Friday, November 4, 2011
Plenary: Toward a Digital History of Civil War Washington
Kenneth J. Winkle, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Susan C. Lawrence, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Civil War Washington, a collaborative digital humanities research project, presents new ways to visualize and interpret the evolving role of Washington, DC, as the nation’s capital during the Civil War. Primary emphasis centers on the city’s complex responses to the challenges of military fortification and mobilization, treatment of hundreds of thousands of wounded and sick soldiers, evolution of the expanding policy of emancipation as a war aim, and the emergence of a modern city and more functional and visually symbolic national capital. The site explores these themes and presents evidence through an interconnected set of texts, databases, images, interactive maps, and analytical essays.
Civil War Washington draws on humanities scholars from several disciplines and emerging computer science technologies, such as geo-spatial mapping, data extraction, and adaptive interface design. The varied disciplinary expertise of the faculty, staff, and consultants, including American history, history of medicine, American literature, library and archival sciences, geography, public health, surgery, and computer science, enrich the project. The searchable database encompasses census entries, diaries, notebooks, letters, speeches, reminiscences, photographs, drawings, newspapers, magazines, books, and other holographic visual and printed material. Transcending traditional print scholarship, the project presents our conclusions and provides users–scholars, teachers, students, and the general public–with direct and interactive access to our data, encouraging them to construct and test new arguments of their own.
Co-principal investigators are Susan C. Lawrence, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Humanities in Medicine Program, Kenneth M. Price, Hillegass University Professor of American Literature, and Kenneth J. Winkle, Sorensen Professor of American History, all at UNL.
Primary support for the project is through UNL’s Center for Digital Research in the Humanities (CDRH) and an NEH Collaborative Research Grant for 2010-13, which has received “We the People” designation.