More resources for digital history

The American Historical Association has a page on its website with a summary of its 2015 Digital History Workshop (there will be another at the 2016 annual meeting) and a slew of resources for those interested in exploring this world: http://www.historians.org/teaching-and-learning/digital-history-resources/getting-started-in-digital-history

Mapping histories of medicine

A great post by my friend, the Dutch historian of science Marieke Hendriksen, on employing digital humanities techniques.

Marieke Hendriksen

Over the past few months, I have started exploring the many possibilities offered by Digital Humanities technologies. Digital humanities ‘can be described as a set of conceptual and practical approaches to digital engagement with cultural materials’, as this excellent online resource from UCLA puts it. Another excellent resource for historians to learn more about digital tools and techniques is Adam Crymble’s ‘The Programming Historian.’ One of the things I find most fascinating is the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to represent historical data. While keeping in mind that maps are always distorted in some way, entering historical data about events, people, and dates into a GIS application can visualize connections and networks that are otherwise difficult to grasp.

Network visualization of 17th C correspondents discussing anatomy via E-Pistolarium project. Network visualization of 17th C correspondents discussing anatomy via E-Pistolarium project.

For example, the ‘Knowledge circulation in the 17th century’ project in the Netherlands gives insight not only…

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The biologist in the ashram (with a walk-on by Harpo Marx)

12 September 2015 A week ago I drove up to Portland with my grad student Elizabeth to interview the biologist John Tyler Bonner. We were both amused, or bemused, by the declaration of the Institutional Review Board at Oregon State that the interview did not qualify as research (and therefore did not need IRB approval, …

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Modiano and the Weight of History

I picked up my first novel by Patrick Modiano in a bookstore in Strasbourg last fall.  He had just won the Nobel Prize and it was obvious that the bookstore had scrambled to find copies of his books: there were new paperbacks with moody photographs on the covers and red paper straps that read “Prix …

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More on GMOs

25 May 2015 An update: the Benton County anti-GMO ballot measure 2-89 went down to a resounding defeat in last week's election: you can read an account in the Corvallis newspaper here.  It was not clear to voters that the measure would not ban genetically-related research at Oregon State University (its language indicated a blanket …

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Animal Paris, part 1: Fagotin and his kin

This is the first post in a occasional series on animals in (mostly) early modern Paris. 29 April 2015 Last week, a US judge apparently ruled that two research chimpanzees are “legal persons” and have standing to pursue a court case against their captivity.  As the work of historian Alan Ross is revealing, non-human primates …

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“Can Cookery,” 1928

28 January 2015 At Powell’s the other day, I picked up a pamphlet-style cookbook from 1928 called The Book of Can Cookery, published by Woman’s World magazine. Not to be confused with the modern tabloid magazine of the same name, this Woman’s World began in the late 19th century and ceased publication in 1940. It …

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An Eighteenth-Century Sweeney Todd

2 January 2015 A human skeleton was an essential ornament to the early modern dissecting room. Beginning with Vesalius, a number of anatomical textbooks offered instructions for making an articulated skeleton from a dead body, and there was a flourishing clandestine industry in making skeletons and in stealing or otherwise procuring the necessary dead bodies …

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