In 1986, Santa Clara County, California, had more Superfund sites than any other county in the nation. Other sites have captured the attention of U.S. environmental historians—Love Canal, the Cuyahoga River fires, the Valley of Drums in Kentucky—but overlooked in these stories are the presence of toxics in Silicon Valley. The supposed cleanliness of high-tech industrialization gave way under the widespread presence of toxic chemicals throughout Silicon Valley. Suburbanites reacted by forming an environmental critique of high tech, along the way reshaping environmental politics in the Valley.
Among the more unique offerings William F. Cody provided his audiences was the presence of Lakota performers, who called themselves oskate wicasa. Hundreds worked for Cody between 1883 and 1917, and through their performances helped cement in the American mind the image of Native people as horse mounted and teepee dwelling peoples. Yet the involvement of Lakota in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West illustrates a deeper point about Progressive thought at the turn of the century.
Presenting on our LYRASIS-funded project, “Mobile Digitization for Community Archives.”
This workshop aims to encourage argument-driven digital history that contributes to disciplinary conversations. The participants will discuss conceptual and structural issues involved in argumentation for academic audiences. The workshop participants have been selected for their expertise in a range of digital history methodologies—including 3D analysis, network analysis, digital collections, and mapping and spatial analysis—as well as the chronological range their historical fields. The workshop aims to identify the reasons that digital historians have been slow to make arguments, and to draw up a set of guidelines to encourage digital historical argumentation.
“Mapping Silicon Valley” explores the role of spatial history in the urban environment of post-World War II Santa Clara Valley. Silicon Valley is the product of competing landscapes. The geographer D. W. Meinig refers to landscapes as “a naïve acceptance of the intricate intermingling of physical, biological, and cultural features which any glance around us displays.” Wildlife refuges, fenced military installations, city and neighborhood districts, and polluted sites all hold definitions on the land.
Can digital maps revitalize and enhance the study of the American Midwest? Using a project developed in partnership with the Midwestern History Association, Dr. Jason A. Heppler will discuss the role of digital maps in overcoming the limitations of print maps, and how such maps can be used for historical research, teaching, and public engagement. Despite the continued interest in regions and historical atlases devoted to telling regional histories, none have been published about the Midwest.
Although considered a model for an alternative form of industrialization not burdened by smokestacks and heavy pollution, Silicon Valley’s history as a high-tech manufacturer has resulted in ecological disaster, social inequality, and jumpstarted debates about urban sustainability. Silicon Valley extols it’s relationship with the natural world: access to mountain ranges, proximity to salt and fresh water beaches, large open spaces, hikers, horseback riders, mountain bikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. But that reputation masks the more complicated story that made compromises with the natural world.
Digital technology has become a key component of public history and cultural heritage, from mobile devices, Geographic Information Systems, 3D modeling, augmented reality, and online exhibits. This session will address the ways digital technologies can heighten civic engagement and activism as well as engage communities in creating their histories. Case studies of two community engagement projects will highlight the drawbacks and benefits to using digital techniques in community engagement and emphasize how such approaches can empower communities to tell their stories and experiences.
Recent talks and conference presentations I've given. For a complete listing of talks, see my CV.
Greetings! My name is Jason Heppler. I am a Digital Engagement Librarian and Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a scholar of the twentieth-century United States. I often write here about the history of the North American West, technology, the environment, politics, culture, and coffee. You can follow me on Twitter, or learn more about me.