Jared Eberle: Women and African Americans in Oklahoma Rodeos

Howdy! My name is Jared Eberle and I am a Ph.D Candidate at Oklahoma State University, specializing in 20th Century American Indian activism. My talk at the six shooters presentation will cover an ongoing project at Oklahoma State University directed by Dr. Laura Arata to document the participation of women and African Americans in local rodeos, largely after the 1920s. Rodeo is traditionally seen as a white, masculine sport, but this project seeks to incorporate the rich tradition of women participating in rodeos in all capacities as well as the successful all-black rodeos in Oklahoma.

This project grew out of both OSU’s push for an increased presence in digital humanities, as well as our specialization in both public history and the American West. The pressing issue for the project, and the subject of my talk, is that the department does not have a dedicated “digital” historian so those involved have had to start from the bottom, both in terms of broadly understanding the field as well as the technical aspects. So far, we have a basic site for the women in rodeo project and this semester’s digital history class is hard at work constructing the companion African American rodeo website, both of which will be long term projects that will we can use to flesh out our digital history initiatives going forward. Translating these ideas to the digital realm has involved a balancing act of producing a good product while not having the time to direct towards mastering the behind-the-scenes technical aspects that can go into a project of this nature.

Adam Arenson: Easy and Hard Methods for Tracking African North Americans in Historical Records

I’m a historian of North America and director of the Urban Studies program at Manhattan College, having previously taught at UTEP. My first two books are on Civil War St. Louis and Mid-Century Modern Los Angeles, as well as co-editing books on frontier cities and the Civil War West. I teach American West, urban history, regions and borderlands history, African American history, and places those fields intersect, especially in the nineteenth century.

I am excited to be attending the WHA in my hometown!

In my Six Shooter presentation, I will describe my ongoing research on African North Americans who crossed the U.S.-Canada border after the Civil War. While I have not found many narrative sources, I have found many data points of African North American migration. This presentation will describe ongoing efforts to visualize and analyze this data using government documents, geo-location scripts, and Tableau visualizations and the role of a New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Labs grant, my colleague Dr. Musa Jafar, and our undergraduate students in this research.

Jay Taylor: Follow the Money

Hi all. I’ll be presenting on Follow the Money: A Spatial History of In-Lieu Programs for Western Federal Lands. This is a digital project constructed as part of the Spatial History Project at Stanford University’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis. I’ve worked with co-author Erik Steiner and a team of programmers, historians, and geographers to assemble time-series maps of transfer payments from federal land management agencies to counties in the eleven far western states known as the “public lands states.” The data in this program illustrates how federal conservation laws created long fiscal relationships between land management agencies and state and county governments in the American West, and they graphically demonstrate the deep, often invisible, political economy that inheres in the federal domain. The maps also help illustrate the patchy, non-linear history of natural resource industries in the American West since 1906. Finally, the maps expose problems with the simplistic ways that advocates and scholars have represented the federal domain and Progressive conservation since the 1890s.

Rob Voss: Developing Student DH

Hi everyone, I am Rob Voss, Assistant Professor of History and Social Science Education Coordinator at Northwest Missouri State University. In my role as professor at a moderately selective Midwestern state university, I have a full teaching load of 4/4, plus an overload class, 47 advisees, and supervision responsibilities of student teachers in the field. That said, I am fully committed to developing Digital History as part of what we do as historians, yet my ability to commit to large scale projects is limited. Despite the limitations, there are smaller scale DH projects that are accessible to most undergraduates. In my time as a graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I was part of the first digital history class offered and worked on the Railroads Project and Civil War Washington in various capacities.

As part of my Six Shooters presentation, I will talk about how I have used my role as professor over the last three years to develop student DH projects with a focus on bringing scalable projects to high school classrooms. Student exposure to DH at a high school level will allow for further development at the undergraduate level. I have had my first set of student teachers enter the job market with DH on their resumes and will present on some of their experiences with high school students.

Mikal Eckstrom: Textual Analysis of American Indian and American Jewish data sets

My name is Mikal Eckstrom, a Ph.D. candidate at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This fall, I am teaching an undergraduate course, History of the US Present. This course historicizes modern problems, but one that also allows students to use digital recorders and online discussion boards to produce original research. My personal research, “Marginalized Tribes: Shared Experiences of Jews and Native Americans in the Trans-Missouri West, 1850-1935,” explores Jewish encounters with American Indians in the context of white settlement in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota. The project relies on settler colonial, whiteness, and computational analysis as its primary methodologies.

For this lightning round, I will share some of my initial findings from my American Indian and American Jewish data sets. I am using textual analysis (statistical package R+ and MALLET [Machine Learning for LanguagE ToolkiT]) and topic modeling to discern gendered pressures unique to the Jewish and American Indian experiences during the peak period of American Indian and non-native allotment in the west. Initial findings show how both groups remembered the same time differently. Finally, I will discuss the responsibilities of working with indigenous histories in the digital humanities and why close reading is still crucial to our craft.

Jeff Malcomson: ExploreBig: The Struggle to Develop a Mobile App for Montana History

I am pleased to have the opportunity to present in the 2016 Six-Shooters session. I am a public historian with nearly 20 years of experience as an archivist in the West. Since 2005 I’ve worked at the Montana Historical Society (MHS) Research Center where I currently serve as the Senior Photograph Archivist. I created the Society’s first blog several years ago (Montana History Revealed, which is still going strong) and have served on the very active MHS Social Media Committee. Throughout my career I’ve actively sought ways to explore and test new tools in the digital humanities. In recent years I’ve become a fairly active editor of Wikipedia articles in Montana and Western history topics, organizing edit-a-thons and trying to improve this popular platform’s presentation of history.

For my Six-Shooters presentation I’ll talk about our experience at MHS over the past two years trying to develop a mobile app for Montana history. The end result, ExploreBig, is finally coming into its own as a tool for sharing the stories of Montana’s most historic places and buildings. We ended up using the Omeka-based Curatescape to build our website and mobile app, but the path to this product was fairly unique. I hope this harrowing story of high elective office, high-tech education, lowly bureaucratic squabbling, and low budget difficulties may serve to help others avoid similar problems in the future.

Lindsey Passenger Wieck: El Tecolote, A Bilingual Neighborhood Newspaper and Community Building

Hello! I’m Lindsey Passenger Wieck, and this year I’m a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Notre Dame (where I finished my Ph.D. earlier this year). This fall, I’m teaching an undergraduate course on the History of San Francisco that emphasizes digital writing and using DH tools. In 2017, I’m excited to work on some projects with our library’s Center for Digital Scholarship to help spread access to the digital humanities at our university. My manuscript, The Mission Impossible: The Cultural Politics of Community and Gentrification in Postwar San Francisco, explores Latino community formation in the Mission District of San Francisco and examines how this creates a space for gentrification. More broadly, I’m interested in the urban and spatial history, especially in the U.S. West.

At the Six-Shooters session, I’ll be talking a bit more about one of the digital components of my manuscript project. Using issues of El Tecolote, a bilingual community newspaper from the San Francisco  Mission District, I show how this newspaper served as tool for community building – for mobilizing residents in the neighborhood, for connecting them to resources and events, for promoting activism, and for warning the Mission’s inhabitants of unsafe spaces. During this panel, I’ll discuss how I conceptualized this mapping project and what I view as the next steps for it to delve deeper into this rich source base.

Sarah Clayton: Making Modern America: Discovering the Great Depression and New Deal

Hello! I’m a Digital Scholarship Specialist at the University of Oklahoma Libraries, where I support faculty and students interested in working on any component of digital scholarship from finding resources, to using and selecting tools for analysis, and finally to sharing their work. I’m very excited to be participating in the Six Shooters Session.

During the session, I’ll be presenting on the Making of Modern America: Discovering the Great Depression and New Deal. This project was the vision of Dr. David Wrobel and Dr. Keith Gaddie and realized through a close collaboration with OU Libraries. The goal was for students to not only learn about the 1930s but also become creators of new knowledge through undertaking original research projects centered around their local communities and sharing their findings in online exhibits complete with archival and modern photographs, documents, videos, interactive maps, and text. To accomplish this, I, along with other librarians, facilitated weekly workshops instructing the students on how to perform archival and field research, conduct oral histories, create interactive maps, and use Omeka to create online exhibits. Currently, we have eleven exhibits available online: five focused on New Deal funded construction projects in central Oklahoma and six recreating driving tours from Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner State originally published in 1941. While the students’ final projects were impressive, I was especially struck by how the digital projects enriched their educational experiences and engagement with the course material and our wonderful special collections. We are hoping to repeat a version of this course and expand the website in the future.

A View into the 2015 Six-Shooters Digital History Session

The lineup for the 2015 Six-Shooters digital history lightning round session, sponsored by the WHA Technology Committee, featured six presenters sharing their research, teaching, and public projects (photos by Doug Seefeldt, session chair):

Virtual Buffalo Bill’s Wild West

My colleague James Connolly and I, working with staff from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, and artists and designers from Ball State’s Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts (IDIA), have crafted a computer-generated world that authentically simulates the Wild West show dramatizing frontier life. Virtual Buffalo Bill’s Wild West is a multiplayer virtual world that simulates Buffalo Bill Wild West Show circa 1899. The project serves as a prototype for developing and testing various designs and configurations that integrate a 3D environment and a web-based digital archive. This digital history project is built in Unity 3D using custom software created by IDIA Lab. The archive employs the Collective Access content management system, using VRA Core standards.

This collection contains source materials for the three-dimensional recreation of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World, a traveling exhibition that toured North America and Europe between 1883 and 1908. This enormously popular show presented to its audiences a recreation of life in the Old West, complete with spectacular displays of riding and shooting, as well as performances by “rough riders” from around the world. In addition to materials used as the basis for the design of the virtual world, this archive contains primary sources that provide historical context for understanding the Wild West show, its role in creating popular images of the Old West, the social history of the era.