Instructor: Shawn Graham

Digital History (or, an introduction to hacking as a way of knowing)

In this seminar, we will be looking at what Digital History is, the ways it changes the questions what we can ask about history, the way digital methods change what it is even feasible to ask, and how we communicate this research to a wider public. Technology is not neutral, and we will be exploring the ramifications of that realisation.

Given that many digital tools are also new media tools, the practice of digital history is also often a kind of public  history. This course will explore various concepts and tools currently being used in Digital History. Topics to be discussed may include data mining & text analysis, mobile computing & geographic information systems, network analyses, and serious games. While I do not expect everyone to become a programmer as a result of taking this course, I do expect that a successful student will be able to ‘open the hood’ (as it were) and engage with various digital technologies as appropriate to the student’s own research.

Core Objectives:

  • To understand the implications of digital tools for the practice and philosophy of history
  • To develop critical apparatus for evaluating and situating digital history work
  • To develop facility with one or more digital practices relevant to the student’s own research interests

To be determined, but it will feature a combination of public blogging on a course website, and project work.

There is no set text for this course; readings are drawn from the academic literature, academic research blogs, and project websites.  However, the interested student should begin by looking up The Journal of Digital Humanities, and The Programming Historian to get a sense of the current state of the field.