We’re pairing up with Dr. Charlie Hardy’s Honors Seminar on the Great Migration to Philadelphia to create a digital archive in Omeka of some amazing–and previously not digitized–primary sources from regional collections (Temple’s Urban Archives and Blockson Collection, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Hagley Museum and Library, the Philadelphia History Museum, and the African American Museum. We’ll use those sources to create detailed (Level 3!) OHMS Indexes of oral history interviews Charlie conducted with migrants to Philadelphia in the 1980s. And then we’ll create multimedia digital stories with audio excerpts, still images, maps, timelines, and whatever else we come up with to tell the tales of Goin’ North. This should be fun.
History 480: Digital History (next scheduled for Fall 2016)
In this class, students learn how to use digital tools and technologies to conduct and disseminate historical research, with an emphasis on putting digital approaches to history into practice through our course blog and production of a class website built in Omeka.
In Fall 2013, we collaborated on a blog built in WordPress and an online exhibit, “The Purple and Gold Will Always Hold,” built in Omeka utilizing WCU’s Special Collection’s extensive collection on university sports history. We focused on football at WCU, a fitting topic given the Golden Rams’ record-breaking season.
In Fall 2012, my students launched Quad Project: A Student’ History of West Chester University and Last Stop: West Chester, about the rise and fall of the local railroad, both built with the open source platform, Omeka, designed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.
AMS 200: American “Civilization” (the air quotes are my emphasis… just to annoy my students)
This course explores American culture, character, and “civilization” through investigating our “origin” stories (and their counterfactual alternatives), visual and material culture, folklore, and myth. Projects include “Reacting to the Past: America’s Founding – The Constitutional Convention,” a curated ARTstor project telling a story of the United States through images, and a podcast featuring stories students record.
History 100: Global History Since 1900
By exploring the past century plus through the lens of globalization, general education students encounter the interconnectedness of the world’s people and events. As in any survey of history, we must choose among many possible topics, rather than attempt to master all of global history during a semester. The overriding objective of this course is to learn to consider and discuss historical issues, not to master a body of knowledge or commit details to memory. One way we will look at these issues is by examining primary sources–documents, memoirs, images, films, music, and objects generated during the historical periods we’re talking about. We will also discuss how historians, filmmakers, and memoirists confront the history of the recent past using various media. With globalization as the overarching theme, we examine the following sub-themes:
- Imperialism, Colonialism, and Independence
- The Global Cold War
- Technology & Environment
- Global Mass Culture
History 300: Varieties of History
In short, this course introduces history majors to the discipline of history as practiced by historians. Rather than merely studying either the minutia or the big ideas of history, this course emphasizes how historians think about history, facts, arguments, perspective, and evidence. As the name suggests, we do a variety of things related to history. The primary three are:
- exploring the philosophy and history of historical study (historiography)
- developing the historian’s skills of research, analysis, interpretation, investigation, argument, and writing
- gaining familiarity with recent and current trends within the discipline
History 365: U.S. Popular Culture since 1900
By exploring the past century through the lens of popular culture, we encounter how major themes of American history—including race, class, politics, and gender—are reflected through the media we consume, the products we buy and use, the ways we socialize, and how we spend our leisure time. Students experience popular culture as a primary source and as a topic of analysis by reading secondary sources on topics of popular culture. We will connect the historical content we read and experience with contemporary popular culture through weekly fieldwork assignments. Here’s the Learnist board the class created exploring Bob Dylan in America.
History 367: American Material Culture
In this interdisciplinary approach to objects, students contemplate blue jeans and forks, food processors and spinning wheels, and do an in-depth analysis of an object of their choice. In 2014, students are analyzing gnomes, lanterns, rotary telephones, fountain pens, and afro picks, among other things. As we will see, objects can reveal much about American society and culture, and as such, historians use objects as historical evidence (eg primary sources). Objects can also reveal much about ourselves as users, consumers, and makers of stuff. Students conduct weekly fieldwork assignments which they share on Google+, including finding patent records, observing what people wear, and designing Ikea kitchens.