Impact of Digital History on Historians and on the Practice of History

April 8th, 2012

Reading 1

-Experimental History in the Classroom by Martha Hodes

This was an interesting article because I had no clue what experimental history was, but realized that I might like it very much. From what I gather in the article, experimental history is a mesh of creative writing and traditional historical research. While textbooks and scholarly works in the history field are often boring, experimental history offers a reinvigoration of life into the books that are suppoed to teach us about the world. I think that this practice would take a lot of cross-curriculum training and I am not so sure that the average history major could take a course in experimental history and be sucessful at it. I think that for it to work, it would be necessary to have a creative writing background.

Reading Two

-Digital History Reader: Teaching Resources for U.S. and European History by E. Thomas Ewing and Robert P. Stevens

I believe I have encountered the Digital History Reader many times while I was in high school. The article describes a sort of site/database/collection of primary sources that aim to answer specific questions about history and the intertwiming topics within the study. When I took AP U.S. History, my teacher spent a lot of time having us look at a collection of primary sources and developing a question from those sources. She also did the reverse, which was mirrored off of the AP exam. This way of looking at primary sources greatly helped me hone my skillsĀ of analyzing primary sources and their contextual meaning as well as their historical value. I think this source should be utilized in all classrooms because those skills I learned in my class, I feel that I have lost them because most primary sources are handed to students in lower level history courses. Until students reach their HIST 485 course they don’t really have to look at primary sources and asses them they way the digital reader helps to asses sources.

Reading Three

-Clio and th Bloggers by Anthony Grafton

I have always wondered why blogging would be appealing to historians and people involved in the history profession. This article somewhat answered that question for me. I understand that the community of historians has been dwindling and is well-isolated, but that still did not answer the question. Anthony Grafton helped by relating that historians are looking for an outlet to voice their opinions, concerns, and general thoughts. The general thoughts part of this statement confuses me. Some historians make their blogs professional and a space that contributes to the academic world, but Mr. Grafton says that some bloggers include their personal issues in their posts. I wonder how credible a blog can be if scholarly thoughts are muddled by personal thoughts. I do like the author’s comments on the blog called the “Invisible Adjunct”. I think blogging is a great way to address the issues historians have with their profession especially in terms of getting jobs and pushing students to go to graduate school.

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