Thinking about Time and Place

One of the things I love about doing historical research is learning about the time in which an event or series of events took place. In my opinion, you cannot consider people or the experiences (or their works) in a vacuum. To me, you can’t study Shakespeare without considering what was going on in England and the world during the reign of Elizabeth I.

The same holds true for how I think we should examine James Merrill Linn’s experience in the Civil War. While he might not always talk about what is going on in the wider world, we know that he was reading newspapers, and that waiting for news from the world beyond the battlefield was what kept him and his fellow soldiers going in what can only be imagined as horrific conditions.

We’re going to spend the next week thinking about the idea of time, and how the events in Linn’s life and in the Civil War more generally played out in the context of the decade of the 1860’s in terms of society, politics, science, technology, literature, and the arts on a global scale.

To do that we’re going to collaborate on the creation of a timeline using a multimedia timeline web-based platform called TimeMapper.

I’ve started a TimeMapper instance for our class, called “1860s Events”. It looks like this:TimeMapper

Your task will be to add event “slides” to this timeline. You will use Wikipedia’s list of events for the decade of the 1860s, add text and images that describe and evoke your event, and geospatial coordinates that will identify that event with a place.[1. A helpful way to find the longitude and latitude for a city, state, province, or country is to call up that place on Wikipedia; in the right sidebar you should see a link for “Coordinates.” Click on those numbers and you will be taken to a “GeoHack” page that provides the correct longitude and latitude.] The one caveat is that you need to find events that are not about the Civil War (or at least explicitly about the Civil War.) See what else was going on in the world in the 1860s!

In order for you to begin adding information to our TimeMapper, you will input data and metadata into a special Google Form that I have set up for this purpose: HUMN 100 TimeMapper Google Form.

Added by editor: please add your event and name to the table on this Google doc: 

Email me with any questions that arise. We’ll work on the TimeMapper again on Monday.

Week Four Assignments, Readings, Exercises

Monday 9/22

  • Reading: Complete reading transcribed Linn diary
  • Discussion: keywords from distant reading as metadata
  • Lab: More complex analytical/visualization tools (cross-corpus analysis)

Tuesday 9/23

Wednesday 9/24

  • Discussion: Distant reading & blog assignment wrap-up

Blog post #2 due (11pm)

Friday 9/26

  • Reading: Watch “Secrets of the Dead: The Lost Diary of Dr. Livingstone” (available to stream on our course Moodle site)
  • Timemapper exercise introduced
  • Research topics chosen