I’m excited to announce that I will be teaching my digital public history graduate seminar again! I am tweaking the course I taught for American University’s Public History Program (in 2011 and 2012) and will be teaching it as a special topics course this spring in the University of Maryland’s iSchool program.
So, if you are a grad student at UMD (or if you have friends that are) it will be Thursday nights, 6:00-845 in College Park Maryland.
Here is the blurb on the course:
Digital Public History, LBSC 708 (Section D), College Park Maryland, Thursday nights, 6:00-845
This course will explore the current and potential impact of digital media on the theory and practice of history. We will focus on how digital tools and resources are enabling new methods for analysis in traditional print scholarship and the possibilities for new forms of scholarship. For the former, we will explore tools for text analysis and visualization as well as work on interpreting new media forms as primary sources for historical research. For the latter, we will explore a range of production of new media history resources, including practical work on project management and design. As part of this process we will read a range of works on designing, interpreting and understanding digital media. Beyond course readings we will also critically engage a range of digital tools and resources.
Below is a bit of a scratch pad for how I am thinking about tweaking things for the course. I am curious for other comments/suggestions for things to consider with these.
Topics/Weeks I am Considering Swapping in
At the moment there are four areas I am considering as potential revisions/additions to the week by week topics of the course.
- Digital Audio, Oral History and Sound Studies: I am considering adding in a week on oral history in the digital age, aside from the great work tied up in that particular program, I’m thinking about how that could connect with some of the work on computational approaches to working with audio and then bringing in MP3: The Meaning of a Format to also historicize digital audio formats.
- Mobile Media and Place in Public History: At this point we have a range of mobile public history apps that are enabling. There are projects like the Museum from Mainstreet app and the Will to Adorn app that try to enable participatory collecting, projects like Histories of the National Mall that work to situate events in historic sites. I could imagine paring these with something like Mobile Interface Theory: Embodied Space and Locative Media to add a theoretical layer/framework for thinking about this work.
- Collecting & Exhibiting Born Digital Artifacts: Exploring the intersection between Collecting the present: digital code and collections and File Not Found: Rarity in the Age of Digital Plenty and Big Data, Little Narration. This would be a good place to bring in Re-collection Art, New Media, and Social Memory. I’ve shared some thoughts on this before in Tag and Release: Acquiring & Making Available Infinitely Reproducible Digital Objects.
- Bots of Exhibition & Bots of Conviction: I am thinking about Mark Sample’s piece on bots of conviction and connecting that with things like dp.la bot, Tim Sherrett’s Conversations with Collections, and Ed Summer’s work on CongressEdits.
Books I am Considering Adding or Swapping in
One of the things I need to get done sooner rather than later is decide on what books I’m going to keep and or swap out. Here are a few I am considering. I am curious to hear if there are any other books folks think I should be considering.
- In particular, The History Manifesto (which I think nicely focuses on the need for history to become more public)
- MP3: The Meaning of a Format & Racing the Beam (which I think together do a great job at opening up ways to think about digital media/historicize). Are there any other books that have come out that you think warrant consideration for the syllabus?
- Re-collection Art, New Media, and Social Memory (which I think does a nice job at exploring a lot of the issues surrounding the meaning, value and properties of digital artifacts in society)
- Mobile Interface Theory: Embodied Space and Locative Media (mobile continues to profoundly shift how we all engage with and experience digital media and I think it would be a good idea to have a significant book in play for engaging with it.)
Reviewing Some Syllabi for Related Courses
I’ve been trying to keep track of some great looking relevent/related courses to review. This is the list I have so far. I’d love to know of other courses folks think I should take a look at.
- Steve Lubar’s syllabi for public humanities courses
- Jen Guiliano’s Making and Critiquing Digital History course
- Adam Crymble’s Digital Histories Lab
- Shannon Mattern’s Libraries, Archives, Databases course
- Fred Gibbs’ Digital Methods for the Humanities course
- Sharon Leon’s Digital Public History course
So, what do you think?
3 Replies to “Digital Public History Course for an iSchool”
You should add Sharon Leon’s Digital Public History course in that list as well: http://www.6floors.org/teaching/DPH/s2014/schedule/
I would suggest that you add some public history lit in there, too, especially since this is an iSchool. You’ll need to discuss it, and also how it contrasts with and can complement digital history. Perhaps something like this, http://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/march-2008/defining-public-history-is-it-possible-is-it-necessary
I also think Denise Meringolo’s book, Museums, Monuments, and National Parks has a great intro that lays out the evolution of public history as a professional field that is useful.
Another thing I’d recommend is the Letting Go compilation of essays on sharing historical authority in museums. This may not be something that the students come to class with an understanding about, and I think that they essays do a pretty good job of explaining why public historians, curators, et al, have difficulty with user-generated content and sharing, and then some examples of why and how this actually very much in line with the philosophy of doing public history as a collaborative venture.
These are fantastic suggestions Sheila! I do need a good bit more core public history material in here and Sharon’s course is perfect for that. Shifting from teaching a digital history course for a public history program to a digital public history course for a information school means I can’t assume the same kind of background and context on the public history side and your suggestions are great for giving me what I need to do that 🙂
Thanks for this; I am in the process of planning for the teaching of an online Public History class focusing in digital history tools this Spring and your work is very helpful. I would add to the list you have this:
as much for the structure and layout of the course as the actual content.