The George Garth Graham Undergraduate Digital History Research Fellowship

At Carleton University, we have a number of essay awards for undergraduate history students. We do not have any awards geared towards writing history in new media, or doing historical research using digital tools, or any of the various permutations that would broadly fall within big-tent digital humanities. So I decided to create an award, using the University’s micro-giving (crowdfunding) platform, Futurefunder. I’m establishing this fellowship in tribute to my grandfather and the values he represented. George Garth Graham did not have any formal education after Grade 8. He educated himself through constant reading. One of my fondest memories is … Continue reading The George Garth Graham Undergraduate Digital History Research Fellowship

Why I Play Games

(originally posted at #HIST3812, my course blog for this term’s History3812: Gaming and Simulations for Historians, at Carleton University). I play because I enjoy video games, obviously, but I also get something else out of it.  Games are a ‘lively art’; they are an expressive art, and the artistry lies in encoding rules (descriptions) about how the world works at some microlevel: and then watching how this artistry is further expressed in the unintended consequences of those rules, their intersections, their cancellations, causing new phenomena to emerge. This strikes me as the most profound use of humanities computation out there. … Continue reading Why I Play Games

A history game brainstorming exercise

Tomorrow in my HIST3812 I want to get students thinking about the kinds of history that might be appropriate to embody in a game or simulation, and the experience of such games. Inspired by something we did at THATCamp Great Lakes, I’ve taken a deck of cards and divided it into ‘historiography (hearts)’, ‘genre (spades)’, and ‘aesthetic (clubs)’. Here’s the prompt for the exercise: “I will give you cards from three different decks: historiography (Hearts) genre (Spades) aesthetic (Clubs) Look at your cards. In your groups, brainstorm a quick idea for a game using those cards. If, after five minutes, you’ve … Continue reading A history game brainstorming exercise

The Classroom Unconference

I teach HIST2809A, The Historian’s Craft. Each week we have 2 hours of lecture and 1 hour of tutorial with a TA. This term, I have 102 students in the class. Over 12 weeks, I try to instill a measure of reflexivity in my students, in their approach to primary documents. In my assignments, I have them transcribe primary documents, analyze visual evidence (photos, paintings, etc) and even some material culture. As a final assignment, I do a variation of the Forgery Game and we try to approach the same problems from 180 degrees the other direction. At the midway … Continue reading The Classroom Unconference

Networks from artefacts …and a way to reanimate the same

[below is the draft text of a talk I will be delivering on March 16th, 2012, at Dumbarton Oaks. Usual caveats apply. If you spot anything odd, please let me know.] Networks from Artefacts  Trevor Hodge, a distinguished professor of classical archaeology and a former professor at Carleton University, passed away recently.[slide 2] I was supposed to attend a lecture of his in early February, but due to the regular rhythms of life at a university, meetings and duties conspired against me and I never heard him speak; and now I’ll never have the chance. I deeply regret this, because … Continue reading Networks from artefacts …and a way to reanimate the same