Hamilton, Art, History, and Truth

mobile-hamiltonBy now you’ve probably heard or read something about Hamilton: An American Musical, the hip-hop biography of Alexander Hamilton now running on Broadway. (If not, you can start with our reviews by Chris Minty and Nora Slonimsky and Ben Carp.) I went to see it last week with a group of historians (how’s that for a nerdy event?) and had an amazing time. First of all, the show is fantastic on all of the standard measures of the experience—the acting, the music, the singing and choreography, the set—they’re all great. You should see it if you can, because it’s really that good. But what makes Hamilton a bit different is how interesting it is as a vessel for conveying history to the general public, the argument it makes about Hamilton’s life, and the use of artistic license to make such an incisive historical argument.

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Digital Pedagogy Roundtable, Part 3: Technical Knowledge

This week, The Junto features a roundtable on digital pedagogy, in which we discuss our different approaches to using digital sources in the classroom. Today, Joseph Adelman talks about working with students on technical knowledge. You can also read Part 1 by Rachel Herrmann on source accesibility, and Part 2 by Jessica Parr on teaching digital history to non-majors.

newnationvotesI’m always both impressed and intimidated when I see a digital history project pop up in my social media channels. Faculty are doing some amazing work getting students to create work using sophisticated software, apps, and other programs. They create websites, run statistical analyses, markup text using TEI … and I have no idea how to replicate it in my classroom either for myself or my students. To be fair, I have not yet taught a course on digital history specifically (nor do I plan to in the near future). So I’d like to focus instead on some practical thoughts about integrated digital history methods into the classroom in topical upper-level courses.

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On Twittiquette

twitterWhat are the rules for scholarly engagement online? Should there be any? Some of the great things about social media in the past few years have been its leveling effect, its irreverence, and its real-time discussion capability. That last in particular has become handy at conferences with the rise of live-tweeting, where participants create a backchannel discussion or broadcast to those not able to attend the occurrences of a conference. It’s been incredibly helpful and interesting for those of us on Twitter, but there’s also been pushback from non-users about what people may be saying about their work outside their field of vision. So should tweeting have rules?

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The Maturing Blogosphere of Early America

Next week, early Americanists will gather for the joint annual meeting of the Omohundro Institute and the Society of Early Americanists. On the first day of the conference (Thursday, June 18), I’ve organized a roundtable discussion on “The Maturing Blogosphere of Early America.” Here I’d like to introduce it and invite you to join us for the session.

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The Week in Early American History

TWEAHHere in the United States, today is Memorial Day, a holiday originally created in the late 1860s to honor the Union Civil War dead, and now a time to commemorate all of America’s war dead.  Because it’s also observed as a three-day weekend, we’re bringing you a special Monday holiday edition of The Week in Early American History. On to your morning reading…

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I’d Like to Teach Students About, Some Teleology

If only Don had read Hofstadter on the paranoid style.

Like many of my friends, I’ve spent the past few weeks anxiously awaiting the series finale of Mad Men. I started watching a bit late, but caught up, and eagerly watched each week in April and May to find out how show creator Matthew Weiner would leave the stories of the main characters. And in the past few days, I’ve been mulling over the finale and in particular how it ended. Then yesterday, I realized that the finale of a beloved TV series actually has quite a bit to tell us (and possibly our students) about the omnipresent specter of teleology in the study of the past. [NOTE: Spoilers ahead, just in case.]

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