|Email:||matt [dot] price [at] utoronto [dot] ca|
|Office Hrs:||SS 3077 T 1:30-2:45|
In the year of your birth, the World Wide Web was an obscure technical work-in-progress buried in the depths of a vast research institute. Today, it permeates almost every aspect of our lives, including every stage in the production of knowledge. You have been living through a fundamental transformation of knowledge; and yet the modes of communication you’ve learned and explored at University (the essay, the article, the scholarly monograph) belong to the world that came before. There are good reasons for this. The standards of our discipline were formed carefully over hundreds of years, in a determined quest to uncover and communicate truths about the past to our colleagues and the wider world. Even so, historians need to explore the digital media of our present and future. The books and other writings of old will not disappear, but they will be supplemented and to some extent supplanted by the new media of the web and its successors. In this class, we will explore those new media as tools for the transmission of historical knowledge, culminating in an intensive group project in which you will build a historical website in close collaboration with a community partner. The community partnership is a key element of “Hacking History”, and a source of many of its pleasures and challenges.
In 2017-17, we have a very small class size, so we will likely have only one class project; we’ll work together as a class to find something that interests everyone. For the present, I have structured the middle portion of the first semester around a tentative topic – the history of water in Toronto.
Every two weeks, students will (where not otherwise noted) be expected to post blog responses to the readings in advance of the class meeting, and to respond to the postings of at least two other students. If at all possible, you should bring your laptop or (not as good!) tablet to class for the lab portion.
Also about once every two weeks, there are other types of assignments; these are noted in the outline and referred to in the course requirements. In general the aim is to foster an atmosphere of collaborative and self-directed learning in which all work is focused on building the analytic resources, technical skills, and confidence to create really great projects in the second semester. Though the assignment structure is fixed, readings may change based on student interests. The semester culminates with group presentations of your proposed projects.
The class has 4 kinds of assignments:
- 16 Blog Postings (6 in semester 1, 12 in semester 2, 20%)
- 5 “Short Technical Assignments” (STA’s, first semester, 15%)
- One Written Paper (7-9 pp, Jan 10, 10%)
- The Final Project (website, ongoing but due April 4, 45%)
with the balance of 10% for on- and off-line participation, which includes comments on other students’ blog posts, contributions to online resources, and discussion.
Blog Postings are thoughtful pieces, 400 words or so in length, posted to the course blog by noon the day before class meets (so, noon each Monday). You will be expected to read your colleagues’ postings and respond to them, both online (using the blog’s comment function) and in class. In the first semester, these postings will primarily be responses to the weekly readings, and are required every two weeks. In the second semester, they will instead generally take the form of weekly (not bi-weekly) progress reports in which you discuss your final projects and your interactions with partnering organizations, or of short written pieces from your project site (see below). See the assignment page for more details.
Short Technical Assignments (STA’s) are designed to give you the technical skills you will need for your website development work in the second semester. Approximately every 2 weeks in the first semester, you will complete a short on or off-line assignment for a pass-fail grade. The lab assignments will cover basic web skills and other technical topics, which will always have been covered in the third ’lab’ hour of class.
The Paper is due shortly after the beginning of the second semester. Approximately 7-9 pages long, its format is that of a standard course paper: a well-researched thesis, supported by evidence garnered from primary and secondary sources. Students are expected to write on topics related to their Final Projects (see below).
The Final Project is a major collaborative effort to build a historical website in service to an organization outside the University. In previous years, students have worked in groups of 3-4, collaboratively building a substantive site which balances scholarly merit with the interests of the sponsoring organization and accessibility to the general public. The plan for this year is in flux and may depend on class size, but I tentatively foresee a single class project in collaboration with a new initiative in the Black Creek region of Toronto (which includes Pioneer Village).
See the Project Guidelines for more detailed discussion & marking breakdown, though that document does not yet reflect this year’s direction..
STA’s: no late papers! STA’s are pass/fail, hand them in on time please.
Final Project: It is essential that you complete your final project on time in order to get feedback from the sponsoring organization and organize the handoff of the project. The various deadlines for the project (see Project Guidelines) are firm. DO NOT MISS THEM.
- : Detailed assignment handed out
- : Project Proposal due and presented
- : Paper Due
- : Intermediate Status Report
- : Submission to Community Partner
- : Project Open House/FINAL DUE DATE
- Cohen & Rosenzweig, Digital History (http://chnm.gmu.edu/digitalhistory/)
- D. Brown, Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning (http://communicatingdesign.com/)
Outline for Semester 1
Why we should write history, why everyone should do it, and why that means we need the Web. Hacker cultures, collaborative learning, knowledge sharing, non-expert culture.
Lab 01: Getting Started
- WordPress & the course site.
- Blogging & social media review.
Language of the Web
The Crowd and the Public
The new kinds of collaboration that the web makes possible, and the intellectual challenges they create.
- R. Rosenzweig, “Can History be Open Source?”
- Aaron Swartz, “Who Writes Wikipedia”
- Owens, Trevor. Digital Cultural Heritage and the Crowd.” Curator: The Museum Journal 56, no. 1 (2013): 121–130.
- Filene, Benjamin. “Passionate Histories: ‘Outsider’ History-Makers and What They Teach Us.” The Public Historian 34, no. 1 (February 1, 2012): 11–33.
- Corbett, Katharine T., and Howard S. (Dick) Miller. “A Shared Inquiry into Shared Inquiry.” The Public Historian 28, no. 1 (February 1, 2006): 15–38.
- Carr, Graham. Rules of Engagement: Public History and the Drama of Legitimation.” The Canadian Historical Review 86, no. 2 (2005): 317–354.
- Madsen-Brooks, Leslie. “‘I nevertheless am a historian’.” Writing History in the Digital Age, March 12, 2012.
Lab 03: CSS and Web Styles
Fresh Water in Canadian History
More than many other places, Canada has been shaped by its relationship to freshwater lakes and rivers.
- Stéphane Castonguay, “The Production of Flood as Natural Catastrophe: Extreme Events and the Construction of Vulnerability in the Drainage Basin of the St. Francis River (Quebec), Mid-Nineteenth to Mid-Twentieth Century,” Environmental History (2007) 12(4): 820-844
- Dagenais, “The Urbanization of Nature: Water Networks and Green spaces in Montreal
- Jon Johnson, ‘The Indigenous Environmental History of Toronto, “The Meeting Place”’ https://www.academia.edu/4949457/The_Indigenous_Environmental_History_of_Toronto_The_Meeting_Place
- First Story Toronto https://firststoryblog.wordpress.com/
Lab 05: Introducing Github
Toronto and the Great Lakes
- Urban Explorations: Environmental Histories of the Toronto Region (Hamilton, ON: L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History, 2013), selections TBA.
- Bonnell, Jennifer Leigh. 2010. “Imagined Futures and Unintended Consequences: An Environmental History of Toronto’s Don River Valley.” Thesis. https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/24690. Ch. 1, 7 plus ano other one.
- Bonnell, Reclaiming the Don, selections.
- Ken Cruikshank and Nancy B. Bouchier, “Blighted Communities and Obnoxious Industries: Constructing Environmental Inequality on an Industrial Waterfront, Hamilton,Ontario, 1890-1960”
- Knowles, A. K. “GIS and History.” Placing History: How Maps, Spatial Data, and GIS Are Changing Historical Scholarship (2008): 1–13.
- Bondenhamer, David J. “History and GIS: Implications for the Discipline.” Placing History: How Maps, Spatial Data, and GIS Are Changing Historical Scholarship (2008): 219-234.
- Theibault, John. “Visualizations and Historical Arguments.” Writing History in the Digital Age, March 23, 2012.
Lab 06: Spatial History with Google Maps
Canals and Hydropower
- Caroline Desbiens, “Producing North and South: A Political Geography of Hydro Development in Quebec,” Canadian Geographer 48, no. 2 (2004): 101-18.
Lab 07: Getting Started with WordPress
NO CLASS 11/8 (break)
Oral History, and Working with Communities
One remarkable possibility opened up by the web is abundant oral history.
- “The Voice of the Past”, “What Makes Oral History Different” and “Learning to Listen in The Oral History Reader
- Graham, Shawn, Guy Masie, and Nadine Feuerherm. “HeritageCrowd Project: A Case Study in Crowdourcing Public History.” Writing History in the Digital Age, March 19, 2012.
Lab 09: Art of the Interview
Search and Filter (Information Abundance)
In the past, access to information was one of the historian’s most fundamental challenges. today, it is more often a problem of filtering information.
- Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Atlantic, August 2008.
- William J Turkel, n.d. Going Digital
- William J. Turkel, “Research 24/7.”
- – Sharma, Patrick. “Oral History, Policy History, and Information Abundance and Scarcity”. Perspectives on History April 2012
Lab 10: From CSS to SASS!
Piracy, Plagiarism, Citation
Ethical, Legal, and Technical Questions around Copyright
- Christopher M. Kelty “Inventing Copyleft,” in Contexts of Invention, ed. Mario Biagioli, Peter Jaszi, and Martha Woodmansee, Chicago: University of Chicago, 2010.
- Richard Stallman, “The GNU Manifesto” and “The Free Software Definition”
- Creative Commons Licences: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/
- Dan Cohen, “Idealism and Pragmatism in the Free Culture Movement”
Lab 11: SASS and the Foundation Framework
Lab 12: WordPress Templates (if we feel like it)
’Outline’ for Semester 2
- Designing digital Projects
- Immersive History (games & Simulations)
- Refining your project goals
- Social Media in a community website (Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc)
- Data Capture and Metadata
- How Databases Work
- The Digital Divide: Design Implications
- Copyright Issues
- WordPress Content Types
- New HTML5 tags (canvas, audio/video, microformats)
- Video on the Web: HTML5 & dynamic events
- Semantic Web Technologies
- Audio Post-Processing
- Website look and Feel