Dr. Jessica Otis
Class Location & Time: Mondays, 7:20-10pm, Horizon 1007
Office Hours: By appointment, just send me an email or Slack message and we’ll figure out a time/place to meet.

Course Description:

Digital history encompasses a wide variety of computationally-assisted historical scholarship methods, tools, and publications. As with the larger digital humanities community of practice, it is often–but not always–associated with an ethos of collaborative, iterative, open, and/or public-facing scholarship. This course will introduce the rapidly evolving field of digital history with the goal of enabling students to incorporate digital history into both their current research agendas and their future teaching experiences. Students will learn how to use and critique digital methods; assess and employ digital tools; evaluate the merits and pitfalls of digitally publishing various forms of scholarship; and generally navigate this digital research environment.

Required Course Materials/Expenses:

1. Reclaim Hosting (https://reclaimhosting.com/shared-hosting/) personal website plan ($30 for the shared server space + $15 for a custom URL, see my early post in the Slack #tech-support channel for more on this)

2. Computer that runs full version of Mac, Windows, or Linux operating system

NOTE: Devices such as ChromeBooks (running ChromeOS), iPads (running iOS), or Microsoft Surface Go (running the “S Mode” of Windows) will not allow you to install the software we will be using in this course. While you can break devices out of “S Mode” into the full version of Windows, you cannot reverse this and return to “S Mode” after the course ends.

If you don’t have and can’t obtain access to an appropriate computer, please contact me ASAP and we’ll find a path forward for you.

Optional Course Materials/Expenses:

This is not the final book list, but is a good starting point for books that I think are worth reading even if they do not end up being assigned for this course. The links below will take you to the GMU Libraries website, where you can read the ebooks for free.

1. Adam Crymble, Technology and the Historian (University of Illinois Press, 2021)

2. Ian Milligan, History in the Age of Abundance?: How the Web is Transforming Historical Research (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019)

3. Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (NYU Press, 2018)

4. Trevor Owens, The Theory and Craft of Digital Preservation (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018)

5. Claire Battershill and Shawna Ross, Using Digital Humanities in the Classroom: A Practical Introduction for Teachers, Lecturers, and Students (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017 or 2022 revised edition) – if I can arrange a library copy, I will depreciate this book for Jennifer Guiliano, A Primer for Teaching Digital History (Duke University Press, 2022)

6. Jonathan Blaney et al, Doing Digital History (Manchester University Press, 2021)

7. Ruth and Sebastian Ahnert, Tudor Networks of Power (Oxford University Press, 2024)

Technical Assistance:

In addition to asking for help via the class Slack or consulting with me during office hours, students can receive technical assistance at the Digital Scholarship Center (https://dsc.gmu.edu/) in the University Libraries.

Tutorials can also be found on the Programming Historian at http://programminghistorian.org