Opening Day Radio

Life
Opening Day, no matter what the weather, is a signal that winter is truly over, and the joyous days of summer are on their way. For me, baseball is a sport meant to be imbibed in one particular way: radio. Don’t get me wrong—going to a ball game in person is a great experience. Everyone should go see a real MLB game in person at least once in their life. But listening to the Atlanta Braves on the radio is the pinnacle of sports. I love the Braves because of my mom. I don’t know how my mom became a Braves fan. But from the time I was pretty little, she tuned in to our local (Greenville, SC) station on the Braves radio network for almost every game in the…
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The Message of the Historical Medium

Digital Humanities, Naval History
[This post was written for my graduate class, "Doing Digital Humanities," and originally posted on that course's blog.] Literary scholars and creative writers spend quite a bit of time thinking about the medium in which they work. Historians tend to think about such things less, since literary theory often doesn’t work well with historical inquiry. Serious historical scholarship is almost always created in a standard medium: the monograph. Reading Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium Is the Message” for class, I thought that a more careful examination of the historical medium might be in order. Traditional Medium for Traditional History The historical monograph has several salient features. First, it’s a fixed document. Once it’s published, it really can’t be changed. Second, it has clear structural organization (table of contents, preface, introduction, chapters…
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Historical Literacy and Public History, Part 2

Uncategorized
My first experience doing public history was in third grade, when I dressed up as Miles Standish to do a book report of a biography I'd read about him (yes, I was the only girl in my class to read about and dress up as a male). Looking back, I know that what I was wearing was not even close to correct as far as what Standish would have actually worn. But the experience--and even some facts about Standish--have remained with me despite the inaccuracy of my costume. My other vivid memory of history was becoming a junior ranger at Jamestown and Yorktown National Park Service sites. I remember having to card wool, identify tools, and other somewhat mundane (to an adult) things. I'm sure that the rangers there made…
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Historical Literacy and Public History, Part 1

Uncategorized
Historians and political pundits often lament the woeful historical ignorance of the public. They claim that the lack of historical knowledge causes people to make bad political choices or appreciate their country less than they should. But I wonder whether the ignorance of the American public about history (which I'm not disputing) has the profound political ramifications that so many pundits claim. For the final paper for Issues and Problems in Public History, our professor asked us to write a paper that synthesized our readings into an argument about how the mythic past and historical memory propel the practices of public history. Working on this paper made me think about how history really functions, at least in the United States. What follows is the theoretical background for a couple of future…
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DigiWriMo Wrap-Up

Digital Humanities
Today's the last day of November. Advent starts in two days; classes end in four days (for me, anyhow); and today DigiWriMo is ending. So, what was DigiWriMo like for me? Maybe I should start with how I did on my goals. Goal #1: Completed. All officer bios on Preble's Boys are completed. Goal #2: Mostly completed. In the last few days, I did slack off. Bad Abby. But I got a fair number up. Goal #3: Technically completed. I didn't do the intensive reflection I was intending. But that's ok. I wrote some other pretty good blog posts.   I purposely didn't tax myself all that far for this DigiWriMo. This is my first semester in grad school in a long time, and I wasn't sure how much time…
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WriMos

Digital Humanities
I remember the first time I heard the word(?) NaNoWriMo. First I thought: What in the world does that word(?) mean? It sounds a bit like an alien planet. Once I found out what it was, I thought: You people are insane. Write a novel in a month? That's crazy. I still think NaNoWriMo is crazy. But it has spurred several other WriMos that seem a little more useful to my current life: DigiWriMo and AcWriMo. Both of these challenges begin in about a week on November 1. And I'm going to try to do them both. I feel pretty certain that I won't make it to 50,000 words, but you never know. The cool thing about AcWriMo and DigiWriMo is that they work in tandem. I intend to do…
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Omeka Development Plan

Uncategorized
In their book Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web, Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig advocate that digital historians should have a well-defined plan for their websites before they start. So I thought I'd share my ideas about Preble's Boys here, and perhaps get some feedback from others about the plan.   First off, the inspiration. I was inspired to do this project by thinking about how naval officers of the nineteenth century acted, specifically to what extent they acted in concert with their official orders or whether they tended to be influenced by each other. One pressing question was this: How much did they really interact with each other?  I don't have the primary sources to do this sort of investigation at this point (tracking down…
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