Class Cancelled Dec 3; This Week’s Readings

Class is cancelled today, Tuesday Dec 3, due to the (second!) 2-hour delay at Worcester State. Please use the time to catch up on the reading and viewing for today, including the two essays “Our Memorials, Ourselves” and “Re-Membering Vietnam,” and Mayor Landrieu’s speech from 2017 when New Orleans was taking down some of its Confederate monuments. See you Thursday, when we will discuss this week’s reading and also take a look at several statements of professional ethics applicable to historians.

Public History: Tues Nov 26

Links for today:

HistoryRelevance.com Value of History

National Council on Public History

“Reopening a House That’s Still Divided” (NYTimes, 12/15/2010)

“Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy,” Southern Poverty Law Center

Michael Twitty, “Dear Disgruntled White Plantation Visitors, Sit Down” (Afroculinaria, August 2019)

Look Closer: Historical Moment for Monticello June 2018 (6:39)

Unearthing Sally Heming’s Legacy at Monticello August 2018 (PBS NewsHour 8:06)

Digital History for Thurs Nov 21

For Thursday Nov 21, our topic is an emerging subfield of history: Digital History.

There is a Blackboard module to work through, and — this is key — it contains a downloadable worksheet to complete as you work through the module *before class.* This is a different kind of homework from what I’ve assigned before, so pay attention!

Please save, print, and bring your finished worksheet to class. There will also be an assignment portal on Blackboard to upload it if you can’t be there in person or you’re unable to print it. (Print is preferred, if at all possible).

Film Links

Links for Tuesday:

Reel American History (Lehigh University)
Library of Congress National Film Registry
Twitter hashtag #HATM
Brief History of Film (5 min)
Windy Day in NYC (1903) (2:22)
Jewish Fish Market, Lower East Side (1903) (2 min)
1906 Trolley Ride Down Market St, San Francisco (10 min)
Lumiere Brothers Early Films (12 min)
Great Train Robbery (1903) – guitar score + colorization (10.30 min)
Trailer: THEM! (1954) 3 min
A Long Shot (Atonement, 2007) 5 min

Film as History, History on Film

On Tuesday November 19 our reading is Tom Gunning, Making Sense of Films. We will talk about film and history: historical film, how historians and filmmakers (and perhaps other categories – the news media? TikTok? YouTubers?) use film and the moving image to craft historical narratives and interpretations, documentaries, and films that made history (in the dual sense of the word).

Tues Nov 12 – Library Exploration Day

Today we will explore possible Paper 3 topics and receive library instruction from Ross Griffiths. Instead of our regular classroom, meet in LRC 236 — the glass-enclosed instruction room behind the library reference area.

See you there! Bring laptops!

Paper #2 Due Thursday

Bring it as a printed paper to class.

Please include a cover letter (before your title page), in which you explain to me how you met at least one of the 4 criteria for “risk-taking” and what you experimented with that’s new-for-you from Unit 2.

Gaddis, The Landscape of History

Welcome to Unit 3, in which we explore aspects of history as a professional field (including “professors”).

This week (Nov 5 and 7) we will discuss Gaddis’s book The Landscape of History, an elegant book on the philosophy and methods of history and historical thinking.

Here are the Discussion Questions we’ll use for our class discussion. I suggest you use them to organize your reading and note-taking.

Tues Nov 5 – “How Historians Map the Past” Chapters 1-6

Thurs Nov 7 – “Molecules with Minds of their Own” Chapters 7 and 8, also Paper #2 is due by classtime.

Unit 2, Week 5: Maps Workshop

Here are some case studies using maps that I’ve come across recently for us to start with and consider.

Map of US with states labeled by how they’re ranked “worst” (Maps on the Web Tumblr)

What if the NY Subway Map stops were all named for women?

Current wind patterns, mapped onto the US

Could North America be re-mapped into 11 nations?

What if there were no gerrymandering?

Mapping “witchcraft” in case law (appropos of Halloween)

After exploring those, spend some time exploring a few other links related to historical maps or mapping as a historical method. A recent article in Forbes magazine talks about how digital mapping helps us understand racism and the history of segregation, including:

David Rumsey Map Collection (Stanford University)
Norman B. Leventhal Map Center (Boston Public Library)

Stanford also hosts the Mapping the Republic of Letters project from Dan Edelstein and Paula Findlen, tracing (and mapping) the trajectory of thousands of letters from the pens of European Enlightenment writers. Here’s a brief video explaining the project:

Other innovative projects work with recreating or layering historical maps, and creating digital environments of the past (We will talk more about this on our Digital History day next month). Some examples include:

Unit 2, Week 5: Mapping History

Please Note: we will discuss Robert Gaddis’s book The Landscape of History on Nov 5 and Nov 7. You might want to start reading it this week; here are the Discussion Questions we’ll be use for our class discussion. Note that Nov 7 is the SAME DAY that your Paper #2 is due, so plan out your time carefully so that you’re prepared with both on the same day.

For the last of our “play in the sandbox” workshop weeks, we’ll look at maps and mapping. Maps are a fascinating set of sources that represent–and to some extent also determine–reality. A clip from the TV show The West Wing helps illustrate this nicely.

For Tuesday Oct 29, please read Stephens, Making Sense of Maps (like Making Sense of Letters and Diaries, it has multiple sections, please make sure you read the whole thing navigating with the red table of context box). We will not meet in class on this day.

Thurs 10/31, bring laptops as usual, for our last Thursday “sandbox” session.

I also recommend you check out the Instagram feed of the Leventhal Map Center of the Boston Public Library; every day they post an interesting historical map.