Why I’m doing history:
We do not ‘repeat the past’ (that is impossible, the past is done, gone, cannot be repeated; nor does history ‘repeat itself’). However, human beings do tend to repeat patterns of behavior (as a species we seem to have a limited imagination when it comes to ‘trial and error’ approaches).
Consequently, learning about past impetus (circumstances/ conditions/ environment/ context) and response (agency) allows one to discern patterns of human behavior (as a species we are programmed to ‘see’ patterns).
Aside from being an interesting thing to do, studying past behaviors allows guesses about why people are doing what they are doing in the present to be ‘educated guesses,’ and even allows for the making of educated guesses about what will happen in the future (as an outcome of what people are doing now).
Thus, doing history shows the past to be relevant to the present and future. Hence the tenet illustrated immediately below.
Tenet underlying my study of Canadian history:
N. Hall, meme-spoof, “History is always Relevant,” (1 December 2013)
I structured this blog as though it were a website, but I constructed the website as though it were a wiki, meaning that uploaded text was always in the process of being edited (corrected and enlarged). The content therefore is not entirely stable (though changes to a page are usually incremental not drastic). I’m mildly dyslexic, so when it comes to spelling and dates mistakes can creep in and sit there for quite awhile before noticed.
Being an explanatory page with introductory note &c.
Including a note about me: what’s done
and this link to things to read, about seafaring, from texts composed in the past, or, in a separate section, historical texts on Canadian history, and from Canada’s history.
and this link to a list of informative blogs
and things to view
[and: this link to the 'We, They, and Us' bibliography, which doubles as an index of the posted Canadian history reading field notes; this link to bibliography 3: getting at identity in the Canadian context, a similar index of the notes posted for the Aboriginal studies reading field]
Creative Commons Image courtesy of Swivelchair, Vintage Printable.
To me, metaphysically speaking. doing history means actively constructing an intellectual context in which to situate one’s perspective, on which to base one’s opinions, and out of which one can make informed choices. I am of the opinion that the past cannot inform the present otherwise. When it comes to engaging with historiography, I like to think that the metaphysical has a practical application.
canadianhistory n.0 is a virtual archive of various materials — texts — that I have found or generated in the course of studying Canadian history and developing a context for understanding Canada today: as a state-defined and geographically delimited country, and as a complex collectivity of human beings attempting to live with a multitude of ever varying conceptions of what living in Canada ought to be like. Some of the texts date back to my graduate studies, others are more recent. This archive is virtual not only because it is electronic and web dependent, but because the material stored here is subject to change — web utilities do not hold onto posts indefinitely, neither do web addresses remain constant, nor links active.
Creative Commons Image courtesy of Swivelchair, Vintage Printable.
I set up this site with an eye to making a contribution to those interested in doing Canadian history, whether in an academic institution or non-institutional setting. It therefore serves both as a repository of my work and of sources that may be prove useful. Sources for my written work are listed under the bibliography tab. Some sources pertaining to studying history, history writing (historiography), and history criticism (historiology), are listed below, while online sources can be accessed by way of this link to online sources pertaining to historiography and historiology.
On the state of early 21st-century institutionalized post-secondary education see:
Kate Zernike, “Career U: Making College ‘Relevant’,” The New York Times, Education Life (29 December 2009).
For background on DH (Digital Humunaities and/or Digital History) see:
Lisa Spiro, “Digital Humanities in 2008, Part I,” posted to Digital Scholarship in the Humanities (7 February 2009): http://digitalscholarship.wordpress.com/2009/02/07/digital-humanities-in-2008-part-i/
Sites that offer open course ware (university course materials, from lecture notes and exams to videos):
- MITOPENCOURSEWARE, http://bit.ly/5D57 , Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has free online materials for 1900 courses, including about 70 dedicated to history subjects.
- Open Courseware Consortium, http://bit.ly/abMOb , OCW, has global links to materials supplied by over 200 academic institutions and associated organizations.
- Open Culture, http://bit.ly/zlOB0 , Openculture.com, has free online cultural and educational media, including university courses and lectures (audio and video).
“Intelligent YouTube Video Collections,” Open Culture, http://www.openculture.com/2008/03/youtubesmartvideos.html.
EServer Accessible Writing at http://eserver.org/ “an e-publishing co-op based at Iowa State University where hundreds of writers, editors and scholars gather to publish over 35,000 works free of charge,” has a History and Historiography page at http://history.eserver.org/ with links to a much smaller — but presumably expanding — number of articles of diverse kinds on a variety of topics.
‘Website for Open Access Week’: http://www.openaccessweek.org/ which “seeks to raise awareness of the importance of open access to research. In today’s world, proper use of digital publication platforms and open copyright licenses can greatly facilitate the spread and impact of academic research.”
On edupunk 2.0 post-secondary education see:
- Anya Kamenetz, “How Web-Savvy Edupunks are transforming American Higher Education,” http://bit.ly/Dthx5.
- Robert Safian, “Letter from the Editor: Lessons of the Edupunks,” Fast Company http://bit.ly/zICKf.
On the ‘new thalassology’ (from the Greek thalassos, the sea) in studies of cultural meanings of the maritime world, aka Blue Cutural Studies, see:
- Stephen Mentz, “Toward a Blue Cultural Studies: The Sea, Modern Culture, and Early Modern English Literature,” Literature Compass, published online 24 August 2009, http://ow.ly/15MeK3. The abstract notes that “The new maritime humanities speaks to a series of modern discourses, including globalization, postcolonialism, environmentalism, ecocriticism, and the history of science and technology.”
On freedom with words see ”The Free Word centre’, which “seeks to reopen the debate about freedom of expression” in a socially sanctioning world where it seems “offence [is] the new censorship.” See announcement http://bit.ly/s4UQS.
On meanings of words — as I use ‘em — see ‘slippery words list‘ page.
On freeing compendiums of words, because, as Alex Madrigal argues, “Libraries have been important for millennia because they could control access to valuable information. Now, that’s a strategy that leads straight to irrelevance,” see Madrigal’s article “A Writer’s Plea: Figure Out How to Preserve Google Books.”
On freeing words of/off the page see
Michael Wesch/mwesch, “The Machine is Us/ing Us (Final Version),” YouTube 8 March 2007.
David Stuart’s musings on “what it will take to change the way that academics work” http://bit.ly/15tvkf entitled “Web 2.0 Fails to Excite Researchers” point out that academics employed at institutions of higher learning — places formerly known as ‘ivory towers’ — Apparently are as isolated/insulated as they have ever been:
It is hard to imagine a group more suited to the opportunities of Web 2.0 technologies than academics, especially when it comes to conducting and publishing research. The importance of collaboration to the scholarly process is so widely recognised that it is often now a prerequisite of funding. The potential of academic research to have a significant impact on the wider economy has not only led funding councils to stipulate that publicly-funded research papers are made freely available online, but has also seen them encourage researchers to come up with new and innovative methods of distributing research findings. In addition to this, rising journal costs and long delays in publication time have led many academics to the conclusion that the current publication process is fundamentally broken.
Scholarly publishing 2.0 offers much more to the research process than the simple content management system of blogs and wikis. It does not just give the opportunity to help find collaborators for a project, and possibility of easing the communication process within a research group. It also offers the opportunity to publish new forms of data and can blur the barriers of the research group. The traditional research paper has obvious limitations in terms of the type of information that can be conveyed. It is not just video and audio that are unsuitable for the paper format, but also the huge amounts of data that may be collected in the research process. The open data movement is about sharing as much of the data as possible, while the open notebook science movement is about sharing as much of the whole primary record as possible. Both of these are focused on enabling others to use the mass of information behind a journal article to inform further research. The web also offers new opportunities for more open peer review, widening the opportunity for those who want to provide and receive feedback on research.
Change, Stuart suggests, may have to wait on a new generation of academics. I wonder, can ivory towers really afford the luxury of all that time?
Archived and mediated impressions of virtual conferences etc. attended 2010:
Julie Meloni, “My Yale PDP 2010 Presentation,” http://www.academicsandbox.com/blog/?p=387
pmhswe “Evolving Reading Practices” panel, starting w/ Patrick Redding, on Frank O’Hara. Just got handed “Having a Coke w/ You.”
pmhswe Patrick Redding: Digital mediation means we have to rethink terms like “edition,” “secondary sources.”
PDP2010 Eugenia Kelbert (Yale comp lit PhD) is moderator and chair. Paper is “Ménage a trois, or General Theory of Communication”
PDP2010 Paulina Bounds is next with “Large-Scale Digital Audio Archiving”
PDP2010 University of Georgia’s Linguistic Atlas Project contains 7,500 hours of recordings on cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes
veek Remediation: representing one medium in another. (vz: media synesthesia.) Happens both ways (old->new, new->old)
linkedlibrary Final mp3s from audio atlas projects will be available for free online hiopefully later this year
PDP2010 Paulina Bounds: only beginning to imagine education applications of the linguistic atlas
veek Why all this matters: because students will find these poetry sites & use them. So we need to be aware of effects of remediation
linkedlibrary Linguistic atlas emphasis is on public access and educational potential. Great example to set.
pmhswe T. Austin Graham now: The Digitized Blues: Langston Hughes in the Age of the Online Sound Archive.
PDP2010 Interesting response frm Paulina Bounds abt decision to leave the “n-word” in linguistic atlas recordings; history shd be recorded
veek The blues were recorded almost exclusively by white people for the first ~10yrs of blues. We didn’t have those recs ’til recently
veek So what happens to a music genre viewed as almost exclusively Black, when we dig out the early recordings?
PDP2010 Now: Garret Voorhees & Micah Stupak on “Digital Kiksht.” Kiksht is a Native American dialect.
veek Graham reads a blues song by Hughes, and asks us to think: should he be *reading* this?
linkedlibrary Digital Kiksht, a dig archive of a native am. dialect functionally dead. Pacific NW
PDP2010 Voorhees & Stupak built custom Kiksht font, each character of which (with a few exceptions) has a 4-digit Unicode ID
PDP2010 Quoting Melville Jacobs: “the bleak harvest [of remaining Native American heritage] is almost finished”
veek Q&A: question re youtube videos of O’Hara: is there a hierarchy to how one treats the creators of these remediations?
veek Q&A: are we really “reading O’Hara,” so heavily remediated, when we see these YouTube videos?
pmhswe Q fr Goldsby: what are reading habits of people visiting poetry sites (bartleby.com)? Esp. given distractions like ads as paratext.
veek (vz: this goes back to minstrel culture old & new, in which everything was live & therefore recontextualized all the time.)
PDP2010 Moderator Douglas Whalen of Haskins Labs on the possible unintended (sometimes unwelcome) consequences of making recordings public
pmhswe Interesting: for Redding, digital remediation of poetry was like re-acquisition of it, akin to process of memorizing verse.
veek “Are we really reading Frank O’Hara? Are these not just appropriations?” What do you mean, “just”? Isn’t appropriating all we do?
PDP2010 Whalen: we should think not about storage but about “move-age”: moving data from one form to another
digitalhumanist next session: “Theorizing the Digital Archive”
PDP2010 First presenter: Sharon Teague on “Accessing Wills: MS Access as a Tool for Historians”
veek Digital archive == possibility for transparency and accessibility. Atget = early 20c photographer, never considered self an artist
veek Campbell: Museums of necessity homogenize the multiplicity of Atget’s discourses by presenting them as a coherent whole.
linkedlibrary teague recommends access as a historian’s tool essentially for end-user ease of use. Definitely better than notecards.
dmer enter all the data from 16th cent. wills into access database… sharing implies some normalizing of fielded data… standards?
PDP2010 Sharon Teague describes how MS Access allows the historian to graph, chart, and analyze wills
rachaelsullivan Stewart Campbell discussing how the logic of MoMA’s archive excludes photographs that don’t have a place in the narrative of Atget.
rachaelsullivan Campbell suggests that such methods are analog, privileging scarcity, and don’t consider the possibilities of digital archives.
PDP2010 Sharon Teague: But does using MS Access to analyze wills impose 21st-century bias on historical materials?
pmhswe Julie Meloni, “Toward a Realization of the n-Dimensional Text” – starts out by urging us to imagine institutions w/out walls.
pmhswe “Slippage of terms” in humanities computing needs to be recognized/addressed.
PDP2010 Now up: April Merleaux on “Reimagining Ethnic Studies in the Era of Digital Research”
veek Last up: Alexandre Monnin, Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University, “What is a Tag: Digital Artifacts as Hermeneutical Devices”
PDP2010 Tagging is “really seductive,” but if you’re not consistent you can’t search easily
veek Monnin talks about folksonomies and authority. Classification intimately related to power.
PDP2010 Merleaux makes an interesting distinction: she’s not doing a digital project, but she’s using digitized primary sources
PDP2010 Merleaux: keyword searches allow the researcher to construct a “dynamic narrative,” existing only because I summoned it
PDP2010 Merleaux: historian needs to consider the institutional and technological eccentricities of her archives
janaremy Merleaux: If u don’t program, your work will always be at the mercy of those who do
PDP2010 Merleaux: ancestry.com & familysearch.com are example of databases shaped by ideological concerns
veek Monnin calls RDF “the main language of the semantic web to formalize knowledge.” Must think more about that.
PDP2010 Merleaux on our academic moment, in which we “find ourselves becoming keyword historians”
linkedlibrary Offenberger: need more collaboration among historians/ scholars. I’d love to find a niche coordinating those collabs. digitally
PDP2010 Offenburger suggests allowing students to learn code to fulfill a foreign-language requirement
janaremy Offenberger proposing the “imperfect archive” for sharing archival info among scholars
veek Q to panelists: how do you see your more traditional disciplines of origin (philosophy, history) fitting into [digital humanities]?
rachaelsullivan Wikipedia never fails to be a hot topic amongst academics…
PDP2010 Question: What do we lose with this easy access?
PDP2010 Q: How professionally acceptable are database-building and teaching projects among American scholars? Popular question.
LNBel perhaps most useful would be a written manual of how to use MSaccess for dissertation data-we have all reinvented the wheel there
veek WM: What might responsible scholarship look like in the aftermarket mode? Why are computing & other things happening @ same time?
cliotropic WM: how can we use digital humanities to keep the humanities alive outside (elite) higher education, in the wider society?
cliotropic WM: more scholars need to be sharing their work strategies; there is no single canonical way to do digital humanities work.
cliotropic comparison btw 1930s facsimile ed. of title-page and scanned version, w/ bleed-throughs showing, “part of the living manuscript”
PDP2010 Rolena Adorno showing the importance of “extraneous” detail in digitization using example of Spanish colonial manuscript from 1500s
cliotropic Danish Royal Library chose to transcribe original Spanish w/ English translation, not Danish. Many page examples.
cliotropic Re-use of print-edition transcriptions along with the online version of the manuscript, leads to aftermarket correction & updating
veek Adorno: digital archives -> years go by -> suddenly we’re asking: we’re applying what editorial standards, and whose?
veek Adorno: when we do a scholarly project, folks, it’s never done. You are never, ever finished. (Amen to that, and a good thing.)
veek Adorno calls for collaboration b/t institutions as crucial to getting relatively small but v. important corpora online.
cliotropic Discussion of where related manuscripts went: mss of the friar who worked w/ Guaman Poma. The Getty owns one; isn’t digitizing it.
cliotropic Getty’s waiting for their print facsimile version of that manuscript to sell out before creating a digital edition.
cliotropic Ayers: talking about 1970s work with punchcards & statistics. “looked like to me a watershed event, it didn’t want to miss it.”
veek Ayers: used to be we got together to build archives. Now we’re looking at them: what are they occluding? what are they enabling?
cliotropic Ayers: what does a scholarly project look like beyond the monograph? *Collaboration* with archivists, librarians, etc.
PDP2010 George Miles: the ongoing importance — and danger — of classification and indexing
veek Miles on controlled vocabularies: they help us trust info, & know what we want to do w/cultural objects, what Qs to ask of them
veek We ask questions of a text independently of the forms it takes. But we can ask diff. questions of *artifacts*.
PDP2010 George Miles: We need to think creatively about expressing the materiality of digital surrogates
PDP2010 McCarty: we don’t know how to write a history of computing. We desperately need one so we’ll know what baggage we’re carrying
veek Adorno: complementarity of the monograph and the digital project are the [academic] future. It’s not a question of replacement
On n-dimensional work(s) space:
Jerome McGann, Radiant Textuality: Literature After the World Wide Web (New York: Palgrave, 2001); and online texts http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/jjm2f/online.html.
Julie Meloni, “Yale PDP 2010 Presentation,” http://www.academicsandbox.com/blog/?p=387 .
George Siemens, “Teaching in Social and Technological Networks,” Connectivism: networked and social learning, blog (18 February, 2010).