Schedule of Readings & Assignments

Week 9/1: Introductions

Monday, 10/14: This course and digital public landscape history

Wednesday, 10/16: Sites of Memory


Week 10/2

Monday, 10/21: Public Memory

  • Ken Foote, “Toward a Geography of Memory: Geographical Dimensions of Public Memory and Commemoration,” Journal of Political and Military Sociology 5 (2007): 125–44.

  • Paul A. Shackel, “Public Memory and the Search for Power in American Historical Archaeology,” American Anthropologist 103.3 (2001): 655–70.

Wednesday, 10/23: Remembering Trails

  • Michael J. Zogry, “Wide Open Spaces: The Trail of Tears, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and Gaps in the National Memory” (2008), 56–82.

  • Peter B. Dedek, “‘Wild’ Lands and ‘Tamed’ Indians: Cultural Stereotypes and Route 66,” in Hip to the Trip : A Cultural History of Route 66, 9–27.

  • Robin W. Winks, “A Public Historiography,” The Public Historian 14.3 (1992): 93–105. JSTOR.

In class we’ll use:

Week 11/3

Monday, 10/28: NO CLASS but…

  • A History of the Santa Fe Trail
  • Selections from the NPS Santa Fe History. This is a kind of historic registry nomination form intended to be for all historic sites near the Santa Fe Trail rather than a single specific site, as is more common. It begins with a long and thorough history (with just under 800 footnotes), and also has a long bibliography that we’ll want to keep in mind. We’re reading from section E (Statement of Historic Contexts), which starts on page 3 of the PDF, but is labeled as E1 on the document (yay bureaucracy!). All pages below are as listed in the document, not what your PDF reader says.
    • Make sure you at least skim everything and read carefully what interests you. Some paragraphs have lots of detail to support a larger point; obviously we’re not concerned with minute detail, but it helps indicate what we know and what we don’t about the Trail. Read extra quickly over those bits.
    • Introduction (1-6)
    • Part I (13-38)
    • Part II (39-44)
    • Part III (44-47)
    • Part IV (57-middle 59)
    • Part V (62-top 67)

Wednesday, 10/30: NO CLASS but… <– THIS IS NEW!

No meeting today so you have more research time.

In light of the “official” Santa Fe trail historic registry report, how does that kind of work get reflected (or not) in most easy to find digital resources? What do you think of the information / histories presented in these contexts? Strengths? Weaknesses?

Week 12/4

Monday, 11/04: Humanistic Space

  • David Lowenthal, “Age and Artifact: Dilemmas of Appreciation”, 103–128.
  • Yi-Fu Tuan, “Space and Place: Humanistic Perspective,” in Philosophy in Geography, 387–427.
  • Protecting Cultural Landscapes

Review before class, but don’t worry about details

Wednesday, 11/06: Meanings of Nature

  • Keith H. Basso, Wisdom Sits in Places, 37–70.
  • Robert Moor, On Trails: An Exploration (London: Quarto, 2017), 161–202.

In class

  • Review GitHub instructions (see box for below ASSIGNMENT DUE FRIDAY (yes, Friday))
  • Discussion of existing historic site essays here DUE MONDAY (preview the critique guide), and (random) essay assignments (or assigned via email if you missed class)

Week 13/5

Monday 11/11: Urban Landscapes

Wednesday, 11/13: Essay Drafts!

Today we will cover getting your essay in GitHub. You already know how to create files in our repository; now we’re going to create individual working copies of the website, create files for our essays, start adding markdown code for headers, links, and images.

Here’s what you need to do FOR MONDAY

We will go over all these in class on Wednesday Nov 13.

Create a “Fork” of the trails repository

  • Go to the trails GitHub repository, and click the Fork button in the upper right corner (don’t click the number). This will make a copy of the trails website for you to play around with and develop your essays.
  • You’ll see a popup window asking you where you want to fork it, and you’ll click on your username (you should only have one choice).
  • Notice where you are! You are looking at the repository under YOUR OWN ACCOUNT (not historic-trails, where the live website lives). This is evident from the URL and the top left of the GitHub page. Our shared repository will always have historic-trails in it, and yours will have your GitHub username. But the files look exactly the same!
  • Turn on your own repository’s GitHub Pages website. Under the settings tab, scroll down to the GitHub Pages section (second from the bottom), and under source, change it from none to master branch. Scroll back down to the GitHub Pages section, and notice that it gives you a URL for your version of the trails site. It will look like

Create a new file with your essay

  • Working in YOUR repository (which will look like, go into the sites folder and create a new page for your essay.
  • Make sure the name follows our naming convention (all lower case, dashes instead of spaces, .md extension). Your filename is going to be in the URL for your site, so it should look like all the other essay filenames in the sites folder.
  • Copy and paste in YOUR essay from your Word file or wherever you’ve been writing it.
  • Add blank lines between paragraphs and add section headings for clarity.
  • Add your Essay Metadata as specified in the Code Samples page. Copy and paste from the code sample and edit appropriately.
  • Commit your changes with green button at the bottom of the page.
  • You can test your page by going pasting into your browser, and changing USERNAME to your GitHub username and FILENAME to the name of your file (make sure it matches EXACTLY).
  • Get your page looking like you want within YOUR repository. Make sure there are no page build errors (you will get an email about them).

Let’s make sure we can easily get to your new essay page

  • You are going to edit your entry in our Google Sheet.
  • Remember that this sheet controls the cards on our directory page.
  • Add a short description to the card-description field; try to match the lengths of existing entries.
  • Add the name of your file MINUS the .md extension to the essay-slug field.
  • Refresh or reload the directory page, and your card should link to your essay. If it’s not working, double check that your essay file is in the sites folder and that the name of your file (without the .md) and what’s in the essay-slug column MATCH EXACTLY.

You should have already identified some images to use in your essay. You can get these to appear by following our Loading Images Guide.

All other formatting that you might want to incorporate into your essay can be done by copying and pasting code from the code samples page.

Week 14/6: Trail Accounts and Diaries

Monday, 11/18:

  • Josiah Gregg, Commerce of the Prairies: Or, the Journal of a Santa Fé Trader, during Eight Expeditions across the Great Western Prairies, and a Residence of Nearly Nine Years in Northern Mexico Vol. II, 5th ed. (Philadelphia: J. W. Moore, 1855). Google Books Recommended: 9-21; 27-41; 105-121; 136-142. These are short pages that you can read really quickly so don’t be intimidated by the number of pages. And it reads very quickly!

  • James A. Little, What I Saw on the Old Santa Fe Trail: A Condensed Story of Frontier Life Half a Century Ago (Plainfield, IN: Friends Press, 1904). Google Books Read everything up to the table of contents; 11-38; and pick some other random chapter that you can report on.

How would you characterize the tone of these books? What are the assumptions and cultural frameworks of the authors? To what extent is it possible to capture the richness of these experiences/accounts in modern trail interpretation and administration? Or maybe we should put them behind us and keep them out of view?

Wednesday, 11/20:

  • Read quickly through “Susan Shelby Magoffin: A Wandering Princess on the Santa Fe Trail,” in Deborah Lawrence, Writing the Trail: Five Women’s Frontier Narratives (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2006), 9–34. This very clearly describes how to interpret primary sources from the trail. Don’t worry about the details, but do appreciate how the author of the article is trying to read between the lines of the diary and extract larger meaning from the minutia recorded therein.

  • Virginia Scharff, Twenty Thousand Roads: Women, Movement, and the West (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 35–66. read online.

  • Consult the diaries of Harriett Bidwell Shaw, available here. Note the handwriting and how fun it would be to read it in the original. Luckily, someone has already done very useful transcription work for us. To actually read the diary, click on the “text version” button. You don’t need to read every entry, but the more the better. Read enough to get a sense of her worldview, and what her diary tells us about trail travel in the mid nineteenth century. Please come to class ready to discuss how the diary—both what it says and what it doesn’t—tells us about trail life.

Week 15/7:

Monday, 11/25:

  • All historic site essays should be ENTIRELY COMPLETE (even though you will continue to revise), including clear section headings, clear and focused paragraphs, clear narrative thread, images (with captions), hyperlinks, and related people, places, and articles. For more suggestions (= requirements), see the writing guide.
  • These must be committed to YOUR repository and you should be able to preview your essay as a webpage.
  • For class today, you should print out TWO copies to bring to class for peer review. You should print these directly from your webpage. If you do not have essays to submit for review, don’t bother coming to class.
  • If for some reason you haven’t already, complete info for the directory page in our Google Sheet

Wednesday, 11/27: NO CLASS

It’s basically Thanksgiving already. Use the time to extend the scope of your research. This is NOT OPTIONAL. Essays that don’t provide adequate historical context will be heartily and happily graded down. We’ve talked about this enough in class that you should know what to do.

Week 16/8

Monday, 12/02: NO CLASS


Wednesday, 12/04

  • Loose Ends, Conclusions, and Reflections
  • TODO lists for final revisions (both you and me)

All final versions December 13 at 5:00pm.

  • Consult the writing guide over and over again.
  • Be sure you have completed an entry on our Google Sheet. This makes the cards display on our directory page.
  • Be sure you delete the CNAME file from your repository so that the site will work properly.
  • Remember that you need to sync your fork with the historic-trails repository so that your essay and images will be visible at If you forgot what to do from our last class (or weren’t there), here’s a screencast that shows you exactly what to do.
  • Make sure your file is visible at
  • Good luck!!!