Having recently been granted as an Affiliate Society, ACH was delighted to sponsor four sessions at the American Historical Association’s Annual Conference held this past January in New York City. These sessions were selected by ACH to represent stellar ongoing work at the intersection of digital history and digital technologies:
Session 99, Blogging and the Future of Scholarship, included presentations by Sara Georgini (Boston University), Michelle Moravec (Rosemont College), and Jonathan VanAntwerpen (The Henry Luce Foundation). The roundtable examined blogs and blogging in the discipline of history highlighting how historians addressed different audiences through blogs. Session 99 also underscored how blogs build networks of scholars, and how blogs are changing the forms of scholarly communication and interaction.
Session 102, Digital Histories of Slavery, explored the history of American slavery and freedom and the ways digital scholars have attempted to ask new questions The roundtable panel offered exemplary efforts to assemble the fragmentary records related to slavery in the digital space, provide access to scholars and the public, and use digital methodologies to advance historical interpretations. Presenters included Edward Baptist (Cornell University), Don Debats (Flinders University), Vanessa M. Holden and Jessica M. Johnson (Michigan State University), and William G. Thomas III (University of Nebraska–Lincoln) and Jennifer E. Guiliano (IUPUI).
Session 149, Visualization and Digital History: Techniques and Demonstrations, explored the spatial and visual turn in digital history. Working with new technologies of geographic information systems, data mining, and computational linguistics, scholars on this panel reexamined the concept of the historical atlas, the underpinnings of state authority to map certain kinds of information, and the embedded nature of spatial data in historical sources. This roundtable panel featured leading research projects that use spatial and visual presentation and assessed the ways visualization affect historical interpretation and analysis. Presenters included Scott Nesbit (University of Richmond), Benjamin Schmidt (Northeastern University), and Thomas Summerhill (Michigan State University).
Session 158, Authoring Digital Scholarship for History: Challenges and Opportunities, highlighted the characteristics of scholarship in the digital environment and interrogated disciplinary ideas about authorship, audience, and what constitutes scholarship. This panel featured scholarship and scholarly communication explicitly created for and in the digital medium, blending tools, sources, and interpretive analysis. Panelists addressed several critical questions: does digital scholarship fundamentally break with the traditional forms, is a more hypertextual history possible, how is the representation of historical knowledge changing, is the digital medium suitable for historiographical questions? Presenters included Cameron Blevins (Stanford University), Adeline Koh (Richard Stockton College of New Jersey), Lauren Tilton (Yale University), and Yoni Appelbaum (Harvard University).
These were just four of a growing number of digital history sessions at the AHA. ACH will be developing additional activities as an affiliate society of AHA. If you have ideas, are interested in contributing, or intend to submit a proposal to AHA 2015 in Atlanta, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with ACH-AHA 2015 in the subject line.