Shine Trabucco: PUB_lic History Podcast

Hello everyone! My name is Shine Trabucco. I am currently a Master’s student in Public History at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. I research and write on environmental and borderland history of San Antonio, Texas. I focus on producing digital projects for my research to make it more accessible to reacher broader audiences.

I am a co-producer and editor of “PUB_lic History Podcast.” The podcast covers different topics and projects that are related to public history in different venues around the San Antonio area. The podcast is in its early stages however we are currently working on creating a logo so that we can begin uploading it to different podcasting services such as Apple Podcasts. This project aims to create access and introduce new topics in history for the general public.

You can also find us on Twitter!

Brian Luna Lucero: Preservation and Citation of Digital History Projects, a Librarian’s Perspective

Hello, my name is Brian Luna Lucero. I have a Ph.D. in History from the University of New Mexico. I am currently the Digital Projects Librarian at Columbia University. In that role, I help Columbia’s librarians and faculty create digital collections and exhibits from Columbia’s extensive physical archives. 

I am excited to be part of the Six Shooters panel at WHA. It is an outstanding venue for bringing together the worlds of history and digital libraries. I will be discussing ways that historians can plan a long life for their digital projects and ensure that they can be used by other scholars in the future. I will present key questions about how digital projects operate, where they are stored, how they are described and how they can be cited. I will suggest the answers to those questions as I walk attendees through platforms, repositories, licensing, metadata and documentation.

Joel Zapata: Chicana/o Activism in the Southern Plains Through Time and Space

Hello everyone! I am Joel Zapata. I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. I research and write on the long-term history of the greater U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the Southwest, the South, and the lands where these regions meet, the Southern Great Plains.

At our 2019 Six Shooter session, I will be presenting on Chicana/o Activism in the Southern Plains Through Time and Space, a digital history and mapping project. This project is a platform through which both scholars and the wider public can find an Interactive Timeline and Map along with a curated online collection of materials regarding the Southern Plains’ Chicana/o Civil Rights Movement. A home page introducing the Chicana/o Movement along with a page describing the Southern Plains function in a similar way, as the introductory panels of a museum exhibition, gradually moving visitors into the Interactive Timeline and Map—the heart of this digital history project—and the online collection. Therefore, the project provides an accessible, digital museum experience that has not emerged within the walls of the Southern Plains’ museums and related institutions.

While I am looking forward to presenting on Chicana/o Activism in the Southern Plains Through Time and Space, I am even more thrilled to seeing everyone else’s digital history work.

Sean Fraga: Digital Visualizations of Pacific Northwest Maritime Trade Networks during American Settlement, 1851–61

Hello everyone! I’m Sean Fraga. I hold a Ph.D. in history from Princeton University and am currently a lecturer in the Princeton Writing Program. I study links between mobility, technology, the environment, and social change. My current research explores the role of steam power in American territorial expansion, especially in the Pacific Northwest. 

At this year’s Six Shooter session, I’ll be discussing my digital history project, They Came on Waves of Ink: Pacific Northwest Maritime Trade at the Dawn of American Settlement, 1851–61. This project created maps and data visualizations from archival U.S. Customs records to show commercial links between Puget Sound’s first American settlers and the Pacific World. 

Waves of Ink tells the stories hidden in a beaten-up, handwritten ledger. In 1851, the United States created the Puget Sound Customs District as part of the nation’s territorial expansion to the Pacific Coast. During the district’s first decade, U.S. Customs officials used this ledger to record a wealth of information about each vessel arriving and departing Puget Sound: its name, nationality, tonnage, type, place built, registration, voyage dates, inbound and outbound ports, captain’s name, cargo carried, and details about the crew and passengers. 

My research team and I transcribed roughly 4,500 entries across 150 pages. A copy of the preliminary transcription is available on GitHub. This project was supported by Princeton’s Center for Digital Humanities, which hosted me as a postgraduate research associate during spring semester 2019. I am now preparing the dataset and related articles for publication.

This project helps reveal the importance of maritime trade to American colonization of the Pacific Northwest. At the WHA, I’ll discuss the transcription process, readying the dataset for analysis, and ways of exploring the data with Excel, QGIS, and Palladio. 

Cynthia C. Prescott: Pioneer Monuments in the American West

Hi, my name is Cynthia Prescott, and I am an associate professor of history at the University of North Dakota. My website, Pioneer Monuments in the American West, began as an inexpensive way to display color photographs of the nearly 200 public statues and sculptural reliefs I examine in my new book.  But building that website had a profound impact on my research project. Going digital enabled me to better manage my growing database of monuments. A tool developed for that website enabled me to map the erection of those monuments over both time and space. That in turn led me to ask new research questions that enriched my analysis of those monuments on the website and in the book.

As public attention turned toward increasingly controversial monuments beginning in 2015, I reimagined the scope and purpose of my website. While it remains a repository for images and content that didn’t fit into my 400-page monograph, I now envision it primarily as a tool for public engagement. Through my website and a variety of other platforms, I seek to inform ongoing debates about controversial monuments, and to spark conversations about similar monuments that have thus far gone unchallenged. I gave a series of public presentations, several of which can now be streamed through my website. I collaborated with K-12 teachers to develop model lesson plans that are now freely available on that site. And I am partnering with Clio—a website and mobile app that guides the public to thousands of historic sites—to reach more readers and to build actual and virtual tours of pioneer monuments throughout the United States.

Gianna May Sanchez: Creating a Public-Facing Website for Hispanic Legacies of Route 66

Hello! I am happy and honored to be included among a group of fantastic scholars all participating in the Digital Six Shooter panel at this year’s WHA! I am Gianna May Sanchez, a pre-candidate Ph.D. history student at the University of Michigan. My research and interests primarily focus on the history of healthcare and folk medicine in the 20th century U.S. West, specifically examining experiences of reproduction and medicine for women and Latinx communities in the region. My work also includes public history and digital humanities projects, which range from short term endeavors (as featured in my Six Shooter presentation) to long term contracted positions with organizations like the Smithsonian Latino Center. My presentation, “Rerouting the Mother Road: Creating a Public-Facing Website for Hispanic Legacies of Route 66” will focus on a 2017 digital project with the National Park Service and Latino Heritage Internship Program about the history of Route 66 in New Mexico.

The digital project, a website titled “Sharing Our History: The Hispanic Legacy of Route 66 in New Mexico” is forthcoming and currently under review by the NPS National Trails Intermountain Region. This website highlights the Hispanic narrative of Route 66 in New Mexico, an underrepresented story within the mythicization of the Mother Road. The site also promotes a space for community members to share their stories and learn about the specifically New Mexican Hispanic experience that defined life on and along Route 66.

My participation in this project began in 2017 as an intern with the Latino Heritage Internship Program. Over the course of the summer, I worked with the research team, Angélica Sánchez-Clark, Frank Norris, and Kaisa Barthuli, to synthesize a cohesive narrative and develop a public website. This process incorporated historical analysis and interpretation of primary and secondary records with considerations toward audience engagement, accessibility, multimedia formatting, and copyright. The resulting guiding methodology leveraged museum interpretation and public scholarship best practices within postcolonial historical frameworks. Parts of Route 66—and other travel corridors in New Mexico—pass through historical and contemporary indigenous lands. A portion of the road further followed El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, a passageway widely used for Spanish colonization, trade, and movement throughout the region. The overarching narrative of “Sharing Our Histories” contends with this past, while also illuminating the lived experience of residents through oral histories, written accounts, and images.

On a more tangible level, my presentation will address the design and development decisions that influenced the creation of this site. The site platform, StoryMaps, provided a unique space to combine visual imagery with scrolling, narrative-based text. This interactive experience, while linear, provides multiple approaches for site visitors to engage with the material, from descriptive text to audio sound bites of New Mexico residents discussing their experience growing up and working on Route 66. With this in mind, I hope to address the multifaceted aspects that went into the development of this project from initial research stages to synthesizing a cohesive narrative to design and accessibility choices in the digital platform. Looking forward to the panel, and I hope to see you all there!

2017 WHA Six-Shooters Session

The 2017 Six-Shooters digital history lightning round session, sponsored by the WHA Technology Committee, featured nine presenters sharing their research, teaching, and public projects at the WHA conference in San Diego, CA (photos by Doug Seefeldt, session chair):

  • Adam Arenson, Manhattan College
  • Jared Eberle, Oklahoma State University
  • Jason Heppler, University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Jessica Kim, California State University, Northridge
  • Chris Repka, St. Mary’s University
  • Douglas Seefeldt, Ball State University
  • Jay Taylor, Simon Fraser University
  • Bryan Winston, St. Louis University
  • Linnea Zeiner, San Diego State University

Jason Heppler: The American Indian Digital History Project

Greetings! I am Jason Heppler. I am at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where I am the Digital Engagement Librarian and an Assistant Professor of History. UNO has a major focus on community engagement and service learning, and in my role there I lead initiatives in public history and digital engagement. That mission forms a key part in the soft launch of the American Indian Digital History Project, led by Kent Blansett and myself.

The aim of our project is to develop and cooperative digital archive, seeking to partner with Native Nations and Indigenous communities throughout Native North America. Our plan is to digitize newspapers, photographs, and archival materials in order to increase access to historical Tribal documents and encourage responsible research into American Indian history. As part of these partnerships, we will also work with Tribal governments to create a digital repository for local Tribes. The initial launch of the archive has digitized the entire run of Akwesasne Notes and will soon be digitizing and releasing a Native-produced law journal, plate glass negative photographs, and material acquired through our Mobile Archives initiative.

Linnea Zeiner: HACKING History

Hi everyone! My name is Linnea Zeiner and I am a Lecturer at San Diego State University and a doctoral student in Communication at UCSD. In The Department of Classics and Humanities at SDSU I am exploring inverted approaches to teaching Honors and GE Courses utilizing transmedia, deformance, and mixed realities. I work out of the experimental and collaborative environment of the ITS Learning Research Studios, where students utilize state of the art technology to engage in visual analyzations and critique social constructions.

In my talk, Hacking History with Layered Student Research, I will share how undergraduate students at San Diego State University are being connected across disciplines through digital learning activities. This multi-modal presentation outlines Digital Humanities pedagogical research that began in the Spring of 2015 with lower-division U.S. History classes and has continued through 2017 with upper-division Humanities classes on “The Future” and American Culture. The designed pedagogy is highly influenced by Michael J. Kramer, The Situationists, Johanna Drucker’s visual production of knowledge, media theory, and punk pedagogy.

Doug Seefeldt: “The Last of the Mohicans Realized in London”: Visualizing the Wild West in Britain, 1887-88

In 1887, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody embarked for England on his first international tour. During the original London run of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West–coinciding with the celebration of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee–the Wild West routinely played to more than twenty thousand people in fourteen performances a week. It was the subject of nonstop coverage in the London press and enthralled the country’s political and cultural elites. Over two million visitors witnessed the spectacle, and millions more read about it.

This digital research project uses topic modeling and text analysis tools to analyze popular representations of the American West published in London prior to the arrival of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in 1887. It visualizes how these widely-read texts shaped and reflected conceptions of the American West among the British reading public and compares these visualizations to textual analyses of promotional material generated by Cody’s marketing team as well to commentary on the performances in British periodicals and newspapers.

Preliminary findings suggest that while Cody was depicted as the “Last of the Mohicans” in the Illustrated Penny Press upon his arrival in England–a representation that conflated early and late-nineteenth-century American frontier experiences–he departed having conveyed to his imperial-era British audience a new sense of the American West as the locus of a distinctive crucible of civilization-building in an increasingly globalized age.