History 615:

The Web Review Essay

Web Review Essay

Due: 14 October 1998.

Choose a historical topic that interests you; write a review essay that discusses the presentation of that topic on at least five web sites or cd-roms and talks about at least two of these in depth. You should also use this essay to comment more broadly on what it means to do history in electronic spaces. What are the gains (and losses?) in moving history to a digital format? In what ways (particularly those that go beyond the obvious) does the new media change the way that history is presented or received? What topics or interpretations seem to receive particular emphasis? In the process, you will want to make use of insights you have gained from exploring other sites and from your other course readings. Your on-line essay should contain links to relevant portions of the web sites. To the extent possible, you want to also make use of the Web as a presenational medium for your essay. (Is there, for example, anything you can do in the Web version of your essay that you couldn't do in a conventional paper?)

As a rough guideline, your essay should be around 1,500 words. By 5 October, you need to make a proposal of what you plan on covering in your essay. This should include the historical topic that you want to cover and at least two sites you plan on including. If you would like to get started sooner, please feel free to submit your proposal sooner, and I will try to review it as quickly as possible. I am open to a variety of different historical topics for these essays, but you should avoid topics that are too broad (the entire Civil War perhaps) to be discussed adequately in a 1,500 essay or too narrow (perhaps the impeachment of Andrew Johnson) to find adequate material.

You must also be prepared to briefly present your conclusions to other members of the class on 14 October. We should have enough time for a five minute presentation and five minutes of discussion for each student. I will arrange to have a projector and laptop in class so that you can show your web-based essay and/or some exemplary web sites.