HIST5702x: An Odyssey

By malloryjwhite

Alas, the Winter 2014 semester has come to an end which means HIST5702x has as well. As part of the course, a final reflection, or “unessay” has been assigned to us. Seeking to subvert all of the things we know and love about traditional essays, the unessay can be in any form, style, or perspective. Once again, HIST5702x has provided me with an opportunity to think critically and creatively at the same time—something for which I am grateful.

As a product of the essay—something that Shawn pointed out to all of us during our first seminar—I never quite realized the extent of the conventions and constrictions put upon me when I conduct my historical research and writing. Through this unessay, I seek to break with many conventions. Firstly, I am making this unessay open to all those who wish to view it; it will be freely and willingly published online. Secondly, it will not contain a title page, double spacing, or 12 point Times New Roman font (stapled at the top left hand corner of the page). And most importantly, it will not be restricted to one document. One of the most important things I have taken away (or regained) from HIST5702x is a willingness to be unconventional. Think critically, but make use of other tools and mediums in the process–let it contribute to your research, findings, and overall presentation.

If you’ve been following along with my blog in any capacity, you’ll know that the semester has been exciting, frustrating, and enlightening all at the same time. The goal of this final project is to demonstrate to you how someone with no understanding or awareness of the digital humanities can, in only a few short months, effectively engage with its concepts and tools. Like any good adventure, I’ve met with successes, failures, and important lessons.

Thus, the premise of this ‘unessay’ is an odyssey.. . . . . . . . . .

The first stop is right here: the blog post. Throughout the course of our Air Canada project and our class discussions, the blogs have been a place for us to organize our thoughts, reflect on discussions, and ask questions of our readers. So often when students and historians submerse themselves in their research, they are alone on the journey. They have no one with whom they can discuss their findings, their ideas, and if it all makes sense. In maintaining an online, connected presence, digital historians can engage with the academic community–ask questions and be questioned–during their research process.

Of course, we must exist beyond the blog…the next stop in our journey is the video…


For reference, an index of the stops on the unessay odyssey:

1. Video

2. Prezi

3. Tapestry

Source: Mallory