A New Chapter – Public History in the Digital Sphere!

As I continue my foray into the Digital Humanities (DH), I have begun a new semester with HIST 694: Digital Public History. This time around, I will be focusing more on the public aspect of how we can apply the digital skill and techniques we are learning in the course to better present and understand historical knowledge. However, it is proper to begin by (re)introducing myself since this is essentially a new chapter.

This is my second class in the graduate certificate program for Digital Public Humanities at George Mason University. The first class was “History 680: Introduction to Digital Humanities” where my cohort was introduced to the academic field of Digital Humanities and a basic understanding of how to use digital tools to do this kind of work. During this class, I developed a digital project that highlighted trends in the text of American Indian treaties signed between two different time periods. I chose this as my project because my specific interests are in American Indian history and Native American & Indigenous Studies. This semester, the class is “History 694: Digital Public History.”

While I do not personally have a strong background in DH, this course has really brought me into the field. I am interested in seeing how the development of digital projects enhances the presentation of historical work in a way that is more engaging for the general public and allows for an overall increase in historical thinking that contributes to the social justice of groups who have been historically marginalized and continue to be due to misunderstanding prevalent in mainstream narratives. Though it is not necessarily DH, my primary background in public history in the digital sphere is my role as a moderator and contributor to the largest online public history forum known as “AskHistorians” on Reddit.com.

It is through this role that my interest in digital public history has been cultivated. I enjoy directly engaging with members of the public to discuss and present history, finding it very advantageous to do so online. As such, I desire to learn more skills, tools, and techniques that allow me to continue this engagement in an effective manner, but to also begin engaging with the public in new ways that involve more conventional means of doing public history and combining that with the digital avenues available to us.

Thus, my learning goals for this semester revolve around gaining a better understanding of public history, how we can combine our “doing” of public history with digital tools, and how to use these methods to cultivate historical thinking among the public. With this blog, I will continue to document my journey and my efforts to attain these goals.

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