Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Spatial History Engine

This is location for photo essays linked to a somewhat complex History Engine project I undertook with my HIS 346 United States History Since 1945 class.  They were experimented on, they know it and I know it.  They were troopers.   As a way of introduction here are some of the specifics from the syllabus. 

This semester you have an opportunity to truly experience history from a different and exciting perspective.  Rather than simply absorbing information from books, you will actively investigate, evaluate, and publish about historical problems. You will begin by examining original primary documents — everything from letters and newspapers to court cases, plantation records, and sheet music — in libraries and archives. You will analyze these documents with your own critical eye and place them in the larger historical context using secondary sources. 

The History Engine is an educational resource center and cumulative database that provides opportunities for teachers, students, and researchers to access and add to a wide-ranging portrait of life in the United States.  Conceived as a teaching tool, the History Engine allows student participants to research primary documents and use secondary sources to help reconstruct the "episodes" — snippets of daily life from the largest national event to the smallest local occurrence — that make up the cumulative database. By providing the database's contents, students are able to engage in the process of academia: participants examine primary documents, place them in a larger historical context using secondary resources, and prepare their analysis for the public eye. Most importantly, students are able to learn from each other as the episodes created by their fellow classmates and other participating classrooms around the country serve as the basis for future research papers and projects. 

In addition to these traditional episodes, this class in conjunction with class from Furman College will be experimenting with a new type of History Engine assignment. This new assignment conceived by Dr. Lloyd Benson (Furman College) and Dr. Julian Chambliss (Rollins College) utilizes a mix of remapping, visual survey, archive study, and sight analysis to explore postwar development.  The goal is to create two History Engine episodes that explore both contemporary circumstances and historical antecedents associated with specific location within the community. These two episodes will integrate field study and archival research to create History Engine episode and photo essay that analyze information, apply knowledge, and think critically about historical developments.

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