2016 Student Project Gallery

Below are the final projects for students in the first Digital History Methods course at CSULB.  The class is designed not only to reinforce traditional history research skills, but to also encourage students to think about the way history can be explored using new digital tools and methods. Students spent the first half of the semester learning the theory behind digital humanities, and exploring the tools that digital historians employ. The second half of the semester they were engaged in the creation of their own projects. The class was designed to promote collaboration in small group digital history projects, but enrollment in the inaugural section of the class was low and most students decided to work on individual projects. Below are links to their projects. Each student has written an introduction to their project explaining the tools they used and decisions they made as the crafted the projects. Along with viewing the projects, visitors to the site are encouraged to read the reflection essays of each student. –Sean Smith

Student Projects

The Elizabeth Murray Project: a reimagining

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The Elizabeth Murray Project, while functional, was in dire need of a user experience revamp. Through this project, we updated the timeline from the original site to Timemapper, expanded it to include important events from the time period which directly affected Murray, and completed the digitization and transcription of a few letters not featured on the original site. Using Timemapper we were able to build a more interactive and visual timeline of events where users can see events chronologically and on an interactive map simultaneously. The navigation bar leads users to the timeline with a simple “Timeline” tab while the letters are grouped together by correspondence under the “Letters & Transcription” menu. Our new site is meant to be a supplement to the original site until both sites are consolidated. When used together, these sites allow users to conduct their own research, using primary sources usually unavailable to all but university students, and draw their own conclusions about the life of Elizabeth Murray in 18th century America. –MR

Mapping the Trail of Tears: a digital map of Native-American deaths along the Trail of Tears.

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The Trail of Tears is a tragedy that happened on US soil that is never truly talked about.  In history classes in elementary, middle and high school the teachers mention that the Indians were pushed from their land to what became Oklahoma, but very few ever go into detail.  16,000 Cherokee being removed from their homes, which an estimated 4,000 dying along the way and we never talk about it.  It is almost a thousand more people than the attack on 911, and yet most never hear much about it.

I created my website, Mapping the Trail of Tears, to help people with any interest, and any knowledge level, see the tragedy that occurred.  I included a page with an explanation of what was the Trail of Tears and what caused it. However, the main attraction is the interactive map; it lays out many of the deaths that occurred. I included all of the detachments that traveled along the Trail of Tears and their routes, and the deaths that have a location have been placed in or close to that location.   I chose to map the deaths along the Trail of Tears because, when I learned about the trail for the first time, I was very surprised by the number of deaths that occurred.  I believe that if people see the map, they will get inspired and want to learn more.  I hope that the map makes people look at just some of the people who died, and wonder why it is not talked about more. –IW

The Everyday Surfer: a special exhibit at the California Surf Culture Archive.

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The California Surf Culture Archive traces the influence of surfing in the construction of California’s cultural identity. By documenting the memorabilia of everyday surfers through the medium of a digital archive, the characterization of this imagined community begins to take shape. In partnership with the California State University Oral History Program, a series of interviews with surfers from Southern California have been included to document the experiences of these surfers and to understand how they influence the greater culture of Californians.

The Narrative juxtaposes clips from the interview and interpretive analysis of significant symbols of surf culture to foster a necessary dialogue on the ordinary surfers role in supplementing California culture. This work-in-progress template has infinite potential and after contributions from subsequent classes, could be used to educate millions interested in California cultural history with regards to surfing.

I intend to have the archive be open to users who can, after moderation, comment on the items in order to facilitate the surf history narrative. While it is not the focus of the archive, it will foster awareness and participation.

The California Surf Culture Archive has become the footprint from my collegiate experience at CSULB. As I am graduating at the end of the semester, I wanted to have something to look back on and showcase my acquired skills to potential employers and friends. I have always favored combining assignments whenever possible, therefore creating an oral history exhibit for ordinary surfers after interviewing a retired surfer became an enjoyable priority when doing homework. –CM

Redlining and the California Freeway System: segregation, poverty and the HOLC.

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The California Redlining Project is an Omeka website dedicated to the use of dynamic mapping tools that give a new scope at viewing historical maps.  This project’s primary focus is to show that the overlaying of Home Owners Loan Corporation maps on Google Earth would bring new insight into the ways in which we understand the economic and physical structure of California’s present landscape.  With the comparison from new to old, the highlighted highway system that Google Earth adds to the visual presence of the maps provides a unique scope on some of these government created systems.   

The decision on the theme of this project is due to my increasing interest in American government and California history.  My intention is to get a better understanding of the interactions between American government and society which, as these maps show, play out in large cities in California. –WH

Soul Soldiers: the African American experience in Vietnam.

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The site is comprised of news articles, videos, testimonies and photos to show the unique perspective of African-Americans in the Vietnam War. I chose this subject because I love how an event in history was perceived by a different groups. The more I researched African-American soldiers I found the question of why they fight for a country that discriminates them. They had to fight in foreign soil at the same time they were being discriminated by fellow soldiers. In the end, they just wanted justice at home to feel like true Americans. It reminds me of today, as Muslim-Americans are being criticized in the country they are born in. Well I hope this website opens you up to new information about the Vietnam War. –RZ

Mission Revival Architecture: Spanish fantasy and the architecture of Southern California.

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Mission revival style architecture mimics the design of the Spanish missions in California. The aim of my project was to explore the impact of mission revival architecture on the built environment of Southern California. I photographed examples of mission revival buildings throughout San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles counties. These photographs are archived in an Omeka website where I created a few exhibits that explore how this architectural style reflects and produces the culture of Southern California. I choose this as my project because I enjoy architecture history and I hoped to raise some questions about the legacy of the mission system in California.  –KR

Spamming the South Pacific: a Timeline of SPAM’s spread across the globe.

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My project is called Spamming the South Pacific. The purpose of this website is to show the canned food SPAM’s journey from the US to the South Pacific as a result of WWII and the Korean War. The reason I chose this as my topic for the project is because I think it’s really interesting how such a notorious food like SPAM could end up as a luxury item in some places as well as a main ingredient in so many dishes in Asia. What I am hoping to accomplish with this project is that viewers will have a new-found appreciation for SPAM and that they’ll understand why the canned meat was seen as a lifesaving gift to the locals of the South Pacific whose countries were ravaged by war. –RT