Digital History

Spring 2019 • HIST 300-002
info | readings

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 People’s History 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 these archives. Hunting for digital 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. (I’ll be summarizing this in class)
  • SKIM SLOWLY: Knowledge Infrastructures
  • What is an archives?

3: Archival Power

Tuesday (Jan 29)

Et cetera

  • Lauren Klein, “The Image of Absence: Archival Silence, Data Visualization, and James Hemings,” American Literature 85, no. 4 (January 1, 2013): 661–88.

Thursday (Jan 31)

  • 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.

4: From Analog to Digital Archives

Tuesday (Feb 5)

Thursday (Feb 7)

Et cetera

  • 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)

6: Creating New Archives

Tuesday (Feb 19)

Thursday (Feb 21)

Today we’re looking at a few transcription projects.


7: Text Analysis and Visualization

Tuesday (Feb 26)

Et cetera

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Andrew Goldstone and Ted Underwood, “The Quiet Transformations of Literary Studies: What Thirteenth Thousand Scholars Could Tell Us,” in New Literary History, 2014, 1–30.
  • Between Canon and Corpus: Six Perspectives on 20th-Century Novels
  • 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.


  • [Hathi Trust Digital Archive] and the Research Center
  • Load a corpus into Voyant
  • Blog entry on your findings

Thursday (Feb 28)

Et cetera


8: Spatial History and Historical GIS

Tuesday (Mar 5)

Thursday (Mar 7)


10: Spatial Futures

Tuesday (Mar 19)

Shannon Mattern, Mapping’s Intelligent Agents

Thursday (Mar 21)

Spatial History Project Discussion


  • Spatial History Project

11: Intersectionality: Race, Class, and Gender

Tuesday (Mar 26)

-Beyond the Margins: Intersectionality and the Digital Humanities -All the Digital Humanists are White, all the Nerds are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave

Thursday (Mar 28)

  • María Cotera, “Nuestra Autohistoria: Toward a Chicana Digital Praxis,” American Quarterly 70.3 (2018): 483–504.
  • Joel Zapata, “Taking Chicana/o Activist History to the Public: Chicana/o Activism in the Southern Plains through Time and Space,” Great Plains Quarterly 38.4 (2018): 407–24.
  • Chicano/a Activism in the Southern Plains Interactive Map and Timeline

Et cetera

12: Historical Authorities of Knowledge

Tuesday (Apr 2)

Thursday (Apr 4)

13: Digital Public History

Tuesday (Apr 9)

Thursday (Apr 11)

  • 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 54.4 (2011): 461–68.

14: Critiquing Digital History

Tuesday (Apr 16)

  • American Historical Association, Evaluation of Digital Scholarship in History
  • Fred Gibbs, “The Poetics of Digital Scholarship,” in Ontic Flows: From Digital Humanities to Posthumanities (New York and Dresden: Atropos Press, 2016), 101–22.

Thursday (Apr 18)

Probably no reading so you have time for your critiques


  • Digital History website critique

15: Digital History Now

Tuesday (Apr 23)

Thursday (Apr 25)

16: Loose ends

The last few days have nothing scheduled because we’ll probably be behind with individual and class projects, so a little buffer will help us get caught up as the semester concludes. And if we’re not behind, maybe we don’t need to meet anymore. But don’t get your hopes up.

Tuesday (Apr 30)

Thursday (May 2)