Since we’re spending three hours together once a week, I’ve set up the schedule into “halves” for each class. We’ll meet for roughly an hour and a half, take a fifteen minute break, and reconvene for the remainder of the class. The first half of the class will either revolve around a guest or around reading discussion. The second half may vary with reading discussion, tool discussion, or getting hands-on with a tool.

Note that readings are due on the date under which they are listed. For example, on September 29 we are discussing digital archives, so you should spend the week prior completing the readings, assignments, and prior-to-class exercises.

Prior to class: Getting started

Readings

Sept 22: Introductions, syllabus, what is digital history?

Readings

  • Stephanie Pincetl, “The Formative Years,” in Transforming California: A Political History of Land Use and Development, pp. 1–24.
  • What is Digital History?,” by Douglas Seefeldt and William G. Thomas, May 2009.
  • Becoming Digital,” from Daniel J. Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web.
  • The Promise of Digital History,” JAH Interchange.

Exercise:

  • Introduction to Markdown, git, and GitHub. We will work in-class to introduce you to GitHub and Markdown, a platform and a syntax that we will be using for posting to the course blog. Ahead of class, please sign up for an account on GitHub. During the week after class, please complete GitHub’s interactive tutorial for git and look at Scott Chacon’s Pro Git, in particular chapters 1-3 and 5.

Sept 29: Digital Sources & Digital Archives

Guest: Leslie Berlin and Daniel Hartwig, Stanford University Archives

Readings:

  • Daniel Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, “Owning the Past?” in Digital History.
  • Melissa Terras, “Digitization’s Most Wanted,” May 2014.
  • Timothy J. Sturgeon, “How Silicon Valley Came to Be,” in Understanding Silicon Valley: The Anatomy of an Entrepreneurial Region, ed. Martin Kenney (Stanford: Stanford University Press): 15-47.

Exercise:

Examine at least two of the following digital archives and be prepared to discuss them in class:

Assignments:

  • Blog Post #1. Write about the digital archive you looked at and share your thoughts about the project. Try to tie the archives back to the readings. Think about how these projects relate to some of the issues, themes, and challenges raised by the readings. The post is due by Saturday September 27 at midnight.
  • Discussion questions posted to the course blog by Sunday September 28 at midnight.
  • Carole L. Palmer, “Thematic Research Collections”, Companion to Digital Humanities.
  • William G. Thomas III and Edward L. Ayers, “The Differences Slavery Made
  • The Stanford Silicon Valley Archives,” Stanford University Libraries.
  • Stuart W. Leslie, “The Biggest ‘Angel’ of Them All: The Military and the Making of Silicon Valley,” in Understanding Silicon Valley: The Anatomy of an Entrepreneurial Region, ed. Martin Kenney (Stanford: Stanford University Press): 48-67.

Oct 6: Data and the Humanities

Guest: Mark Braude, Humanities+Design

Readings:

Exercise:

Introduction to Open Refine. Prior to class, do your best to complete this tutorial on Open Refine/Google Refine. During class, we will familiarize ourselves with Palladio and work with data you discover online. This may mean also combining your experience with Refine. In class, use the tutorial videos produced by the Palladio team to learn about the platform and what it can do. Consult the course website’s References to find potential sources of historical data, or work with the data you’ve discovered in your research.

Assignments:

  • Blog Post #2. Write about your experience using Open Refine and the challenges you worked through or questions that arose as you completed the tutorial. What unique challenges are present with historical data? Are there ways we can surmount these issues? In what ways can we reconcile the precision expected by computers with the uncertainty of historical data? The post is due by Saturday October 4 at midnight.
  • Discussion questions posted to the course blog by Sunday October 5 at midnight.

Oct 13: Text Mining and Analysis

Guest: Mark Algee-Hewitt and Ryan Heuser, Stanford Literary Lab

Readings:

Exercise

Introduction to Voyant Tools. Prior to class, complete the tutorial by Brian Croxall, “Comparing Corpora in Voyant Tools,” and find historical texts of your own and begin to use Voyant to analyze the texts. During class, we will be introduced to MALLET and topic modeling, and you will work on completing the tutorial by Shawn Graham, Scott Weingart, and Ian Milligan, “Getting Started with MALLET,” The Programming Historian.

Assignment:

  • Blog Post #3. Write about the readings and your work with Voyant. In what ways can we use such tools to analyze historical information? What sort of insights can we anticipate? Are there limitations in the tool that stand out to you? Speculate on how we might examine Silicon Valley’s history through the use of textual analysis? The post is due by Saturday October 11 at midnight.
  • Discussion questions posted to the course blog by Sunday October 12 at midnight.

Oct 20: Spatial History

Guest: Cameron Blevins, Spatial History Project

Readings:

  • Richard White, “What Is Spatial History?,” Spatial History Project, February 2010.
  • Jo Guldi, “What is the Spatial Turn?” and “The Spatial Turn in History”.
  • Cameron Blevins, “Space, Nation, and the Triumph of Region: A View of the World from Houston,” Journal of American History (2014).
  • Richard Walker, “Industry Builds Out the City: The Suburbanization of Manufacturing in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1850-1940,” in Manufacturing Suburbs.

Take the time to examine a couple of these projects and be prepared to discuss them:

Exercise:

Introduction to Google Maps Engine Lite. Prior to class, complete the following tutorial on Google Maps Engine: Jim Clifford, Josh MacFadyen, and Daniel Macfarlane, “Intro to Google Maps and Google Earth.” In class, we will take a look at Neatline and Omeka for creating spatial exhibits. Consult the Resources page on the course website to find potential sources of historical data, or work with the data you’ve discovered in your research.

Assignment:

  • Blog post #4. For this week’s blog post, after you’ve completed the Google Maps and Google Earth tutorial, begin by creating a historical geolocated Google map using a map of your choice from the David Rumsey Historical Maps Collection or using maps you’ve discovered in your research. Include screen captures or embedded maps in your post. Reflect on spatial history and the usefulness of analyzing historical events spatially. How might we understand the history of Silicon Valley through spatial history? Due by Saturday October 18 at midnight.
  • Discussion questions posted to the course blog by Sunday October 19 at midnight.
  • “Mapschool: A free introduction to geo,” http://mapschool.io/.
  • Lessons from the Geospatial Historian
  • Ben Schmidt, “Reading digital sources: a case study in ship’s logs,” Sapping Attention, November 15, 2012.
  • Bodenhamer, David J., John Corrigan, and Trevor M. Harris. The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010.
  • Gregory, Ian N. and Alistair Geddes. Toward Spatial Humanities: Historical GIS and Spatial History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014.
  • Matthew A. Zook, Chapters 7 and 8, in The Geography of the Internet Industry (Malden: Blackwell, 2005): 96-132.
  • Roger Lotchin, Fortress California: From Warfare to Welfare, 1910-1961

Oct 27: Network Analysis

Guest: Elijah Meeks, Digital Humanities Specialist

Readings:

Take the time to examine a couple of these network projects and be prepared to discuss them:

Exercise

Introduction to Gephi. Prior to class, complete this tutorial for Gephi by Martin Grandjean. Create a network using historical data provided Grandjean, find practice datasets on the Gephi wiki, or use data you’ve uncovered in your own research. Play around with different layouts and algorithms and take note of how it changes the network and your interpretations of the network.

Assignment:

  • Blog Post #5. Reflect on the ways historians could use network analysis in their work. What sort of relationships might networks allow us to see? What sort of networks did you create and what did you learn about the different algorithms? What sort of historical questions could we pose about Silicon Valley using networks? Try to include screenshots from your Gephi exercise. Post due by Saturday October 25 at midnight.
  • Discussion questions posted to the course website by Sunday October 26 at midnight.

Nov 3: Narrative, Visualization, and Digital Media

Guest: Nicholas Bauch, Spatial History Project

Readings:

  • Nick Bauch, Enchanting the Desert (website and credentials via CourseWork)
    • We will also be reading the anonymous peer reviews of the project and Nick’s responses to the reviews. Make sure to spend a significant amount of time with Nick’s project – at least an hour or two.
  • John Theibault, “Visualization and Historical Arguments
  • Johanna Drucker, “Humanities Approaches to the Graphic Display,” Digital Humanities Quarterly 5 (2011).

Exercise:

Examine one or two of the following projects:

Assignment:

  • Blog Post #6. Reflect on the ways we can take advantage of the affordances of the non-linear nature of digital narrative in communicating information and new knowledge about the past. Historical events rarely unfold in the linear fashion we often present them in books. Can hypertext or interactivity help us more effectively communicate the past? Can new narratives be crafted that better explain contingency and complexity of the past? Due by Saturday November 1 at midnight.
  • Discussion questions posted to the course website by Sunday November 2 at midnight.
  • Andrew Kirk, “Appropriating Technology: Alternative Technology, The Whole Earth Catalog and Counterculture Environmental Politics,” Environmental History 6.3 (2001): 374-394.
  • Stephen Robertson, “Doing History in Hypertext,” Journal of the Association for History and Computing, August 2004.
  • Janet H. Murray, “From Additive to Expressive Form,” Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace.
  • Edward Tufte, Envisioning Information
  • William G. Thomas, “Writing A Digital History Journal Article from Scratch: An Account” (December 2007).
  • Stuart W. Leslie & Robert H. Kargon “Selling Silicon Valley: Frederick Terman’s Model for Regional Advantage,” Business History Review 70 (1996): 435–472.
  • Lev Manovich, “What is Visualization?” Poetess Archive Journal 2 (December 2010).

Nov 10: NO CLASS

Work on projects. Schedule a time this week to check-in with the instructor on the progress of your project.

Nov 17: The Futures of Digital History

You will present on the progress of your research to the class. Come prepared to talk for at least five minutes, with an additional five to ten minutes of question and answer. Your presentation should focus on the research your conducting, the historical question(s) you’re asking, examples of the digital work you’re completing, and how digital methods are helping address your research questions.

Assignment:

  • Blog Post #7. Synthesize everything that we’ve talked about and what you have seen over the course of the quarter. What do you envision will be the future of digital history? Do you think digital history will play a role in the way we analyze and interpret the past? Are there ways that digital history fall short and where can it improve it? Post due by Saturday November 17 at midnight.

Nov 24: NO CLASS

Thanksgiving Break. Work on projects.

Dec 1: Final presentations and electronic poster session

Wallenberg Learning Theater

Dec 8: NO CLASS

Good luck on finals!

Final book review due December 8