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
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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.

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.

Lineup for 2017 Six-Shooters Session

Here is an alphabetical list of the presenters that we have confirmed for the Technology Committee-sponsored session, “Six-Shooters: A Digital Frontiers Lightning Round”:

  • 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

The session will be chaired by Douglas Seefeldt, Ball State University, and is scheduled for Thursday, November 2nd from 1:30-3:00 PM in the Monte Carlo room of the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa, San Diego, California. Each presenter has six minutes and six slides (“Six-Shooters,” get it?) for their presentation. All presenters will entertain questions from the audience at the conclusion of all of the presentations. We encourage what may seem like “basic” questions as well as “shop talk” from those in attendance.

Please check this website in the days leading up to the conference for posts by each presenter introducing themselves and providing brief descriptions of the work they plan to present.

2016 WHA Six-Shooters Session

The 2016 Six-Shooters digital history lightning round session, sponsored by the WHA Technology Committee, featured seven presenters sharing their research, teaching, and public projects at the WHA conference in St. Paul, MN (photos by Doug Seefeldt, session chair):

  • Sarah Clayton, University of Oklahoma Libraries
  • Julie Davis, University of Minnesota
  • Mikal Eckstrom, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Jeff Malcomson, Montana Historical Society
  • Rob Voss, Northwest Missouri State University
  • Chris Wells, Macalester College
  • Lindsey Passenger Wieck, University of Notre Dame

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.

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.