¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 For the work on my final project, I am revisiting our early readings on digital history—its uses, origins, and cautionary tales. I am obviously compelled by the exciting opportunities digital spaces invite for historians. These are well articulated by Rosenzweig and Cohen (n.d.). I found interesting some of the challenges they cite to their view, such as Harold Bloom’s, who claims that interactivity “only permits us to explore more of ourselves” rather than the “lives and thoughts” of others
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 I am intrigued by a revolutionized conception of creating historic knowledge, or a shift “away from the product-oriented exhibit or ‘web site’ and move it more toward the process-oriented work of employing new media tools in our research and analysis” (Seefeldt and Thomas, 2009). But how will this adaption happen? If sources in the “future will be almost entirely digital—instant messages, e-mails, doc files, pdfs, digital video, podcasts, and databases,” and a generation of historians develops practical and sound analytic tools, will we miss out on the perhaps boring work of traditional work of history? To illustrate my concern, take the coming and important use of force database from the DOJ (https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-outlines-plan-enable-nationwide-collection-use-force-data). This will be an invaluable tool for scholars and activists to bring attention to the state’s use of force, particularly against marginalized communities. But given the texture of this data (administrative, so hopefully neat and thorough) how will it be reconciled with the very important stories of state-sanctioned violence that rely solely on victim or witness testimony, or even film footage and media reporting?
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Perhaps my concern is unfounded. Perhaps a longue durée approach to phenomena that are on both sides of the digital revolution will meld old and new methods seamlessly. But as I consider my own project, which deals with lynching in a discrete period before the digital age, I am concerned with how this work could eventually be connected to shifting forms of extrajudicial racial violence. To put it blandly, there is value in old methods that new ones cannot replace. As scholars are able to answer or pose more questions using digital methods that new datasets enable, the need to bridge old scholarship with new analysis becomes ever more urgent