guy with light bulb on head   History 696: The Syllabus

version 1.45



Roy Rosenzweig
History 696-001
Monday: 0720PM 1000PM
Innovation 326

Web page:

WARNING! Print version of Syllabus is subject to change; you should regularly check back online.

Weeks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

WEEK 1: 25 August: Digitizing the Past: Possibilities & Problems: Introduction, Requirements, and Themes

September 1: Labor Day, No Class

For 3 September, email the results of your Web History Scavenger Hunt

Search tips

WEEK 2: 8 September: WWW 101: Getting Yourself on the Web

Introduction to Dreamweaver and FTP by Allison Meyer, IRC & History doctoral program (We will meet in the IRC Instructional lab, which is Innovation 334.)

Preparation: Ideally, you should purchase or get access to Dreamweaver MX. You can purchase Dreamweaver for $99 (educational price) from Patriot Computers 993-4100) in the Johnson Center If you don't own Dreamweaver yet, download a free 30-day trial version from:

(You don't need to do this ahead of time, but if you want some background on Dreamweaver, there is a downloadable tutorial available at

If you don't have an Internet file transfer program (e.g. WS_FTP or Fetch), download one (e.g., from Make sure you bring the password for your Mason (osf1) account, which is not necessarily the same password as for your Netscape Mail account, if you have that. (This is only relevant if you are going to post your Web site on Some students already have Web hosting space that they will use.)

Dreamweaver is also available on all the machines in web*STAR ,<>, 311 Johnson Center (993-3766) Hours: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm Mon-Thurs; 10:00 am to 6 pm Fri, Noon to 6 Sun. According to their site: "The web*STAR lab provides peer mentors, to provide guidance and problem solving, and the latest in hardware--and when possible, software--to facilitate Web development activities." This is an important resources for students who are just starting out on creating web pages.

Read:  Robin Williams and John Tollett, The Non-Designer's Web Book, 2nd edition, chapters 1-4 (unless you already know all this; you can do the quizzes at the end of the chapters to find out).

Read (if you don't already know the material covered):

Intro to HTML:<>

HTML Teaching Tool: Read at least the following topics: View Source, Paragraphs, Headlines, Links, Mailtos, Bold/Italics, Font Color, Font size, Background Image, Background color, Blockquotes, Line breaks, Aligning text, Adding, Aligning Images <>

Reference: HTML Cheatsheet (Just review quickly; you don’t need to learn this): <>

Derek M. Powazek, The Basic, Basic Table  <>

Mulder's Stylesheets Tutorial (at least lesson one; more if you have time) <

Note September 9 is last day to drop with no tuition liability

Optional: September 10 at Library of Congress: September 11 as History: Collecting Today for Tomorrow:

Symposium that includes discussion of Internet as mode of collecting the past. For program and registration:

WEEK 3: 15 September: Web Site Design and Infrastructure

Guest: Dan Cohen

Reading:Williams and Tollett, chapters 5-15.

Dan Cohen, "Planning a History Website" <>and "Designing the Past" <>(draft chapters for Making Online History. These are best read online because of the hyperlinks.)

Paula Petrik, "Top Ten Mistakes in Academic Web Design," History Computer Review, May 2000,

Michael O'Malley, "Building Effective Course Sites: Some Thoughts on Design for Academic Work,"Inventio, Spring 2000,

Jacob Nielsen, Alertboxes:"Are Users Stupid?" at; "End of Web Design" at; "Why Web Users Scan Instead of Read" at

Larry Gales, "Web Page Design Inspired by Edward Tufte"

List of technical terms

Good and Bad Web design

Post on your website: Links to two history websites, one that you regard as well designed or structured and one your regard as poorly designed or structured. Write at least one paragraph on why you have chosen them.

By Sunday afternoon September 14, please email me the address of your web site.

Student web sites from prior classes:

Allison Meyer

Sheila Brennan

Stephanie Hurter

Mark Jones


Read: Roy Rosenzweig, "Varieties of Digital History" (draft posted here).

Edward L. Ayers, "The Pasts and Futures of Digital History," (1999)

Vernon Takeshita, "Tangled Webs: The Limits of Historical Analysis on the Internet" <>

Phil Agre, "Designing Genres for New Media: Social, Economic, and Political Contexts,"<>

Visit and Evaluate: Don't just quickly browse; spend a significant amount of time (enough time to look at everything or, if you can't look at everything--certainly the case at Valley of the Shadow--then spend at least two hours):

The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War < />

George Catlin and His Indian Gallery (virtual exhibit and Catlin Classroom)

Brainerd, Kansas: Time, Place, and Memory on the Web

Do History <>  

Write and Post on your web page: An evaluation (500-1000 words) of one these four sites, using the Journal of American History evaluation guidelines <> and, where relevant, drawing on some of the week's reading. Note especially the questions in the key areas of content, form, audience/use, and new media.

Write and Post: Proposal for Web Review essay.

WEEK 5: 29 September: The Future of Historical Narrative?

Read: Janet Murray, The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace

George Landow, Hypertext: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology. Amplified, updated version of Chapter One (1996). (just read "Hypertextual Derrida,Poststructuralist Nelson?"; "The Definition of Hypertext and Its History as a Concept:" and "Predictions."

William Cronon, "A Place for Stories: Nature, History, and Narratives," Journal of American History, 78:4 (March, 1992), 1347-1376 (available at JStor through GMU library.)

Keith Jenkins, "Introduction: on being open about our closures," in Jenkins, ed., The Postmodern History Reader (1997), xerox.

David Staley, Computers, Visualization, and History, introduction and chapter 4, xerox.

Lev Manovich, "What is New Media," and "The Forms," pp. 18-61, 213-43 in The Language of New Media, xerox.

Write and Post
: Journal Entry on questions provided.

Note: September 26 is last day to drop classes

Optional: DC Area Technology and Humanities Forum: October 2: Web Design and the Humanities: 4:30-6:30 PM, Johnson Center, Assembly Room A


Write, Post, Present: Web Review Essay: Note that your presentation should be five minutes long with five minutes for discussion

WEEK 7: 14 October: Photoshop for Historians

(We will meet in the IRC Instructional lab, which is Innovation 334.)

Guest: Paula Petrik

Get: Photoshop Elements, available from Computer Store at Educational Price of ca. $75 or Photoshop 7.0.

Try this exercise on Editing Engravings that Paula Petrik has developed.

Take a look at the image editing results from last year's Clio 2. They are accessible from:
(Those by Bateman and Lawing are not working at the moment.)

[Note:Class meets on Tuesday because of Columbus Day.]



Read: "Forum on Hypertext Scholarship: AQ as Web-Zine: Responses to AQ's Experimental Online Issue," American Quarterly (June 1999), commentaries by Roy Rosenzweig, James Castonguay, Thomas Thurston, M. David Westbrook, Louise Krasniewicz and Michael Blitz, Susan Smulyan, Christopher P Wilson, and Randall Bass, all available online through Project Muse. (You can access Muse at

Jerome McGann (with Lisa Samuels), "Deformance and Interpretation" in Radiant Textuality: Literature Ater the World Wide Web <>

Closely read at least two examples of digital scholarship from this list of five(I will ask you for your choices a week in advance so that we can have a spread of people choosing different examples):

Will Thomas and Edward Ayers, "The Difference Slavery Made: A Close Analysis of Two American Communities,"

"Dreaming Arnold Schwarzenegger" by Louise Krasniewicz and Michael Blitz

"Hearsay of the Sun: Photography, Identity, and the Law of Evidence in Nineteenth-CenturyAmerican Courts" by Thomas Thurston

"From Hogan's Alley to Coconino County: Three Narratives of the Early Comic Strip" by David Westbrook

(all three of these are available at

Lynn Hunt, Jack Censer, "Images of the French Revolution" (Note that this is still a draft. You can try out the Image Tool at.)

Two other examples of interest:

Charles Hardy III & Allesandro Portelli, "I Can Almost See the Lights of Home ~ A Field Trip to Harlan County, Kentucky,"Journal of Multimedia History 2(1999) <>

Philip J. Ethington, “Los Angeles and the Problem of Urban Historical Knowledge” American Historical Review (December 2000) <>

Write and Post: a journal entry on whether the two examples of digital scholarship you examined fulfilled the "promise of digital scholarship." Do they do anything genuinely new with new media? Do they do it well?

Write and Post: Proposal for Digital Project Proposal by Thursday October 23. (See Guidelines.)

Week 9: 27 October: Individual Meetings to Discuss Projects

No regular class; individual meetings will be scheduled.

WEEK 10: 3 November: The New Media Classroom

Guest: T. Mills Kelly

Read: Lendol Calder, William Cutler, and T. Mills Kelly, "History Lessons: Historians and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning," Disciplinary Styles in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Mary Huber and Sherry Moreale eds., American Association for Higher Education,2001, p. 45-67, copy provided.

T. Mills Kelly, "For Better or Worse? The Marriage of Web and the History Classroom," Journal of the American Association for History and Computing, III/2, August 2000 <>.

Randy Bass and Roy Rosenzweig, "Rewiring the History and Social Studies
Classroom: Needs, Frameworks,Dangers, and Proposals," Journal of Education (2000)<>

And look at the following two web sites:Who Killed William Robinson? <> (Think about the
different ways that the evidence in this site can be organized to arrive at different conclusions and how that feature of the site might be useful for teaching historical thinking. Also, answer the following question: Who killed William Robinson?)

World History Matters <
Read the guide:
Listen to Larry:
Do an advanced search in the Finding reviews:

Look at a couple of the exercises in WHM:

Note: 1) To see a sample of how they will be integrated into World History Matters
there is one currently public in the Unpacking Evidence - Maps Guide:
2) For the mapsq2.php (the Bohemian map with rollovers) the idea is that
when you rollover and click on something the box with the question will pop
up and, in addition, a picture of what you clicked on originally will also
be there (so that you can look at a close up image of that portion of the
3) For mapsq3.php, one of the answers for a map is wrong.

WEEK 11: 10 November: Popular and Public History Online

Visit and closely examine the following sites:

Devices of Wonder: From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen

HistoryWired: A Few of Our Favorite Things

The History Channel <> [This is obviously too extensive toexamine in full, but spend enough time to get a full sense of the site.]

National Geographic: Remembering Pearl Harbor

Without Sanctuary: Photographs and Postcards of Lynching in America<>


Barbara Marie Stafford, Good Looking: Essays on the Virtue of Images, chapters 4, 5 & 6, xerox.

Steve Dietz, “Telling Stories: Procedural Authorship and Extracting Meaning from Museum Databases”

John Vergo, “"Less Clicking, More Watching": Results from the User-Centered Design of aMulti-Institutional Web Site for Art and Culture” ( delivered at the MW 2001, ), <>

Write and Post: Journal Entry on one of the following questions:

1,Which of these sites most effectively conveys the past to a "general" audience? (And why?)

2. Which of these sites makes the most effective use of new media? (And how?)

3. Which of these sites has a design and interface that most effectively communicates its message and serves its audience?

4. Which of these sites has an interpretation of the past that either: a. best reflects current scholarship or b. challenges its audiences?   


Week 12: 17 November:The Future of Historical Communities

Read:Barry Wellman and Milena Guila, "Virtual Communities as Communities: Net Surfers Don't Ride Alone," in Marc Smith and Peter Kollock, eds., Communities in Cyberspace (1999), xerox.

Pew Internet Project, "Online Communities: Networks that nurture long-distance relationships and local tie," (October 2001), at

Observe and post comment on an online historical community (Guidelines).

Week 13: 24 November: Open Access and the Future of the the Public Domain

Note: Instead of regular class meeting, we will attend 4:30 PM talk by John Willinksy, "Increasing Access to Knowledge: The Contribution of Open Access Publishing," Johnson Center Assembly Room A

Explore publications and systems available at the Public Knowledge Projects:

Optional Reading:

Clifford Lynch, "The Battle to Define the Future of the Book in the Digital World"
First Monday, Volume 6, Number 6(2001). Download this from and read it onscreen in TK3 reader, which you also need to download from the same location. (If you really, really can't do it this way, there is another version at

Lawrence Lessig,The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World <
sr=12-1/103-9617799-5080655>, you can skip chapters 5 & 12

Eben Moglen, “Anarchism Triumphant: Free Software and the Death of Copyright,” First Monday 4.8 (August 1999),

Eli Noam, "Will Books Become the Dumb Medium?" Educom Review, Volume 33, Number 2 (March/April 1998) <>

Jason Epstein, "Reading: The Digital Future," New York Review of Books, July 5, 2001 <>

Roy Rosenzweig, "The Road to Xanadu: Public and Private Pathways on the History Web" Journal of American History, September 2001. <>

John Unsworth, "The Scholar in the Digital Library,"

Robert Darnton, "The New Age of the Book," New York Review of Books, (18 March 2000), pp. 5-7. <>

Umberto Eco, "Authors and Authority," <> (If you have time, read the "archived debate.")

Roy Rosenzweig, "Scarcity or Abundance? Preserving the Past in a Digital Era," American Historical Review, June 2003,

John Thiem, "Myths of the Universal Library" in Marie-Laurie Ryan, Cyberspace Textuality

N. Katherine Hayles, "Artificial Life and Literary Culture" in Cyberspace Textuality

Richard Grusin and Jay Bolter, Remediation, excerpts.

Epsen Aarseth, Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature, chapter one.

Jay David Bolter, Writing Space, excerpts.

Alan Liu, "Local Transcendence: Cultural Criticism, Postmodernism, and the Romanticism of Detail." Representation 32 (Fall 1990): 75-113

Week 14: 1 December: Proposing the Future of the Past

Student Projects Proposals presented by

Julie Kowalsky

Jenny Lansbury

Week 15: 8 December: Proposing the Future of the Past

Student Projects Proposals presented

: Project Proposals


The above schedule is only tentative. In an experimental course like this one, we need to be open to changes in schedule, format, and requirements. I may, for example, alter the specific assignments or their order based on the needs and interests of the class. I welcome your input in shaping the course so that it most effectively meets your needs. Because some changes may be made at the last minute, it is important that you check with a member of the class if you should be forced to miss a particular class for some unavoidable reason. In addition, you might want to check with me if you decide to read ahead in the syllabus.

Requirements and Grades:

There are four main requirements for this course:

  1. Active participation in class discussions, both on-line and in class.
  2. A "Web Journal" in which you will record your reactions to readings and carry out other assignments. (You will lose credit for unexcused, late entries.)
  3. A Web review essay in which you will assess the coverage of a particular historical topic in digital forms.
  4. A Digital History Project Proposal: You will make a proposal for a digital history project and also develop a home page for it.

These major requirements will make up your final grade with the different items roughly weighed as follows: participation (15%); web journal (20%); review essay (30%); project proposal (35%).

Group Work
: Digital work is much more likely to be collaborative than traditional historical scholarship, and it might be logical for us to do all of our work in this class collaboratively. But it is often problematic to insist that students work in groups in a class setting. So, I am making this an option. You can do the Web review essay and the digital history proposal in a group of two or three people. But there are two conditions. First, your project needs to be of two or three times the scale of individual projects. Second, your grade will either be a joint one (everyone in the group gets the same grade) or the group will decide how they want to allocate credit. (For example, two people could decide that one did 55 percent of the work and the other did 45 percent; if the group got a B+, then one person would get "roughly" an A- and the other would get a B.)

There will be an online component to class participation as well. The point of that is to extend class discussion beyond the limited two hour and forty minute slot that we meet once a week. Equally important, it is meant to foster discussion on your projects among members of the class. One of the key points of a seminar /workshop like this is for it to be a group experience. Unlike a conventional class where almost all the advice and assistance comes from the instructor, in a seminar everyone will take a hand in shaping our discussions and helping fellow class members. Much of this will happen in class, but we will also try to do some of this on-line. Everyone is strongly encouraged to post reflections on the class discussions, readings, and projects to our class email list as well as to actively maintain their web journal. You might, for example, comment on a reading that particularly intrigued or annoyed you. Or, you might comment on problems that you have been confronting in carrying out your projects or getting your web site to work. Or, you might have come across a terrific history Web site that you think other members of the class should examine. As a general guideline, you should initiate online discussion at least twice and respond to topics raised by others at least twice. But I hope you will take a more active role than that.

We will communicate with each other via our class listserv: Remember that when you write to that address, it goes to everyone in the class. So you only want to post things that you want everyone to see.

How to subscribe and use class mailing list:

1. Write an e-mail message TO:

2. Type the following line as the message text:

subscribe Hist696-001-L Your Name

3. Send the mail message.

4. To send an e-mail message to all subscribers of the list, send the message TO:

Reading:Because this topic is so new, there are relatively few books that directly address it. As a result, there are only two books for purchase for this course:

Janet Horowitz Murray Hamlet on the Holodeck : The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace, MIT Press, paperback; ISBN: 0262631873

Robin Williams and John Tollett, The Non-Designer's Web Book, 2nd edition, Peachpit Press, paperback

Much of the additional reading will be available on-line and linked from the on-line syllabus, but a few items will be provided in Xerox. Given the state of the State of Virginia budget, I will have to assess a modest additional charge for the copies.

Software: It is recommended that you purchase the educational versions of both Dreamweaver and Photoshop Elements. Both are available at an educational discount at the GMU computer store. These will be used in both History 696 and 697. Students who are particularly interested in new media (e.g., are pursuing a minor in new media in the doctoral program) will probably want to purchase the full version of Photoshop.

Office Hours: My official office hours will be Monday from 2-4 PM. But I am also available at other times, by appointment. In general, making an appointment is the safest procedure, since someone may have already made an appointment for the time you have free or I might have an unexpected meeting. But, by all means, feel free to drop by whenever you like. I can be reached at 703-993-1247 or 993-4532(office) or 703-522-2334 (home). [At some point soon, the two office numbers will be consolidated into 993-1247.] My official office is in Robinson B, Room 375 but I most often work out of an office in Pohick Module, the home of the Center for History and New Media. The fastest way to reach me is often through electronic mail, which I usually check quite regularly. My e-mail address is

Additional Workshops: We have set up in-class workshops for Dreamweaver, FTP, and Photoshop. The Student Technology and Assistance Center is willing to offer additional workshops, and we should discuss whether there are topics that enough class members would like covered. In addition, they offer a regular series of workshops; the list is posted at (although none listed for September yet). Many of the topics (beginning Dreamweaver and Photoshop) are ones that we will cover in class, but you could re-take the workshop as a refresher or you might want to explore additional tools like Flash, PowerPoint, and Premiere.

The University also offers a variety of free online courses in software and technology applications (including Dreamweaver):


Version history:

version 1.0 posted August 24, 2003.

version 1.01 posted August 28, 2003: indicated room and slightly changed reading for 9/8.

version 1.02 posted September 7, 2003: added rooms for design forum and photoshop class, fixed URL for O'Malley reading, added mention of talk by John Willinsky

version 1.05 posted September 8, 2003: added link for chapters by Dan Cohen

version 1.1 posted September 13, 2003: changed link on VOS; moved image

version 1.13 posted September 19, 2003: added design/tech links; fixed VOS link

version 1.15 posted September 21, 2003: added link to journal entry #3

version 1.16 posted September 28, 2003, changed link for Landow

version 1.2 posted October 7, 2003, changed assignment for week #7

version 1.3 posted October 12, 2003: revised reading for week #8, revised (slightly) guidelines sof final project.

version 1.33 posted October 19, 2003: added some links in week #8 and some information on week #12.

version 1.4: posted November 1, 2003: added links for week #10; changed assignment for week #13

version 1.45: posted Novermber 2, 2003: changed assignment for week #11 to delete Bearing Witness and add Pearl Harbor; added link on week #13 for PKP