Hypermedia in History
- Instructor: Jan Reiff
- Office: Bunche 9347 (825-5029)
- E-mail: jreiff@ ucla.edu
- Office hours: 12:00-2:00 Thursdays
From the outset, it should be noted that this class will be eclectic.
Its readings include a few historians, some literary critics,
some computer scientists, some designers, and a handful of anonymous
web writers. Some of the readings come via the traditional medium
of books, others will be found only on CD-ROMs, on-line databases,
and on the World Wide Web. The material your present will take
various forms as well. Some will be oral, some entirely visual,
some in the "traditional" written form and some as a
World Wide Web page. Each of you will do some historical research
of the kind you have come to expect in a research seminar, although
only those who continue through the second quarter will do large
amounts of research. In short, it should be exactly the kind of
course that you should anticipate from its title Hypermedia in
The goal of the course is to have participants explore the possibilities
of information technology revolution in general and hypermedia
in particular for learning and presenting history. It aims to
do that by having participants read what others have said about
it and hands-on evaluation and development. By the end of the
quarter, you will have built a World Wide Web page using HTML
(hypertext mark-up language) and will have designed a web site
that would work either for a teaching module in a history class
or to present your own research in a new and provocative way.
(Those continuing into the second quarter will actully realize
these web sites.) You will have surfed the web for history resources,
both good and bad. Plus, you will have considered the impact of
computer technology and the World Wide Web from a number of different
Everyone is expected to attend class regularly, do the readings
and participate in class discussion. Class participation will
account for 25% of your grade.
Each person will also have to develop a proposal for a World Wide
Web site that could be used either for teaching an undergraduate
course or as a presentation of research findings. A more detailed
description of this proposal will be distributed in class and
via this class's home page. This proposal will account for 40%
of your grade. In addition, you will have to design and implement
a WWW home page that serves as the entrance point for the project
you propose. That home page will account for 10% of your grade.
Finally, there will be five short assignments, each of which will
contribute 5% of your grade.
Tentative Outline of Meetings, Topics and Readings:
Please note that many of the questions and topics considered
in this class make the newspapers and magazines every day. On-line
news sources are also ready sources of related information. I
anticipate that you will all look for relevant information in
these various sources and bring it to class whenever it is appropriate.
I may also provide other materials that I think you might find
useful or interesting.
ALL THE BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOOK STORE. ARTICLES WILL
BE AVAILABLE IN THE HISTORY READING ROOM.
- Jan 09 -- Course introduction, technical matters, introduction
to WWW for those not familiar with it
- Jan 16 -- Is the computer a "defining technology"
or an overgrown typewriter? What has
- the computer done for history? Thinking about history on the
- J. David Bolter, Turing's Man
- Andrew McMichael, Michael O'Malley, and Roy Rosenzweig, "Historians
and the Web: A Beginner's Guide," AHA Perspectives, January
1996, also available on the World Wide Web at http://chnm.gmu.edu/chnm/beginner.html
- Assignment 1:
- Write a review of approximately five (5) pages of the World
Wide Web as a source for "doing" history. This review
should briefly describe the sites you chose and explain why you
think it is particularly useful for historians (students or researchers).
- A paper copy should be brought with you to class, but you
should also send it to me electronically at firstname.lastname@example.org. For
this assignment, I will prepare it for the WWW and post it in
our class web site so that others can visit the site as well.
- Some places to start include (but are not limited to):
- http://web.syr.edu/~laroux/ http://h-net.msu.edu/
- And you can do web searches from:
- The list grows and grows .....
- (note this art exhibit is only available through Feb. 28, 1996)
- To see the reviews of your classmates, click here.
Jan 23 -- Historical Narratives: Presenting History
Jan 30 -- Non-Linear Narratives: Hypertext
- William Cronon, "A Place for Stories: Nature, History, and Narratives," Journal of American History, 78:4 (March, 1992), 1347-1376.
- Please visit http://grid.let.rug.nl/~welling/usa/
- Who Built America?(CD-ROM textbook, available in faculty lab, please make arrangements with J. Lally or J. Reiff
- Film: Nasty Girl
- George P. Landow, Hypertext
- To see one of Landow's projects on the Web, see World Wide Web (html) Versions of Materials Created in Intermedia, Storyspace, and Print
- For an on-line volume, see Mike Franks, Internet Publishing Handbook
- Mark Poster, "Derrida and Electronic Writing: The Subject of the Computer," in The Mode of Information, p. 99-128 (available in grad reserve)
- An optional reading for those who are interested is Vannevar Bush's "As We May Think" which was published originally in the July, 1945, Atlantic Monthly. I've also put a copy in the History Department Reading Room. Thanks to Gene Moy for reminding me of this article and finding its Web location.
- To see a syllabus for a class designed by one of the luminaries in this area, Michael Joyce, visit http://iberia.vassar.edu/~mijoyce/H_P.html
- And to see another point of view on all of this, check out John Unsworth, Electronic
Scholarship or, Scholarly Publishing and the Public
Feb 06 -- Images
- John Berger, Ways of Seeing
- You can see Landow using images at George P. Landow, "Margaret M. Giles's Hero and the Sublime Female Nude"
- Assignment 2:
- Bring at least 3 images that you might consider using in your hypermedia presentation to class. Make copies to hand in, along with a brief narrative (no more than a paragraph) explaining what you want the observer to learn from them.
Feb 13 -- Visualizing LA in Hypermedia
Feb 20 -- Learning HTML
- Thomas S. Hines, "Wilshire Boulevard," in Jan Cigliano, Sarah Bradford Landau, eds., The Grand American Avenue, 1850-1920
- Thomas S. Hines, "Housing, Baseball, and Creeping Socialism: the Battle of Chavez Ravine, Los Angeles, 1949-1959"
- Evelyn Schlusselberg, "Dans le Quartier St. Gervais: An Exploratory Learning Environment," in Matthew E. Hedges and Russell M. Sasnett, Multimedia Computing
- To see one tour on line, check out El Camino de Santiago
- Assignment 3:
- Come prepared with images, texts, descriptions of audios and visuals, that you might use to provide students or Angelenos with a hypermedia history of either Wilshire Boulevard or Chavez Ravine.
- A handout will be provided in class on HTML and you should begin perusing the Larry Aronson, HTML Manual of Style. Also before coming to class, peruse the web to see what is available out there on HTML
Feb 27 -- Learning HTML, part II
Mar 05 -- A Democratic Medium?
- Assignment 4:
- One web ready page based on results of visualizing LA in hypermedia discussion on Feb. 13. Details of assignment will be distributed then.
Mar 12 -- A discussion of proposals:
- Lewis Mumford, "Authoritarian and Democratic Techniques," Technology and Culture (Winter 1964), 1-8.
- Charles Ess, "The Political Computer: Hypertext, Democracy, and Habermas," in George P. Landow, Hyper/Text/Theory, p. 225-267
- Usenet, press discussion of the controversy over pornography on the net, especially recent debate between Germany and Compuserve. You can access Usenet lists by choosing the NEWSGROUP or USENET FAQs options in the Web search engine provided with Netscape.
- also try visiting some sites like the Center for Democracy and Technology, Freedom Magazine, the Censorship and Intellectual Freedom page, or just search for key words like democracy, freedom, or the recent communications bill passed by Congress.
- Assignment 5:
- Storyboards for your proposal. Bring enough copies for everyone in class.
FINAL PROPOSALS ARE DUE TO ME BY 3:00 PM, MARCH 15
Jump to classmates' proposed home pages or return to Reiff home page