Digital Resources and Production

While internet sources do not make research EASY, it does make it easier in two primary ways: allowing better time management and providing a broader array of information. An example that comes to mind is Dr. O’Brien’s collaborative digital project, involving the Institute of Historical Research, and Kings College in London. This is a beautifully, well-designed, interactive website providing vast information regarding English Law. ( This provides enormous value by having quality information available in one cohesive place. In addition, one does not have to travel across an ocean to retrieve it. Naturally one needs to be careful to verify the quality and source of information obtained online, however, the same care needs to be taken with any source to include print.

Technology is definitely something that appeals to younger scholars and in this way the delivery of information is relevant and crucial. A younger audience can be largely engaged through a well-designed, interactive, web source. A great many people, young and old, interact in the virtual world known as “the third meeting place,” . People largely enjoy communicating electronically via computer through social media, Face Time, email, text and instant message. Corporations are saving time and money by organizing meetings through visual conferences as well. Clearly technology is here to stay and with the right parameters, can be used to a positive, full advantage.

In addition, presentations today are rarely conducted without some sort of technology. When used properly, most presentations are far better with employing a visual aid.

Lastly, it is very important for an individual to have a digital presence period. In almost every facet of life now, people are expected to know something about technology and how best to engage with it. I personally love that UMW insists we engage in technology – having a way to present ourselves and our work.

The French and Indian War: Important Events-Timeline & Mapping

Important Dates:
May 28, 1754 – George Washington defeats French. (Anderson – Chapter 4) The Battle at Fort Necessity was the Opening of French and Indian War.
Nov 23, 1758 – Fort Duquesne – This comes after the Treaty of Easton – Important to my Iroquois neutrality essentially – as with this Treaty Iroquois promise French they will remain neutral in future Anglo-French wars.
Jul 25, 1759 – Fort Niagara – one of three campaigns designed to bring about conquest of New France. (Anderson-Chapter 19) The commandment of Fort Niagara – Captain Pierre Pouchot of la marine – did not realize Iroquois had shifted from neutrality to support the British.
Sep 8, 1760 – French surrender. There is Native involvement here too. (Anderson – Chapter 22)

Significant Locations:
Fort Duquesne – a lot of different allegiance stuff going on – Treaty of Easton – Iroquois pledge neutrality. Fort Ticonderoga – gave access to Canada & the Hudson River Valley – good strategic access. There was more fighting here than any other post. Nova Scotia – War took place from Virginia to Nova Scotia. Burial of Hatchet between British and Mi’kmaq – this was interesting – stimulates thought with the Natives once again – Acadians claimed non-involvement due to proposed fear of these guys. Did these under pinning events change courses of things to a degree?


The Environment and other New Historiography

The readings of Ted Steinberg and J.R. McNeil provided a refreshing look at the future of history. The movement away from traditional history and towards a new historicism is an advancement in the scholarship. Traditional history focuses on a linear approach in that A caused B and B caused C. While the focus of traditional history in “what happened” is of course important; more critical is to look at how this information is being interpreted. The are other players at the table now with much deserved recognition and this story needs to be told.

New historians believe we do not have a concisely clear access to anything and we must investigate primary source information from a number of vantage points. No longer are we working with trickle down history, starting with the “big players”. The recognition of race, class, and gender are very important to consider. It is only then that we have the hope of a fuller, more accurate, picture. Consider viewing a tree from the top down and the bottom up – we see two different pictures. If historians are going to “get it right” and as accurate as possible, every angle must be viewed.

In reading Steinberg and McNeil, I agree completely and am very encouraged to see environmental approaches to history. The consensus is very true that the natural world evolved both by its own doing and responses to human impact. Power, disputes, politics, class shaping, wealth, and so many other historical events and importances cropped up in response to nature and geographies. Consider the mass movement of people to the West Indies when it was determined those Islands were ripe for wealth of sugar plantations. Think about the earliest societies and how they worshipped a “sun god”, built towers to reach the sky (the sun) and how societies fought to be around the fertile crescent. Consider wars which were fought to have free access to the sea. Many more instances could be cited throughout global history and at the crux is the environment.

I am very thankful for the “renegade historians” who are probing deeper into environmental studies through the lens of history.  This arena maybe taking some flack just as it does in politics today. I was  recently humored to hear Rush Limbaugh say on conservative radio that the “global warming group” should be sued into obscurity. This made me laugh. Talk about politics and an opinion. Let’s give the environment the sound investigation it deserves from both science and history, and anyone else who cares abut our world before it fades into obscurity.

History yesterday, today, and tomorrow – Blog post 3

The subject of history can be studied using an array of scholarships and perspectives.Traditional fields include military, politics, and economics. Of these, the study of economic history is indeed a favorite of mine. In following the money trail we can find motivations, hierarchies, class distinctions, political and social parameters.

The strength of these traditional studies encompasses the key issues of most societies. Arguably the big three, however, lack full consensus without also considering areas of gender, religion, culture, class and race. For example, how did the role of women contribute economically to earliest societies even in times when they were considered disregarded? What role did cultural or religious influences play on politics  and military campaigns?

History today has expanded its insight much further and more meaningful into the newer three perspectives:  gender, class, and race. These are key perspectives to add to the narrative. To leave these out of the conversation is to leave major gaps in the discourse.

Some historians fear focusing on newer concepts, like gender for example, may lead further away from the original three key perspectives. The concern is in getting too boggled down with many details we lose   sight of the big picture and the original context of meaning.

Lastly, how will the history being made today be viewed by historians in the future? Most certainly: gender, religion, culture, and race will be part of the scholarship and discourse.

Jennings and Parkman: Two Historical Perspectives

One would like to think an author of historical events is armed with solid sources, facts, and simple plain truth. Yet rarely is history simple, or a “plain truth”, and invariably authors bring bias, even if they are unaware of it. In fact, this could be argued in terms of Parkman’s initial writings – coming out of a place of “Exceptional Americans” and the “Manifest Destiny” – in which Americans were destined to expand their virtues, institutions, and people. We know that Parkman was a minister’s child with a Harvard law degree. This could be indicative of someone with staunch ideas of what is “right” and what is “wrong” – according to the ways and teachings they have learned of course.

Jennings on the other hand, comes about in a time where there is more time to “look back”, putting him in a place of being further removed from the frustrations and impressions of the time period. Jennings writes in a time where there is government mistrust and some of the novelty of being exceptional in America has “worn of” and is perhaps starting to be redefined in a place of more inclusion. We also know that Jennings came from a more humble back ground, growing up in a coal mining town, and being a hard working, under paid – I’m sure – teacher. He as well, seemed to have the mission of “coming after” Parkman, and seemed more determined to present solid, source-based facts, less skewed in the “language of the time” that Parkman wrote from. One could argue, however, that Jennings was far off from Parkman, in that he too, had an “agenda” and this was to prove the Indians were not savages who played a singular, villain role in the war.

Popular versus Academic History

Some would say popular and academic histories are at odds with one another. There are times when popular histories are considered academically inferior in that the writing style is less formal. Academic history takes on a formal discourse and appears to be more scholarly; yet can be accused of being boring and out of touch with the general population. Be reminded each should be source based, drawing on the same sound sources; however, differ solely in the presentation of information to the intended audience. I would argue that popular history appeals to the senses and curiosties of potential observers; which in turn, segues into a deeper probing that more closely matches the academic history.