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

Readings

Prior to class, please spend some time perusing the following:

In class

Assignment

Jan. 11: Defining Digital Humanities

Readings

In class

  • Introduction to digital humanities
  • Introduction to Zotero

Assignment

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.

Jan. 16: Themes in Environmental History

Readings

  • 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

Readings

In class

Assignment

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

Readings

  • 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.

In class

  • 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

Readings

In class

  • Digital Public Library of America
  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers
  • Omaha World Herald Online
  • Databases listed in the library’s history guide

Assignment

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

Readings

  • “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

Readings

In class

Assignment

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

Readings

  • 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”

Assignments

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

Readings

In class

Sample exhibits:

Assignment

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

Readings

  • 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

Before class

Readings

In class

Assignment

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

Readings

  • Wednell Berry, “Preserving Wilderness”
  • William O. Douglas, “My Wilderness”
  • Robert Marshall, “Winterstrip into New Country”

In class

  • PBS American Experience, Wild by Law

Feb. 22: Mapping

Before class

  • Sign up for an account at CARTO

Readings

Assignment

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

Readings

  • 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.

Readings

  • 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

In class

Assignment

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

Readings

  • 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

Readings

  • 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

In class

  • Voyant
  • Google Books NGram Viewer

Assignment

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

Readings

  • 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

Readings

  • 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

Readings

  • 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

In class

  • Getting started with RStudio and the R language

Assignment

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

Readings

  • Andrew Kirk, “Appropriating Technology: Alternative Technology, The Whole Earth Catalog and Counterculture Environmental Politics,” Environmental History 6.3 (2001): 374-394.

In class

  • PBS American Experience, Earth Days

Apr. 5: Programming and visualization

Readings

  • Hadley Wickham, “Tidy Data”

In class

  • Introduction to ggplot and the grammar of graphics
  • Charts, maps, networks

Apr. 10: Uncertain Futures

Readings

  • TBD

Apr. 12: NO CLASS

Professor away at a conference.

Apr. 17: Sustainability and ethics

Readings

  • 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

In class

  • Internet Archive
  • Wayback Machine

Assignment

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

Readings

Apr. 24

No class.

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!

Apr. 26

No class. There is no final exam. Your final portfolio is due April 27 by 5:00pm. Good luck with finals!