Teaching Digital Archives

I’m interested in digital archives and teaching.  I find the digitization of historical materials (drafts, journals, maps, other documents, not to mention sound recordings and images) a powerful resource for helping cultivate a sense of history in humanities students.  Additionally, these archives offer alternative modes of writing and critical thinking; I’m particularly interested in talking about the intersection of digital composition/making and traditional “close reading” skills pursued in literary studies.  How can we use these resources more effectively?  How can students “write back” to the archive, and what are the advantages of these responses?  These are the kinds of questions I’d love to discuss, as well as learning more about specific resources and actual assignments that people have used in their classes.

Categories: Collaboration, Linked Data, Session Proposals, Teaching |
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About paj32

I received my Ph.D. in English and Theory/Criticism at the University of Washington, where I studied American literature, particularly poetry and poetics. I'm approach poetics as a study of thought, and I always ask how a text is allowing us to think through history, culture, and our environments. But I'm also a contemporary literature person, and so I spend a lot of time thinking about the way changes in culture and technology influence the way novelists and poets write and the way readers read. I love to teach, drawing on a broad literary archive (right now, I'm teaching Frankenstein; last semester, I taught American Psycho). Lately, I've been a preoccupied with the rise of do-it-yourself and craft culture, which intersects with network societies in intriguing ways.

4 Responses to Teaching Digital Archives

  1. Profile photo of rybakc rybakc says:

    This is definitely not my area of expertise, but I do see some overlap here with digital storytelling/alternative narratives. I’d love to create an assignment where students digitized the types of materials you’re describing and crafted a narrative; so I’d benefit quite a bit from hearing about your ideas. And I’m definitely interested in the application to close reading and literary studies, which involves a lot of my teaching.

  2. Profile photo of paj32 paj32 says:

    In many respects, your twitter/class discussion proposal overlaps with my own concerns. The recent Annotation Studio posting might be a useful way to bridge our interests in a more concrete application, although I’d be happy to share some of my past projects using other tools. For instance, I had students annotate historical maps during a 19th c literature survey, which produced some interesting work.

  3. I’m interested in this, too! I taught a grad course at NYU a couple years ago on “Creating Digital History” where I had students build digital archives with Omeka, and that involved their using online archives as well. Always interested in other possibilities, though.

  4. Pingback: Notes from Teaching Digital Archives session | THATCamp MLA Boston 2013

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