Publications, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media

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    Creating Local Linkages: Local History Activity Guide
    (Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, 2020-06-05) Brett, Megan; Kelly, Mills; Robertson, Stephen; Wilkinson, Corinne; Walters Cooper, LaQuanda; Dauterive, Jessica
    Based on the learning modules of our online course, Creating Local Linkages, the Local History Activity Guide includes models for public programs in libraries, especially those public libraries with special collections holdings. These program models and resources are intended to introduce library patrons (such as researchers, local neighborhood groups, or students of all ages) to the complexities of local history, and to items held in local public library collections which document this history
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    Debating Identity and Origins in Early 20th-Century American Commemoratives
    (Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2012) Brennan, Sheila A.
    Patriotic commemorations flowered following World War I in the United States, as did campaigns for securing limited- issue federal postage stamps. Beginning in 1920 with the Pilgrim Tercentenary issue, commemorative stamp subjects were moving away from solely advertising world’s fairs as the U.S. Post Office Department (USPOD) celebrated battles, anniversaries, and individuals that were part of greater cultural trends that sought to define Americanness in post–World War I America. Because of the acces- sibility of American commemoratives, both in size and through imagery, these stamps served to reinforce and naturalize an exceptionalist and triumphalist vision of the Ameri- can past that obscured the complicated legacies of conquest and inequality. This article examines imagery from a few commemorative stamps from the inter-war years and the circumstances of their printing that celebrated regional anniversaries held in Plymouth Rock, Mayport, and Minneapolis, as well as stamps honoring Polish military heroes Casimir Pulaski and Theodore Kosciuszko. Conversations revolving around these stamps, in correspondence or in the public media, demonstrate how the USPOD became a powerful institution that legitimized and distributed historical narratives and one that allowed ordinary citizens to engage with its government. Knowing of the postal service’s power to circulate interpretations of the American past to millions of people, some citizens sought commemoratives as part of grander strategies fighting for social and political equality while others wanted stamps to perpetuate a romanticized view of colonial America. These debates over commemorative subjects reflected contemporary struggles over immigration restrictions, constructions of race, and definitions of citizenship in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s.
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    ‘Little Colored Bits of Paper’ Collected in the Progressive Era
    (Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2010) Brennan, Sheila A.
    While the postal service promotes philately today, it was not until the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1892–1893 that the U.S. Post Office Department acknowledged and capitalized on the growing world of philatelists when it issued the first set of American commemorative stamps. Printing limited-issue collectible stamps generated greater interest in the postal service and for collecting the Department’s most popular product.The Columbian Exposition forever linked the postal service with stamp collectors after years of traveling on separate paths. The USPOD recognized the public presence of philatelists and spoke to them through promoting philately and issuing a decorative series of commemora- tive stamps. Philatelists participated in the world’s fair and perpetuated a dialog that they had begun decades earlier through buying, trading, and collecting stamps. Because philatelists professionalized by forming associations and publishing journals, Postmaster General Wanamaker recognized their presence and understood that the government needed those private organizations to promote good will and help to maintain the fiscal health of the US Post Office Department.
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    Prototyping an Experimental Curated Publication: Digital Humanities Now, 2009-2014
    (Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, 2014-06) Troyano, Joan Fragaszy; Cohen, Dan
    This White Paper provides a history of the experimental curated publication Digital Humanities Now from its launch in November 2009 through June 2014. Originally distributed as blog posts, this report provides real-time explanations and reflections on the concurrent processes of prototyping the Digital Humanities Now publication and developing the PressForward plugin for WordPress. We offer this White Paper to provide insight into our process for anyone interested in curation methodologies or developing software to facilitate scholarly communication.
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    Guide to Developing a Curated Publication
    (2016-03-02) Troyano, Joan Fragaszy
    This Guide introduces the intellectual and practical considerations for initiating and sustaining a collaboratively-edited publication that sources and distributes web content. Based on three years of research, design, testing, analysis, and experimentation in aggregating and curating scholarly content from the open web, this Guide introduces important considerations for aspiring editors. A profile of a successful prototype publication, Digital Humanities Now, provides an example of how one publication developed intellectual goals and refined editorial processes. A checklist is provided to assist the development of your own publication.
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    Discovering Scholarship on the Open Web: Communities and Methods
    (Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, 2013-04) Troyano, Joan Fragaszy; Wieringa, Jeri E.
    Online publications that aggregate content from a wide variety of sources have become increasingly valuable to readers and publishers. The academy, however, is still unsure how to efficiently identify, collect, survey, evaluate, and redistribute the valuable scholarly writing published both formally and informally on the open web. Fortunately, some scholarly communities are developing methods to draw attention to upcoming work in their fields. This report outlines the current state of the aggregation, curation, evaluation, and distribution of scholarship on the open web. We describe the primary types of websites where open collections of scholarly work can be found, specifically repositories, aggregators, curated content, and forums for post-publication review. We suggest an eight-point rubric for analyzing similar sources of web-published scholarship. Finally, we offer an annotated bibliography of outlets for scholarly communication on the open web.
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    Build, Analyse, and Generalise: Community Transcription of the Papers of the War Department and the Development of Scripto
    (Ashgate, 2014) Leon, Sharon
    RRCHNM’s foray into community transcription with the Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800 and the development of Scripto offers some significant lessons for cultural heritage institutions and professionals who want to engage with their constituents in meaningful ways. Primarily, we gained a dedicated and engaged audience for PWD, and a tremendous insight into their motivations. Equally important, the development process for the generalized tool, and its role in the larger ecosystem of open-source software that enables widespread user participation in cultural heritage projects, points to viable directions for the development of subsequent tools. Together this case study of PWD and the story of the creation of Scripto suggest that a wide range of cultural heritage organizations can launch and sustain lightweight transcription projects that encourage increased engagement with core audiences.
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    Scholars as Students Introductory Digital History Training for Mid - Career Historians
    (2015-09-01) Leon, Sharon; Brennan, Sheila A.
    Mid-career college and university faculty generally have achieved a significant level of expertise in their field of study. At the same time, research suggests that experts may not be so clear about every step of the cognitive work they undertake to attack a new research question or problem. In fact, the more expert an individual is, the less easy it is for that person to surface their process and articulate it for someone else. Only by being consciously pushed to consider, reconsider, and articulate these methodological assumptions, can we open a flexible space for new approaches that can complicate and compliment existing habits of mind. Together, these ideas make up some of the underlying approach that the team at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) at George Mason University (Mason) took to design and in conducting the Doing Digital History (Doing DH) two-week intensive summer institute for mid-career American historians. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Office of Digital Humanities as an Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities in August 2014 and under the direction of Sharon M. Leon and Sheila A. Brennan, the effort brought together twenty-three mid-career digital novices to learn the theories and methods of digital history. Experts in their field of American history, these novices in digital methodologies were nervous, unsure of their own abilities, and intimidated by digital history. They all left as confident digital ambassadors with new skills, insights, and motivation to pursue digital work and become active participants in the growing community of digital humanists.
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    Mobile for Museums
    (2009-12) Leon, Sharon; Brennan, Sheila A.; Lester, David
    For many years, art museums have been at the forefront of offering their visitors learning experiences that extend beyond traditional exhibit labels with gallery kiosks and audio guides. More recently, art museums continue leading the way by adding cell phone tours, podcasts, and platform-specific applications in an effort to capitalize on the commonly-owned portable devices—iPods, MP3 players, Blackberries, cell phones—that visitors already carry in their pockets. Museum professionals see great potential in reaching new audiences and pleasing old ones by providing content and social interaction via mobile devices. The biggest challenge is that many museums do not quite know where to begin when working with a small budget and small staff with limited technical knowledge. This white paper addresses those needs by proving a brief overview of what is being done in the mobile museum world and offers suggestions based on this research on how to economically provide mobile users with a positive experience with museum websites.
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    Why Collecting History is Web 1.5
    (2009-03) Brennan, Sheila A.; Kelly, Mills
    This case study offers insights into collecting and preserving history online that the team from the Center for History and New Media learned from building the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank ( The essay demonstrates how others can create digital collections that encourage public participation without losing the integrity of evidence collected or compromising the privacy of a contributor.
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    Project Managment for Humanist: Preparing Future Primary Investigators
    (#alt-academy, MediaCommons, 2011-05-06) Leon, Sharon
    For individuals with alternative academic careers, obtaining the skill set necessary to keep collaborative projects afloat and headed in the right direction is essential. Alternative academic careers are often made or broken on the success or failure of such collaborative projects. Success can mean a path to additional funding opportunities and, sometimes, increased institutional security. Project failure can mean unemployment at the end of a term contract. Unfortunately, most people with graduate degrees in the humanities have no explicit or formal preparation in managing collaborative projects, large or small. Given this situation, as a community, alternative academics must consider more concrete methods for transmitting good project management skills and techniques to potential employees. This essay will offer some thoughts on effective project management, effective project managers, and some ways that we might transform graduate education in the humanities to convey more of these necessary skills.
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    A Human Being, and Not a Mere Social Factor: Catholic Strategies for Dealing with Sterilization Statutes in the 1920s
    (Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Society of Church History, 2004-06) Leon, Sharon
    This article reviews the developing strategies of Catholic opposition to state laws for compulsory sterilization of so-called ‘feeble-minded’ residents of state institutions during the 1920s. In 1927 the Supreme Court, in its landmark decision Buck v. Bell, affirmed the constitutionality of such laws. This article traces the work of Catholic moral theologians, such as John A. Ryan, and representatives of various lay organizations in opposing such laws and educating Catholic laity on the natural law issues in the debate. In 1930 the National Catholic Welfare Conference published four pamphlets in a series entitled ‘Problems of Mental Deficiency’ that provided a full compliment of medical, legal, and moral objections to the laws. On 31 December 1930 Pope Pius XI in his encyclical ‘Casti Connubii’ provided an authoritative pronouncement on eugenics and sterilization that reaffirmed Catholic opposition to eugenics policy initiatives.
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    Hopelessly Entangled in Nordic Pre-Suppositions: Catholic Participation in the American Eugenics Society in the 1920s
    (Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 2004) Leon, Sharon
    This article examines the involvement of U.S. Catholics in the American Eugenics Society during the 1920′s. While Catholics were often opponents of eugenics, John A. Ryan and John Montgomery Cooper, both Catholic priests and intellectuals, were prominent in the debate within the Committee on Cooperation with Clergymen of the American Eugenics Society. Ryan and Cooper repeatedly examined the scientific bases for eugenicists’ claims and sought to shift the movement away from its racist and classist elements. Soon after Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Casti Connubii formalized Catholic opposition to eugenics and other efforts to control reproduction, such as birth control, Ryan and Cooper finally broke with the AES.
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    Tensions Not Unlike that Produced by a Mixed Marriage: Daniel Marshall and Catholic Challenges to Anti-Misecegenation Statutes
    (Catholic University of America Press, 2008) Leon, Sharon
    In 1948, the California Supreme Court declared the state’s anti-miscegenation statute unconstitutional. Twenty years before the U.S. Supreme Court came to the same conclusion in Loving v. Virginia, Daniel Marshall argued that his clients deserved the right to marry in California in part based on the fact that their church had no objections. Andrea Perez and Sylvester Davis were Catholics, and their attorney was a leading member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Catholic Interracial Council. The story of their efforts to overturn the anti-miscegenation statute sheds light on Catholic thinking about religious and racial differences with respect to marriage and the ways that that thinking interfaces with contemporary attitudes about race in a pluralistic American culture.
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    Xayaburi and the Mekong Critical Point: Over-Damming the Shared River and Bigger Threats to the Shared Future
    (Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2013-06) Le, Nhina
    Despite the correlation between hydropower plant construction and economic growth, Laos’ approach to the Xayaburi issue may backfire. The construction of big dams on the Mekong River would lead to food insecurity and jeopardize the health and livelihoods of over 60 million people in the region. These communities see the survival of the river and its resources as an important part of their everyday socio-economic lives, traditional values, and cultural identities. If the problems of resource and power management and distribution continue, and if public concerns are not adequately addressed, over time, these issues may become a potential source of social unrest and human, national, and regional instabilities.
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    Is Google Good for History?
    (2010-01-07) Cohen, Dan
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    Smithsonian 1.1 and 2.9
    (2009-01-27) Cohen, Dan
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    Smithsonian 2.0
    (2009-01-22) Cohen, Dan
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    Leave the Blogging to Us
    (2008-12-05) Cohen, Dan