Welcome to the homepage of HISD18 - Digital History, a fourth-year course offered by Prof. Natalie Rothman at the University of Toronto Scarborough for the first time in Winter 2015. This seminar/lab introduces students to the variety of ways in which historians are grappling with digital methods and approaches to the study and representation of the past. Through a combination of readings and hands-on digital projects, you will explore how the Web radically transforms how both professional historians and others envision the past and express these visions in various media.
To guide students' entry into an exploding, and constantly shifting field of knowledge, the course pivots around a single object of inquiry, which students analyze, annotate, visualize and represent in multiple ways throughout the term, using different tools and methods acquired along the way. Working in small groups, students produce a range of materials related to the object in various digital media. Together, they compile these materials (annotated bibliographies, maps, network visualizations, and textual analyses of the object's visual and material properties) into an online resource, a virtual exhibit of sorts. Other students and the public will be invited to further annotate and comment on the analyses and visualizations that the students generate.
This will help reinforce:
- How different methodologies afford different analytical lenses, reveal (and sometimes occlude) different dimensions of the object under analysis;
- How digital tools can enhance humanistic inquiry, allowing us to answer certain questions more systematically and/or pose different questions altogether;
- How digital research is inherently collaborative, and what the implications are for how we think about knowledge production and circulation;
- How historical inquiry can speak to multiple publics, and how different publics may approach the past in many different ways;
- How historical texts and artifacts have an enduring relevance in our own society, and how our interpretations of historical objects are both inherently informed by the present and, potentially, transform our understanding of the future.
This homepage will be updated regularly, so please visit it again soon.