Microhistory and the Internet -- Fall 2009
History 481: Victoria's Victoria: Microhistory on the Internet
Instructor: John Lutz
Classroom: Cle A051
Course Times: Wednesday 2:30-5:30.
Office: Clearihue B222
Office Hours: Monday and Thursday 11:30-1; Tuesday 1:30-2:30 or by appointment.
More and more we are getting our information from the Internet and historians have to be looking at the Internet as a place to publish historical work if we want an audience. This course critically evaluates the web and offers research and presentation skills. Students will be given orientation to the different archives in Victoria and will develop a research project based on the history of Victoria in the Victorian era in collaboration with members of the community. In addition to research skills, basic web-site creation skills will also be taught and the final research “product” of the course will be a web site and not a standard research paper. Because of the novelty of both the research and the product the course will operate more like a workshop than a standard seminar. No prior primary research or web site skills necessary.
There are three broad objectives to this course: 1) To provide students with an understanding of the analytical framework and methods of micro-history. 2) To develop or refine research skills using primary documents and archival research. 3) To develop or refine presentation and critical skills to allow students to present their research on the world wide web.
We will meet once a week in seminars which have two parts. One part of the seminar will be to discuss analytical issues relating to method: microhistory; and content: Greater Victoria in the Victorian era; the second part consist of practical workshops in both archival research and the production of a web site.
Seminar Readings will either be in the history reading room or available on-line. There is no text for the course. Students may find Daniel Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig’s Digital History (University of Pennsylvania, 2006) useful. It is on multi-day reserve in the McPherson Library D16.117 C64.
There will be four components to the grades for this course.
30% will be assigned to in class discussion and participation.
10% will be assigned to the creation of a basic personal website done in a timely and presentable fashion.
10% will be assigned to a document finding assignment designed to familiarize you with archives done in a timely manner with full citation provided.
50% will be assigned to your research website.
The participation grade will be mainly based on your contributions to the discussions held in class. Top participation grades will go to those who have read the assigned material, can discuss it, compare the readings and critically evaluate them. Other class participation will also be factored into this grade. As this is a workshop and seminar course, class participation is necessary. Students who miss more than two classes, without a doctor’s note or equivalent, will receive an incomplete for the course.
As practice and orientation to the web, everyone will build a simple personal website that includes at least one photo that they have scanned, at least one taken from elsewhere on the web, and at least three separate files linked together. These can be about you, your family, your dog, travels, anything. The content will not be marked but some attention will be given to the form. A new website is required even if you have already built websites. Submission on the deadline and the basic elements of a website are essential.
Research Website Assignment:
Students will be assigned to groups of 3-4 which have a broad topic area suggested by members of the community. In consultation with the instructor and where practical, members of the community, the precise topic will be developed. Teams will do archival research, plan the design of a website to present their research, write a text, acquire images and create a website which will be presented to the class and made available to the public.
Group Grade for the Website
20% presentation. (Half of this will be awarded during the class presentation. Half will be reserved for the deposit version.)
5% storyboard, 10% website critique and 5% group log (a record of team meetings, who attended, and who performed what roles)
More description of the research website will be offered later. It should model microhistory approach, be self conscious in the use of methodology and link to larger themes.
Student Grades for website assignment.
will receive a grade and that will be 50% of an individual’s website assignment
grade. The areas that the individual
student was primarily responsible for makes up the other 50%.
Victoria's Victoria: Microhistory on the Internet
1.Wednesday, 9 Introduction.
Background to the Course.
2.Wednesday, 16 Practical: Building a Website
Analytical: What is Microhistory (1)
Discussion of Research Topics:
1 What is microhistory?
2 What was innovative about microhistory?
3 How does a microhistory approach suggest we write history?
4. What are the compatibilities between microhistory and the internet?
5. What are some problems presented by the microhistorical approach?
3.Wednesday, 23 Practical: Building a Website (2) Selection of Teams.
Analytical: Microhistory, Post-Modernism and Hypertext
Reading Questions: 1 Based on last week’s readings and Brown’s article:
what is the relationship between post-modernism and micro-history?
4. Wednesday, 30 Practical: Introduction to the BC Archives (meet there at 2:45)
5.Wednesday, 7 Practical: Building a Website (3)
Analytical: History and the Internet
Phillip Etherington, Los Angeles and the Problem of Urban Historical Knowledge http://cwis.usc.edu/dept/LAS/history/historylab/LAPUHK/index.html
William G. Thomas III and Edward L. Ayers, "An Overview: The Differences Slavery Made: A Close Analysis of Two American Communities" (December 2003) American Historical Review, http://www.indiana.edu/%7Eahr/elec-projects.html.
Folllow link - Electornic Articles on the left hand menu. to get to Thomas and Ayers.
Cohen, D. J. History and the Second Decade of the Web. Rethinking History v. 8 no. 2 (Summer 2004) p. 293-301.
1. How has Etherington built his on-line essay. What is the structure? What is the nature of the content? How does this differ from a print essay? In what ways does it work/ not work as a mode of presenting historical information?
2. How have Thomas and Ayers built their on-line essay? What is the structure? What is the nature of the content? How does this differ from a print essay? In what ways does it work/ not work as a mode of presenting historical information?
3. Compare the visions of Lutz and Cohen? Do they sound realistic or desirable? What are the other possibilities the computer offers us in presenting history?
Personal Web sites Due (link emailed to me) by 4pm on Friday October 9th.
6.Wednesday, 14 Practical: More Markup – Tutorial
History of Victoria in the Victorian Era
Reading Questions: I suggest you read the essays in the order given above.
1 According to Morris, what impulses lay behind the expansion of the British Empire?
2 To what extent does the settlement of Victoria reflect those impules?
3 What was the Wakefield System meant to accomplish and how successful was it.
4 In what ways did the gold rush displace the Family-Company Compact and in what ways did it reinforce it?
7.Wednesday, 21 Practical and Analytical: Writing for the Web and Web Site Criteria, Team Meetings
Analytical: Critically Analysing the Web as Delivery System for History.
Nathan Wallace, Web Writing for Many Interest Levels, (May 18, 1999) http://www.e-gineer.com/v1/articles/web-writing-for-many-interest-levels.htm
Daniel Cohen and Roy Rozenweig, “Designing for the History Web,” Chapter 4 from their Digital History, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2005) 109-140
1. How is the analogue author different from the digital author.
2. Refelecting on the readings for class 5 as well as for this week: how should/could we write differently for the web compared to the essay format.
3. What are the key factors to keeping in mind in designing for the web
8.Wednesday, 28 Practical: Team Meetings
9.Wednesday, 4 Practical: Storyboard Presentations and Team Meetings
The Edges of Time: Cornerstones and Time Capsules of Early Victoria by Alyssum Nielsen, Sonya White, Tine Cruickshank, Sarah Bowen, and Alice Shether.
Colonial Cricket by Sarah Pugh, Kathryn Gibbons and Chris Adams.
6. What do the Masonic Temple, St Andrew's Church (Presbyterian), St. Ann's Academy (Catholic) and the Jewish Synagogue all have in common?
10.Wednesday, 11 Reading Break -- class cancelled
11.Wednesday, 18 Practical: Team Meetings
12.Wednesday, 25 Practical: Team Meetings
13. Wednesday 2 Presentation of Websites to Class. First Evaluation.
14. Wednesday 9 DATE TENTATIVE Launching of Victoria’s Victoria Website. 4 pm.
15. Wednesday 23rd Deposit Version of Website delivered on CD. 4 pm.
Web Sites to Critique
Writing for the Web
Related Software /Projects / Templates
Software for Web Development: