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.

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: 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.