Sara Georgini at “The Junto” (a group blog of early American historians) has posted an interview with Patrick Jones and me on “Spring at The History Harvest.” The planning for The History Harvest is moving briskly and our interview focuses on where we are headed with the project in the coming months. Other questions include how we came up with the idea for the project, how it has changed our ideas about teaching, what our goals of “community-based” history are, and what technical and aesthetic challenges we face in developing The History Harvest digital project online. Great questions from The Junto! For our answers visit “The Junto” blog.
We are going to hold a “virtual” brainstorming session for all interested parties in the History Harvest this spring April 8 through April 12, culminating on that Friday April 12 with a NITLE seminar that Patrick Jones and I will lead (soon to be announced). We hope the blitz suggestions we receive will help shape future grant proposals and the project’s next steps.
The goal is to open our broader History Harvest idea out through social media for participation and feedback. We see this as kind of open strategic planning for the HH project. While we are glad to encourage everyone who leaps in and runs their own harvests (undoubtedly a good thing in the community), we are seeking ideas about a federated approach to this form of experiential learning and how to develop the cyberinfrastructure to support it.
We are looking for participation and suggestions not only from fellow historians (who may have seen our piece in Perspectives on History) but also from the Digital Humanities community and the broader community of K-12 educators, education researchers, and state humanities councils and partners. But we believe the platform for doing that will need to be completely different. So, during the upcoming “The History Harvest Blitz Week” on Twitter, Google Hangout, and other social media we will take suggestions and explain our project broadly. We will be capturing the suggestions and twitter stream for later reference and use.
To keep matters interesting each day of the blitz week, we will be releasing student produced work, including a short video introducing The History Harvest, and we hope to have a series of community radio “interstitials” for “The History Harvest Moment” that indicate what students can do and focus on one object/story from a harvest.
The AHA Perspectives on History has published our piece describing The History Harvest project. We are currently formulating the next steps for this project and have been grateful for the outpouring of interest from all over higher education. Our immediate plans are to run a MOOC like course in Spring 2014 with participants from a variety of institutions. Possible partners have been contacting us. We encourage that so please let me know if you are interested. (updated January 22, 2013)
In late December Marc Parry ran a piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Wired Campus Blog on The History Harvest, a new project I have been developing. The piece has sparked a long series of tweets and responses — see Topsy’s record of the ongoing traffic about this concept. We will be updating our posts here and on The History Harvest site as we develop our next steps for the project.
Inside Higher Ed today published “Humanities in the Digital Age,” a brief opinion piece I co-authored with Alan Liu, immediate past chair of the Department of English at University of California, Santa Barbara. As department chairs, we decided a voice was missing in the current anxiety about the humanities and the digital. Both of us are interested in moving the humanities from conceiving of digital work as a separate category to infusing digital practices and technologies throughout our departments and disciplines. This piece aims to make the case for the full integration of the digital throughout the humanities.
On Friday two of my students in History received their Masters. I am very proud of both of them for the hard work they put into their theses and the research they conducted. Congratulations Kaci and Trevor!
Kaci Nash wrote a terrific thesis on Northerners–soldiers, nurses, teachers, missionaries–who traveled into the South in the Civil War and the imperializing discourse they adopted in their writings. Kaci’s thesis combines traditional historical approaches and digital textual analysis for close reading. Her work is one of the first in our department to deploy Digital Humanities methodologies into the final thesis.
Kaci Nash, “On our way for the sunny south,” University of Nebraska.
One of my favorite parts of Nash’s thesis documents the ways that Northerners encountered the flora and fauna of the South: she writes “In a great display of power, soldiers often made animals targets as they traveled through the landscape on the railroad.” She quotes Rufus Kinsley near Terrebonne, Louisiana in February 1863: “From the the top of the cars where many of us stood, we saw hundreds of huge alligators, and large numbers of turtles, and a great variety of snakes, lying on large logs just above the surface of the water. We shot several, and shot at a great many.”
Trevor Shalon’s Master’s thesis explores the court records of the D.C. Court of Appeals, National Archives, Record Group 21. Trevor focused on the petitions for freedom by African Americans in Washington, D.C. between 1810 and 1830, and on the early legal work of Francis Scott Key in these cases. Trevor Shalon, “A Plea for Freedom,” University of Nebraska.