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

Begin with the Instagram feed of the Leventhal Map Center of the Boston Public Library; every day they post an interesting historical map.

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:

An especially expansive and beautiful digital library of maps (at high resolution) is David Rumsey Map Collection (Stanford University)

Stanford 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.

Paper 2 Advice

During class on Oct 24th I asked everyone to check in about where they are with Paper #2. Most people haven’t yet begun to solidify their ideas, so I thought it might help if I offered some general advice. I am happy to follow up in office hours or individually with anyone, of course.

The most important rule of Paper #2 is TRYING SOMETHING NEW. Rather than starting with a topic (which might be your default thinking before starting an assignment), instead try identifying what you want to do that’s NEW-FOR-YOU in your paper *and* how that new thing connects to what we’ve done in class during this Unit. For example: Are you using a type of source you’ve never used before? Are you trying an interpretive method you haven’t tried before? Is there something you stumbled on during our “lab” days that you hadn’t known of or thought about before? Did one of our Tuesday readings inspire you or give you a model you can use? Would you like to expand on one of this unit’s journal entries? You don’t have to do ALL of these things, just choose ONE and pursue it in the spirit of taking an intellectual risk.

As with Paper #1, the smaller and narrower the scope, the better the resulting paper will be, since you only have 1000-1500 words. I will not be strict about the upper limit if you want to exceed it, but would encourage you to strive for a tightly constructed paper rather than one which rambles widely. As we’ve seen in working with different kinds of archives in Unit 2, something which is expertly curated and concise is clearer and easier to understand that one which is disorganized and overloaded with information.

Lastly, if you struggled with footnotes, citations, or bibliography formatting in Paper #1, review Turabian closely and work on references early in the paper process instead of leaving it to the very end, especially if you are working with less-familiar sources.

Hope this advice helps stoke your enthusiasm for the second paper assignment, which ideally emerges organically out of the hard work and “sandbox play” you’ve done during our discussions and workshop sessions in this Unit.

Government Documents Workshop (Thurs 10/24)

Congressional Record up to 1875

List of Federal Agencies

For a well-designed site featuring 100 key US documents, see

Government Printing Office: FDsys

Government Documents online, via the Internet Archive

Constitution of the United States – see virtual exhibit on the National Archives website

State Constitutions
(University of Maryland Baltimore)

US Serials Set (some of which are online, some of which are only in bound volumes in depository libraries)

Checklist of Government Publications, 1789-1909

Understanding Su Doc Classification Numbers: an online tutorial (Michigan State U)

Congressional hearings, via the Library of Congress

See also Senate hearings on the US Senate website

Federal Register (National Archives, since 1994)

Supreme Court cases: see the US Supreme Court website, also the Oyez Project

National Security Archive – a massive document dump of declassified material from FOIA requests (George Washington University)

Native American Tribal Law, Constitutions, and Treaties – National Indian Law Library

Miller Center for Presidential Studies (University of Virginia)

American Presidency Project (Univ of California Santa Barbara)

Many 20th-century presidents have Presidential Libraries: e.g. Nixon, Truman, FDR, Hoover

Massachusetts State –
Massachusetts Archive Collection
MA Historical Legal Documents and Laws

Unit 2, Week 4: Government Documents

In our Historian’s Craft discussion and workshop this week, you’ll be learning about sources produced by, for, or about official governments, past or present.

Ohio Supreme Court, Columbus Ohio. Photo Credit: Andrew F. Scott

The assigned reading for Tuesday 10/22 is posted on Blackboard under Content, a 2001 article from American Libraries journal titled “Government Documents at the Crossroads.” After reading that, make a list of all the kinds of “government documents” you can think of (without Googling). What might fall into that category?

After making your list, spend some time in these two library subject guides: “Government Information Overview” (WSU Library) and “Finding Government Documents,” (University of New Haven) – some of the UNH instructions are specific for their library, but their list provides an overview of the spectrum of government documents and some resources that our library may not – try clicking around on a few of their tabs (Business, President, Congress, Judicial, CJ, etc) to explore some of the categories and see what you stumble onto. Add any new findings to your list.

Buck v. Bell case (Oyez / Justia)

More on the Buck v. Bell case (NPR Fresh Air 2017 interview with Adam Cohen, author of Imbeciles)

On Thursday 10/24, BRING LAPTOPS and I’ll post a list of sites and ideas for exploring Gov Docs in class.

Journal #7 is due on Friday, Nov 1.