Well, this has been a pretty unusual semester! Instead of spending hours downtown at the library or toting a bag of large bricks (aka books) around campus, it’s been me n’ my computer anywhere with wifi all term (my back would like to express its gratitude, my brain, its confusion).
This semester has also been very different in terms of content, and I’d like to reflect on that briefly. As mentioned in my Gaming post, I found great value in pulling away from the monograph form by looking at some digital alternatives for both presentation and information handling and the intersections between these. Regardless of what we think about the other forms we explored, I think that moving “history” away from the conventions and terms of its (written) textual production/between and amongst other modes allowed us to think more carefully about “history”… not ‘what it is’ essentially, but dialogicaly perhaps?
I have also already mentioned to a couple of you, my paper (mock grant proposal) for this course is probably one of my favorites that I have written. It wasn’t especially polished in the end, but that wasn’t the point. I enjoyed how much it changed as I gained new information. Yes, seminar papers and such do too, but this was more marked, more tangible, being governed by objective rules (where is the data? how does the computer handle this? what’s missing?) than by a more subjective interpretation of information. The projects were so very process rather than product driven, and my “end product” was a tool that was likewise process driven.
These are generally the things I enjoyed most about the course. Additionally, I’m sure we were all exposed to something new in terms of what’s going on out there, new tools to try. I really enjoyed our week on the spatial: there are lots of new tools out there now, for free, for people who like to mess around with GIS and other mapping tools that weren’t there when I had undergraduate courses. It was also great just to get a thorough survey of what’s out there now for humanities folks!
And finally, it was neat to have a mix of so many different kinds of students even though we’re essentially in the same department. It was great to meet new people and to see the projects my own group worked on. I’m looking forward to tomorrows rapid-fire survey of what everyone else came up with!