“Arguing with Digital History” Workshop to Address a Central Problem in Digital History

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is pleased to announce that it will hold a workshop this fall titled “Arguing with Digital History: A Workshop on Using Digital History to Make Arguments for Academic Audiences.” Generously funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the workshop will bring twenty-four historians to George Mason University on September 15–16, 2017. Along with the workshop organizers, Stephen Robertson and Lincoln Mullen, these historians will address a pressing problem in digital history.

More than twenty years after the earliest work in digital history, there are still only a handful of projects that make explicit arguments in conversation with the scholarly literature for an academic audience. This shortcoming means that while digital history is a vibrant field, it has made only slight contributions to the broader historical discipline.

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.

The participants will write a group-authored white paper on general principles for integrating digital tools and methods with the arguments and historical interpretations at the core of academic history. The white paper will also give scholars examples of how to apply those principles using specific digital history methods in specific historical periods. A session discussing the white paper will be part of the program of the American Historical Association annual meeting in Washington D.C. in January 2018.

The “Arguing with Digital History” workshop is parallel to another of the Center’s initiatives to encourage digital history argumentation. The Center also recently announced a new annual conference and peer-reviewed publication, Current Research in Digital History, which will provide a venue for presenting and publishing discipline-specific argumentation in digital history.

RRCHNM thanks the workshop participants for their willingness to spend time on this important issue to the field.


Workshop participants

  • Edward Ayers, University of Richmond
  • Edward Baptist, Cornell University
  • Cameron Blevins, Northeastern University
  • Diane Harris Cline, George Washington University
  • Ryan Cordell, Northeastern University
  • Kalani Craig, Indiana University—Bloomington
  • Gabrielle Foreman, University of Delaware
  • Kim Gallon, Purdue University
  • Fred Gibbs, University of New Mexico
  • Jennifer Giuliano, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Jo Guldi, Southern Methodist University
  • Jason Heppler, University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Michael Jarvis, University of Rochester
  • Micki Kaufman, City University of New York
  • Sharon Leon, George Mason University
  • Matthew Lincoln, Getty Research Institute
  • Austin Mason, Carleton College
  • Michelle Moravec, Rosemont College
  • Scott Nesbit, University of Georgia
  • Angel Nieves, Hamilton College
  • Miriam Posner, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Janneken Smucker, West Chester University
  • William Thomas III, University of Nebraska—Lincoln
  • Lauren Tilton, University of Richmond



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