING AND PASTING.
- For reference, consult the THE CODE SAMPLES PAGE!
If your image isn’t showing up, there is 95% chance you referencing the wrong filename or folder. And a 5% chance you haven’t put files in the right place.
- check the file extension (.jpg, .jpeg, .JPG, .png)
- check capitalization (mesa-vista is NOT THE SAME as Mesa-Vista)
- check for spaces and dashes (mesa-vista is NOT THE SAME as mesa vista)
- make sure your image file is where it is supposed to be, in
- make sure your place file is in the
docs/essays folder, and the image path in your code starts with
- Andrew Hurley, “Chasing the Frontiers of Digital Technology: Public History Meets the Digital Divide,” The Public Historian 38, no. 1 (2016): 69–88.
- Bruce Wyman et al., “Digital Storytelling in Museums: Observations and Best Practices,” Curator: The Museum Journal 54, no. 4 (2011): 461–68.
14: Critiquing Data Interfaces
Tuesday (Apr 16)
Recommended Due Date
Complete a first draft of your visual essays to gauge how long its taking and what kind of images you can find.
In class we’ll discuss drafts of visual essays, look at how to critique a data interface, and review the data interface critique guidelines. Please read the guidelines ahead of time, but there’s no other required reading.
Thursday (Apr 18)
Recommended Due Date
Complete an outline or very rough draft of your spatial history essay to gauge how your research is coming along and how long its taking.
Remember, you should post your markdown essay to our essays folder in our repository, with all your images in the images folder.
Then you can visit the URL of your page to see it live. The URL will look like https://unm-campus-histories.github.io/spaces/essays/mesa-vista-hall. Just replace
mesa-vista-hall with your own markdown file name.
IN CLASS: UNM Spatial History essay questions, answers, and critiques. We will take volunteers to have their essay DRAFTS critiqued in class. It’s a GREAT way to get lots of feedback and ideas for improvement. We’ll also go over the directory and map pages of the site.
Make your KML files and Directory Cards
15: Digital Activism
Tuesday (Apr 23)
Make your KML files and cards
This short article is going to be the basis of our discussion about spatial history and erasure. It will help us link our UNM spatial histories to much broader concerns about architecture, land use, community, identity, and regionalism.
- Gail Okawa, “Finding American World War II Internment in Santa Fe: Voices Through Time.” In Marta Weigle (ed.), Telling New Mexico: A New History. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 2009. 360–73. (in Zotero)
Thursday (Apr 25)
NO CLASS – RESEARCH TIME
16: Wrapping up & Loose ends
Tuesday (Apr 30)
Stuff to quickly browse that will come up in discussion:
- Carol M. Taylor, “W.E.B. DuBois’s Challenge to Scientific Racism,” Journal of Black Studies 11, no. 4 (1981): 449–60.
- Decolonizing Research
Extra (non-really) Credit
We have been commissioned to review a local digital history project! Write up a 400-word review (as a post or page in your portfolio) of A Most Splendid Company. Follow the critique guidelines, although there is not a lot to say about visualizations. It is, however, intended as an interface to historical data. A serious effort will get you an easy 4 points.
Specific questions for us to address:
- Is it readily apparent what the purpose of the website is?
- How easy is it for the first-time user to navigate into, out of, and through the site?
- Are there actions that users wanted to take, but could not or found difficult or unnecessarily complicated?
- Was there anything that you sensed was missing from the site?
Remember that the best critiques will take into account the way we’ve critiqued digital history projects all semester, not only on the above questions.
Thursday (May 2)
Recommended Due Date
Make sure you have a complete draft of your visual essays posted to your portfolio. We’ll review and critique some of your essays (usually there are plenty of volunteers), which help outline both general and specific concrete examples for making yours better before the final due date.
Technically, all work is due Tuesday, May 7, by 9:30am, which is the end of our scheduled final exam. (we of course don’t have an actual exam)
HOWEVER: Everyone is welcome to an extension until 5:00pm, Friday, May 10.
If you finish before then, I’d very much appreciate a quick email to let me know so I can get a jump on (re)evaluating all your work.