THATCamp Leadership & participad | DH Fellow’s Blog

Ben Hurwitz (2nd year Digital History Fellow)

On Thursday October 10, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and George Mason University welcomed DH’ers from around the globe to THATCamp Leadership 2013. For those of you who don’t know, THATCamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp) is an unconference series which was first held at George Mason in 2008. Since then, regional THATCamps have sprung up across the country and across several continents as well, hosted by universities or local DH communities.

THATCamp Leadership, generously sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, was quite different from a typical THATCamp. The invitation-only event partnered experienced THATCamp facilitators with academic and institutional leaders to discuss the future of THATCamp and the Digital Humanities generally. As a result, there were very few tech-centered sessions. Instead, broader session titles like “Building DH Locally,” “Sustaining and Altering THATCamp,” and “Digital Humanities and Online Education” predominated.

In the spirit of collaboration, THATCamp Leadership 2013 debuted a cooperative “notepad” space for recording discussions. Using participad, a WordPress plugin, the DH fellows at CHNM created notepads for each sessions and served as dedicated note-takers. Participants could view and edit their sessions notepads, or view another session’s notepad in order to follow discussions (more…)

George Mason University is Hiring a Digital Historian

The George Mason University, Department of History and Art History invites applications for a tenure-track position in Digital History at the rank of Assistant Professor. While the historical field is open, candidates must have the ability to teach digital theory and methods at the undergraduate and graduate level, including a graduate course in programming (PHP, Python, Perl, Javascript, XML, for example). The teaching load is 2-2. Ph.D. must be in hand by August 2014.

George Mason University is a public research university located 14 miles from Washington, D.C., with approximately 30,000 students. The Department of History and Art History has a strong record of scholarly research and is home to the award-winning Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. The department also has the largest M.A. program in the country and a nationally ranked Ph.D. program.

Special Instructions to Applicants
For full consideration, please apply for position number F5343z at http://jobs.gmu.edu/. Complete the online faculty application and upload a letter of interest, CV, and a writing sample and/or a link to a digital project. Letters of reference should be sent separately to Professor Paula Petrik, Chair, Digital History Search, Department of History and Art History, George Mason University, MSN 3G1, 4400 University Drive, (more…)

PressForward Editors-at-Large | DH Fellow’s Blog

Amanda Morton (2nd year Digital History Fellow)

This semester the second year Digital History Fellows are sticking with one of the three divisions at RRCHNM (Research, Education, Public Projects) and participating in selected projects within those divisions. Some of us are coming in at the start of a new set of projects, while others are joining projects already in progress. There’s a certain benefit, I think, to being able to join a project in mid-flow and provide both an extra pair of hands and the type of feedback that comes from a fresh look at ongoing processes. By essentially acting as full-time floaters, we can also lend work hours and a different set of opinions to changes already set in motion,

I’ve been assigned to the Research Division this semester, directed by Sean Takats, and am currently spending the majority of my time working under Joan Fragaszy Troyano on the PressForward project. This project received an influx of graduate research assistants this semester, most of whom were, like myself, new to the division and to PressForward, and needed to be introduced to the way the different parts of the project are managed, particularly the weekly management of Digital Humanities Now.

A PressForward publication, Digital (more…)

How can technology help teachers to teach historical and critical thinking? | DH Fellow’s Blogpost

Amanda Regan (1st Year Digital history Fellow)

How can technology help teachers to teach historical and critical thinking?  Getting students to think critically about historical events rather than just memorizing the facts is challenging, but digital technology can help.  With so many new digital tools being developed each year, teachers are eager for resources to help locate free, quality tools that can help students become better critical thinkers and historians.

screen shot--teachinghistoryOne of the RRCHNM’s projects, Teachinghistory.org, has a section called Digital Classroom devoted to providing tips and resources for incorporating digital tools into the classroom.  The introductory video for Digital Classroom explains how digital tools can engage students and help them to think critically about the past.  The goal of Digital Classroom is to provide teachers with resources to help them incorporate digital technology in their classroom and to provide examples of how to enhance learning by using technology in the classroom.

To help teachers find free, digital tools for use in social studies classrooms, Digital Classroom includes a collection of digital tool reviews, called Tech for Teachers.  Over the last week the Digital History Fellows have been researching and writing reviews for this section and we’ve been thinking a lot about what kinds of digital tools are (more…)

How It’s Made: Public History Projects | DH Fellow’s Blogpost

Spencer Roberts (2nd Year Digital history Fellow)

In a recent conversation, a friend inquired about the projects on which I am working here at the RRCHNM. I explained that I am currently assigned to a project about the War of 1812 on behalf of the National Park Service, and described the basic elements of the project. “I understand the project,” she replied, “but what do you actually do?”

Our exchange illuminated an issue that seems obvious but is rarely addressed: the average American is told little about the work that goes into producing public history or heritage projects. Although such projects and exhibits dot the social landscape in parks, museums, galleries, libraries, books, and the web, the processes of preserving, interpreting, and presenting the past are largely hidden from users. In response to these observations, I’d like to describe some of work done by researchers to produce public history projects.

Each project taken on by the RRCHNM staff has unique characteristics that shape the processes by which it is built, but some projects inevitably require similar constructions. The September 11 Digital Archive, the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, and other projects all required a platform to host large collections of digital materials; as a result, (more…)

Getty Foundation Funds a Digital Humanities Summer Institute for Art Historians at RRCHNM

The Getty Foundation recently awarded the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media a grant to organize and run a digital humanities summer institute for art historians in 2014. “Digital Humanities for Art Historians” will target art historians, from graduate students, to mid-career and senior scholars, from varied backgrounds, including faculty, curators, and established art librarians and archivists who are eager to move more deeply into the digital turn in the humanities.

Recognizing a significant need in this area, the Getty Foundation is sponsoring this project as part of a pilot initiative to support training workshops in digital art history. The Getty Foundation fulfills the philanthropic mission of the Getty Trust by supporting individuals and institutions committed to advancing the greater understanding and preservation of the visual arts in Los Angeles and throughout the world.

Project Co-Directors, Sheila Brennan and Sharon Leon are thrilled to be working with the Getty Foundation for the first time through this initiative and to be addressing issues specific to art historians together with fellow members of GMU’s History and Art History Department.

Applications for this summer institute will be announced in early 2014. Watch the RRCHNM blog, @chnm on Twitter, and major art history-related listservs (more…)

The Challenges of Making a Challenge | DH Fellow’s Blogpost

Anne McDivitt (1st year Digital History Fellow)

For the past few weeks at the Center for History and New Media, my fellow first year Digital History Fellows and myself were assigned to work in the Education division, which produces projects that are designed to teach history to a wide scope of people through various educational resources.

While in the Education division, we have been working with a new web project meant to engage and educate the audience by allowing them to examine liberty in the United States in a new and interesting way. This is achieved by incorporating age and ability-appropriate “challenges” and access to primary documents and images. This project seeks an audience of teachers, K-12 students, as well as the general public.

There are intriguing methods in creating a challenge for students. While creating our own challenge for the project, there were multiple questions that we had to ask ourselves. First, what was the goal of the project? What did we want the students to achieve from doing the challenge? What skills would they use? In terms of examining the sources, we attempted to view them in an analytic manner, but with a basic guided direction so that the students do not (more…)

RRCHNM Welcomes Stephanie Westcott

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media are very happy to welcome Stephanie Westcott to our ranks as a Research Assistant Professor. Stephanie is a historian of U.S. popular culture, with a recent dissertation from University of Wisconsin, Madison titled “Producing Panic: Media, Morality, and American Sexuality, 1945–1970.” She spent last year teaching in the Democracy and justice Studies program at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. In addition to her research and teaching background, Westcott brings to RRCHNM her extensive and impressive professional experience working in the publishing industry at a small independent press and in public history. She will serve as a new project director on PressForward, working with Joan Troyano and Lisa Rhody.

Welcome Stephanie!

Readings Course in Digital History | DH Fellow’s blogpost

Ben Hurwitz (2nd year Digital History Fellow)

Since its inception, the George Mason history PhD program has emphasized exposure to the Digital Humanities (DH). The program requires completion of two courses that introduce students to digital tools and developments in the DH community. In addition to these courses and others, the department also allows students to pursue a minor field in Digital History.

This summer, seven graduate students, including four graduate research assistants at RRCHNM, participated in a readings course to complete the Digital History minor. Working with Dr. Kelly Schrum, our class explored creative uses for social media, games, digital maps, and data visualizations. This readings course was atypical in that the students were expected to demonstrate mastery through frequent creative assignments in addition to discussing influential publications and debates within the field.

The products of these assignments demonstrate the wide-ranging applications of digital technology for teaching, learning, research, and presentation of scholarship. For example, in one assignment I used Google Art Project to create a gallery of artwork depicting sheep and shepherds. Using this gallery, I showed that sheep are often associated with specific concepts, such as solitude, religious devotion, or an idyllic landscape. Within minutes, I was able to gather and (more…)