All assignments or blog posts given on Thursday are due before the start of class on Tuesday. With the exception of our first week, think of Tuesday as lecture days and Thursdays as lab days.
Jan. 9: Introductions
Prior to class, please spend some time perusing the following:
- William Cronon, “How to Read a Landscape”
- Center for Culture, History, and Environment, “Reading an Urban Landscape”
- Caleb McDaniel, “How to Read for History”, August 1, 2008
- Orientation to class
- Environment & Society Portal Multimedia Library
- Sign up for web hosting at Reclaim Hosting. Think carefully about your domain name.
- Please fill out the following form before 5:00pm Saturday, January 13
Jan. 11: Defining Digital Humanities
- Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, Digital History, Introduction, Chapter 1
- Stephen Robertson, “The Differences Between Digital History and Digital Humanities”
- Miriam Posner, “How Did They Make That?,” August 29, 2013.
- William G. Thomas III, “Computing and the Historical Imagination,” in A Companion to Digital Humanities, ed. Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth (Blackwell, 2004).
- Introduction to digital humanities
- Introduction to Zotero
Write a blog post reviewing one of the following digital humanities projects. What topic, period, and place does it cover? What argument or interpretation do they make? What is the audience? What sources is the project based on? Who created them, and who did what work? Who funded them? What technologies did they use? Include screenshots of important parts of the website.
- Digital Harlem
- Geography of the Post
- Her Hat Was in the Ring
- Histories of the National Mall
- Language of the State of the Union
- Locating London’s Past
- Lost Museum
- Cleveland Historical
- Old Bailey Online
- Papers of the War Department
- Railroads and the Making of Modern America
- Redlining Richmond
- Voting America
- Women Writer’s Project
- Viral Texts
- Six Degrees of Francis Bacon
- Follow the Money
Jan. 16: Themes in Environmental History
- Donald Worster, “Doing Environmental History,” in Worster, ed., The Ends of the Earth (Cambridge, 1988), 289-307. (on Canvas)
- William Cronon, “A Place for Stories: Nature, History and Narrative,” Journal of American History vol. 78 no. 4 (1992).
Jan. 18: Finding secondary sources and the history of the Internet
- Roy Rosenzweig, “Can History Be Open Source: Wikipedia and the Future of the Past,” Journal of American History vol. 93 no. 1 (2006).
- Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think,” The Atlantic (July 1945).
Using the library catalog, JSTOR, or other library resources, find a book on environmental history and a journal article on environmental history. Check the book out of the library and bring it to class on Tuesday. Write a blog post with the correct citation format outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style. In a paragraph for each, summarize their argument. Add these items to your Zotero library and include a link to your public Zotero library in your blog post.
Jan. 23: The idea of wilderness
- John Muir, “Hetch Hetchy Valley,” in The Yosemite, 249-262.
- William Cronon, “The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature,” in Cronon, ed., Uncommon Ground (1995), 69-90.
- Karl Jacoby, “Ken Burns Gone Wild: Naturalizing the Nation in The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” The Public Historian 33 no. 2 (May 2011): 19-23.
- PBS, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, Episode 2, “The Last Refuge” (1890-1915)
Jan. 25: Finding primary sources and data in the humanities
- Sam Wineburg, “Thinking Like a Historian,” Teaching with Primary Sources Quarterly vol. 3 no. 1 (Winter 2010).
- Daniel Rosenberg, “Data Before the Fact”
- Marc Dunkelman, “What Data Can’t Convey,” Chronicle of Higher Education, August 19, 2014.
- Digital Public Library of America
- ProQuest Historical Newspapers
- Omaha World Herald Online
- Databases listed in the library’s history guide
Find five primary sources from at least three different collections. Add these sources to Zotero. Write a blog post that cites the items using correct Chicago citations and indicate the databases they came from. Summarize each source. What did you learn from reading the source? What did you learn about looking for sources and the reliability of sources online?
Jan. 30: Preserving nature / consuming nature
- “Yellowstone: America’s Wild Idea,” National Geographic (May 2016). (on Canvas)
- Edward Abbey, “Polemic: Industrial Tourism and the National Parks” (on Canvas)
Feb. 1: Metadata and Omeka
- Miriam Posner, “Up and Running with Omeka,” The Programming Historian (2013).
- Explore Dublin Core, “Metadata Basics.”
- Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, “Owning the Past?,” in Digital History.
- Bailey, “Disrespect des Fonds: Rethinking Arrangement and Description in Born-Digital Archives”
Using the primary sources from your previous exercise, or other sources that you have found, create an Omeka collection with at least five Omeka items. Each item must be fully described in the metadata, but you don’t necessarily need every Dublin Core field. Be sure to include a reference to the place you found the source and a copyright statement as appropriate.
Feb. 6: Progressive Conservation
- Jennifer Price, “When Women were Women, Men were Men, and Birds were Hats,” in Flight Maps (Basic, 1999), 57-109. (on Canvas)
- William T. Hornaday, “The Bird Tragedy on Laysan Island”
Before the next class (February 8), install the ExhibitBuilder plugin on your Omeka site (here’s how to do that). Make sure the Omeka site has at least five interesting items that work well together to tell a coherent story about some aspect of environmental history. If you need more sources, go looking for more.
Feb. 8: Omeka Exhibits
Create an Omeka exhibit that tells a story about some aspect of environmental history. The exhibit should include, at a minimum, five items, each with metadata and in most cases images. Link these items together with prose (no less than 750 words). Due by 5:00pm on Saturday, March 3.
Feb. 13: Land ethic
- Aldo Leopold, “A Sand County Almanac”
- Harold Fromm, “Aldo Leopold: Aesthetic ‘Anthropocentrist’,” Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment vol. 1 no. 1 (Spring 1993): 43-50.
Feb. 15: Georeferencing
- Richard White, “What is Spatial History?”
- Cameron Blevins, “Space, Nation, and the Triumph of Region: A View of the World from Houston,” Journal of American History vol. 101 no. 1 (June 2014).
- Nedra Reynolds, “Maps of the Everyday: Habitual Pathways and Contested Places” (on Canvas)
- Georectification from Lincoln Mullen, “Spatial Humanities Workshop”
Georectify your historical map. Embed it in a blog post explaining what you learned from the map and how georeferencing maps might be useful in understanding environmental history. Be sure to include a citation to the map and acknowledge permissions that have been granted.
Feb. 20: Ecological imaginations
- Wednell Berry, “Preserving Wilderness”
- William O. Douglas, “My Wilderness”
- Robert Marshall, “Winterstrip into New Country”
- PBS American Experience, Wild by Law
Feb. 22: Mapping
- Sign up for an account at CARTO
- Stephen Robertson, “Putting Harlem on the Map”
Using the sample datasets provided, create a map in CARTO. The map should communicate its subject clearly, using annotations and labels as necessary. Embed the map in a blog post and write about what you learned from making the map and the map itself.
Feb. 27: Disaster and the state
- Donald Worster, Dust Bowl, 3-97, 182-254 (on Canvas)
- Caroline Henderson, “Letter from the Dust Bowl” (on Canvas)
Mar. 1: Visualization
Before class, create a free account at Plotly.
- John Theibault, “Visualization and Historical Arguments”
- Johanna Drucker, “Humanities Approaches to the Graphic Display,” Digital Humanities Quarterly 5 (2011).
- Fred Gibbs, “Gentle Introduction to Historical Data Analysis”
Using the provided datasets, create at least three visualizations in Plotly. Be sure to include titles, captions, and citations to the data. What does the visualization show you that you didn’t see before? Embed the visualizations in your blog post.
Mar. 6: Environmental Anxiety Emergent
- Thomas Jundt, Greening the Red, White, and Blue: The Bomb, Big Business, and Consumer Resistance in Postwar America, 11-47. (on Canvas)
- Jacob Darwin Hamblin, Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism, 3-36. (on Canvas)
Mar. 8: Text Analysis and Distant Reading
- Ted Underwood, Seven ways humanists are using computers to understand text
- Cameron Blevins, “Topic Modeling Martha Ballard’s Diary”
- Look through Mining the Dispatch
- Dan Cohen, “Searching for the Victorians,” October 4, 2010
- Google Books NGram Viewer
Using Voyant, create visualizations of the Earth First! journals (text provided by the instructor). Embed these visualizations in a blog post. What did you learn through distant reading? What does this approach reveal that other historical methods cannot or do not?
Mar. 13: The rise of environmentalism
- Carson, “A Fable for Tomorrow” (on Canvas)
- Carson, Silent Spring, pp. (on Canvas)
- Lynn White Jr., “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis”
- Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons”
Mar. 15: NO Class
Professor out of town at a conference.
Mar. 18 - Mar. 25: SPRING BREAK
Mar. 27: Radical Environmentalism
- Frank Zelko, Make it a Green Peace! The Rise of Countercultural Environmentalism, 3-32 (on Canvas)
- Ric Scarce, “Earth First! Cracking the Mold,” from Eco-Warriors (pp. 66-85) (on Canvas)
Mar. 29: Programming and machine learning
- Paul Ford, “What is Code,” Business Week, June 11, 2015
- Lev Manovich, “The Algorithms of Our Lives,” Chronicle of Higher Education, December 16, 2013
- Ian Bogost, “The Cathedral of Computation,” The Atlantic, January 15, 2015
- Getting started with RStudio and the R language
Write a blog post about the programming we did in class. Have you programmed before? Why or why not? Can you see a use for programming in the humanities? For your major? Include images of your output if they aid your argument.
Apr. 3 Towards Earth Day
- Andrew Kirk, “Appropriating Technology: Alternative Technology, The Whole Earth Catalog and Counterculture Environmental Politics,” Environmental History 6.3 (2001): 374-394.
- PBS American Experience, Earth Days
Apr. 5: Programming and visualization
- Hadley Wickham, “Tidy Data”
- Introduction to ggplot and the grammar of graphics
- Charts, maps, networks
Apr. 10: Uncertain Futures
Apr. 12: NO CLASS
Professor away at a conference.
Apr. 17: Sustainability and ethics
- Kieran Healy, “Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere,” June 9, 2013
- Mat Honan, “How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking,” Wired, August 6, 2012
- Eli Pariser, “Beware online ‘filter bubbles’”
- Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, “Preserving Digital History”
- James Baker, “Preserving Your Research Data,” The Programming Historian, April 30, 2014
- Internet Archive
- Wayback Machine
Write a blog post about the sustainability of your work in this course. What would it take to sustain each assignment you created? Which assignments have you been able to export?
Apr. 19: Climate debates and environmental sustainability
- Duncan Geere, “The environmental impact of streaming music, TV and movies,” Wired, May 11, 2012.
- Eric Holthaus, “Bitcoin could cost us our clean-energy future,” Grist, December 5, 2017.
- Allitt, A Climate of Crisis, pp. 298-338. (on Canvas)
Your portfolio of projects is due April 27 by 5:00pm. Create a page on your website which links all of the assignments and blog posts you have created for the course. Write up what each assignment contributed to understanding environmental history, and tie these assignments together with prose about this history. The total length of this text should be around 250 words.
On April 26, we will hold an electronic poster session in Criss Library to showcase the work you’ve completed for the course. Come prepared to show off, answer questions, engage with visitors, and enjoy refreshments!
No class. There is no final exam. Your final portfolio is due April 27 by 5:00pm. Good luck with finals!