Making History

Find courses with creative assignments including public history, film, mapping, and more; open to students at all levels, but especially recommended for third- and fourth-year students.

HIST 29527 The Spatial History of Nineteenth-Century Cities: Tokyo, London, New York  (S. Burns)  The late-nineteenth century saw the transformation of cities around the world as a result of urbanization, industrialization, migration, and the rise of public health. This course will take a spatial history approach; that is, we will explore the transformation of London, Tokyo, and New York over the course of the nineteenth century by focusing on the material "space" of the city. For example, where did new immigrants settle and why? Why were there higher rates of infectious disease in some areas than in others? How did new forms of public transportation shape the ability to move around the city, rendering some areas more central than others? To explore questions such as these, students will be introduced to ArcGIS in four lab sessions and asked to develop an original research project that integrates maps produced in Arc. No prior ArcGIS experience is necessary, although students will be expected to have familiarity with Microsoft Excel and a willingness to experiment with digital methods. Assignments: Discussion posts, homework (mapping), and a final research project.

HIST 29530  Introduction to Digital History I  (F. Hillis)  What is digital history and how do we do it? This lab-based experimental class will devote two sessions each week to questions of theory and methodology, considering what digital approaches can offer to the field of history; we will also examine and critique recent work by historians engaging with digital methods. In the third meeting of the week, a mandatory Friday lab session, students will learn the basics of digital mapping, network analysis, text mining, and visualization. (No prior technical knowledge is needed or expected.) By the end of the quarter, students will be asked to reflect on the advantages and limits of digital approaches in the historical field and to develop a proposal for a digital project of their own. Students who wish to see this work to fruition are invited to enroll in "Introduction to Digital History II," which will offer students more advanced technical training and will coach them toward completion of their projects.