Friday, December 11, 2015
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
On December 8 Larry Raymond spoke with the Public History class about his game, Political Zingers. Political Zingers fits into the theme of game design, because, according to the game's web page, "With Zingers!, talking politics with your friends is fun and you won’t ruin the evening. You put words into the mouths of politicians and pundits, telling the truth as you see it through a cartoon vocabulary. You can speak your mind, get a laugh and not offend anyone." The games ability to get people (translation students) to discuss potentially difficult topics has real educational applications. Students in the class have a variety of political opinions and levels of engagement, but they all enjoyed the game. The game moved quickly, provoking both discussion and laughs. Larry also discussed how the game related to his long and varied career including his fascinating work with metaphor mapping in the corporate world and the United Nations.
Friday, December 4, 2015
Dr. Karen Robbins's book, James McHenry, Forgotten Federalist, was recently reviewed in the Journal of the Early Republic. McHenry was an important player in the American Revolution who had not received the attention he deserved, until Dr. Robbins wrote her biography. The reviewer writes: "This is an excellent political biography. More than that, it can serve as a model for anyone attempting a similar project. It is grounded in a thorough knowledge of the various McHenry manuscript collections and secondary works on Maryland and national politics of the period as well as the recent scholarship on race relations, the family, and class (in its eighteenth-century manifestation), especially the code of the gentleman."
Friday, November 20, 2015
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
The Wall Street Journal has a chart of Salary Increase by Major that lets you see how majors do over time. The good news is that humanities majors do well - a message often heard in our public and digital history classes where we emphasize that the best skill for the modern economy is the ability to adapt and learn. That's the point in emphasizing game design, gamificiation, design and information architecture this semester in public history. Of course, we're also doing the Civil War. Next semester will see much of the same but adding in more digital tools such as GIS and web design.
The history major stats over time from the WSJ. The first column is starting medium salary. The second is mid career medium salary 10 years out followed by percent increase.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Friday, November 6, 2015
Thursday Chris Mackowski of SBU's School of Journalism and Mass Communication discussed his book Fight Like the Devil: The First Day at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863 and his work with the Emerging Civil War and the National Park Service. The NY 154 saw action at Gettysburg and appears in his book. The discussion ranged far and wide but we kept returning to the importance of place, narrative and audience.
I failed to take pictures, so in place of a picture (not a good transition but I like the story) I'll include a piece from the Harvard Business Review. The Best Data Storytellers Aren't Always Numbers People is about the continued importance of story telling and narrative in the age of big data. This is something we discuss in the Digital History class (offered in the spring!) as we use tools like Google maps to tell stories.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
The History Club has some cool events on the horizon.
Monday, November 2, 2015
Thursday, October 22, 2015
The students came up with two games. Black Gold is a resource management and territory occupation game with an eurogame feel that used the theme of competing oil companies.
The other team built a game to explain the college experience. Players had to advance through four years of college. Here is a classic example of taking a theme and then finding the mechanics. Both games worked in play testing today.
Plus, we now have meeples in the class!
Our next challenge is incorporating the Civil War themes from the 154th into a game and we're looking taking the first steps toward seeing how this plays out in the digital world with Gameblox and Minecraft.
By Jason Damon
As a history student, it goes without saying that I’m passionate about learning about the past. I have a particular appreciation for American history and the history of the Catholic Church, and soak up even the tiniest morsels and tidbits of the two with a Faustian greed.
Sometimes, though, as a student of history it's easy to get caught up in what happened in the past without fully appreciating the fact that events unfolding in the present are themselves incredible. Sometimes, I feel like I have a tendency to try and view things through the scope of yesterday and fail to soak in the magnitude of the moment. It’s as if I need to impatiently wait for the time to pass where an event can be stamped with the label of “HISTORY” and placed neatly on the shelf before I can eagerly grab it and tear in. Recently, however, I was blessed enough to experience something that may have shifted how I view the happenings of the world around me.
Last month, I was blessed enough to go to Washington, DC with a contingent of Bonaventure students to see Pope Francis as he visited the United States. And oh, was there ever some history. It was the first time the beloved pontiff visited the United States in his life. He presided over the canonization Mass of SAINT Junipero Serra, the first time that a figure has been officially recognized as a saint on United States soil (99.9% of canonizations have been in Rome). He addressed the U.S. Congress, the first time that the auguste political body has seen a religious figure speak to them. And I had a (comparatively speaking) front-row seat to all of it. I had a ticket to the Mass as well as to the West Lawn of the White House for the Congressional address.
On the car ride down, all I could think of was how historic this was; how this was going to be a momentous event, one that would be talked about for a very long time after it was over. I suppose my line of thinking along that line stopped around when I saw Pope Francis drive by for the first time. Sure, I wasn’t particularly close; I was down the street a few hundred yards from where his motorcade drove by on the way to the Mass while I was standing in a security line. And yet, I was struck not with the historic nature of it all, not by how this was going to be seen by future generations, not by how I was going to be able to put into words how incredible this was, but by the sheer magnitude of the moment. I can’t truly put it into words, but for the rest of trip, I saw things through the eyes of an awed and humbled Catholic, not as someone waiting to dissect words or gestures or theorize on the politics behind the address or the visit or the homily.
I was able to live during a historic visit. But that categorization would come well after I had arrived back at St. Bonaventure.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Monday, October 12, 2015
Friday, October 9, 2015
My name is Megan Penn and I am from Clarksville, Maryland. For high school I attended Mount de Sales Academy. I have always had a love for history, especially after my sophomore year American History class. My teacher’s passion for history inspired me to further explore my interest in the subject. My favorite history subject is early 20th century European history. During my time here at St. Bonaventure I plan to also minor in Secondary Education so I will be able to inspire a love for history in high schoolers as my teacher did for me.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Jeremy Saucier of the Strong in Rochester where he serves as the Assistant Director of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games gave an excellent talk with the public history students. Jeremy covered a lot of ground impressing the students with the range of activities that goes into making a successful museum. Relevant to our Civil War game assignment, Jeremy spoke about the Strong's mission to be a museum of play and how that led them to do pioneering work in collecting and curating the history of electronic and digital games.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Monday, September 21, 2015
This morning I caught this story about Hamilton the Musical.
From the story: Hamilton, the hottest ticket on Broadway, is a musical about the decidedly un-hot topic of his crucial role in U.S. economics. What can we learn about debt and the dollar through rhymes and R&B?
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Friday, September 18, 2015
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Yesterday public history students warmed up for designing their first game by playing Viking Funeral, a card game by designer Rob Daviau. We've been using Daviau's interview on Edx and Game Designer Round Table in class.
This gave us a nice way to discuss game mechanics and, perhaps more importantly, to begin thinking and talking about how we can use them in an educational context and apply them to our work with the Civil War. Plus, we had fun (or at least as much fun as we can have in a class). Thursday the students pitch their ideas for a card game.
Monday, September 14, 2015
Sunday, September 13, 2015
John Kay has a nice article on the benefits of a broad, liberal, education in the Financial Times. In "The Benefits of a Liberal Education do not Go Out of Date," he writes that "The objective (of education) should be to equip students to enjoy rewarding employment and fulfilling lives in a future environment whose demands we can neither anticipate nor predict."
Friday, September 11, 2015
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Friday, September 4, 2015
Students in History 206: Introduction to Public History started the semester reading about Information Architecture and listened to a Game Design Round Table podcast on collaboration. Now it was time to put theory into practice by doing a card sorting exercise.
We gave them note cards that I had labeled and shuffled. The two teams then had to organize the mess. One of the challenges was reading my hand writing.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Dr. Horowitz was interviewed by Clarin, the largest circulation newspaper in Argentina. You can listen to it (in Spanish) here. (Don't forget the power of Google translate.) The interview discusses the main arguments of Horowitz's book Argentina’s Radical Party and Popular Mobilization, 1916-1930 (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2008)which was recently published in Argentina as
El radicalismo y la movilización popular (1916-1930) (Buenos Aires: Edhasa, 2015). It also touches on connections between the era that Horowitz studied and politics in subsequent eras, especially the 1940s and 1950s and the present.
Friday, August 14, 2015
STEM or Liberal Arts: A Trick Question for College Students is another article on the seeming debate between STEM and liberal arts majors. The takeaway, we need both. The author writes that "it’s a mistake to think that STEM is the only route to a rewarding and well-paying career in tech or business, whether with a web startup or a huge multinational." STEM is hugely important and any student who has taken my classes know that I think that one of the defining features of the 21st century is that technology is integrating into everything. In the article, the author writes that "the bigger point is that most students would do well to study both STEM and liberal arts and develop both left-brain and right-brain skills and thinking. The example I use with my college-bound teen is that software engineering is a very valuable skill to have, but software engineering combined with superb communications skills, even more so." I would argue the reverse is also true. The humanities major who is comfortable with tech is also marketable. Looking forward to teaching public history and digital history this year.
With a two-term sitting president leaving office and a large, large number scrambling to take his place, it is once again time to revisit presidential legacy and rankings. Get ready for a lot of it. This means Harding again reenters the historical consciousness as our worst president - maybe. If you are going to discuss Harding in the news, you are probably going to be talking about his private life.
The New York Times reports that "DNA Is Said to Solve a Mystery of Warren Harding's Love Life." Other outlets are widely reporting the result. Fox News notes that first DNA testing confirmed the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings and now it has answered another presidential mystery. Do the DNA test change Harding's place in history? Probably not. It is not shocking or even news that Harding slept around, he was after all called a He Harlot, something I couldn't resist as a chapter title in Dead Last. Not that long ago the Library of Congress released the correspondence between Harding and his mistress Carrie-Fulton Phillips. The story also mentions that "The testing also found that President Harding had no ancestors from sub-Saharan Africa, answering another question that has intrigued historians. When Harding ran for president in 1920, segregationist opponents claimed he had `black blood.'" Again, not a surprising finding but an interesting testimony to changing times. Some still hold it against Harding that he might have been of a mixed race ancestry. Not that long ago the idea that Harding was of mixed race was the "shadow" in Francis Russell's Shadow of Blooming Grove, the best known and damning Harding biography. Does all this mean Harding will now rise in the rankings? No. Teapot Dome and Veterans' Bureau Scandals (among others) still loom large in a short presidency. It does show that Americans have long liked a little tabloid mixed in with presidential politics.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Yesterday, August 1, descendants of the New York 154th regiment gather at St. Bonaventure. Part of the ceremonies included formally giving the Mark H. Dunkelman and Michael J. Winey Collection of the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry to the Friedsdam Library. They also got to see a fine exhibit from the collection in the Quick Center for the Arts and a panel of Civil War historians from the Emerging Civil War hosted by Chris Mackowski of the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The day concluded with a bbq and live music from Rush the Growler.
Today PBS reminds us that this is the anniversary of The 'strange' death of Warren G. Harding. If you want to find out more about this, and what happened after his death, you can always check out my book Dead Last: The Public Memory of Warren G. Harding's Scandalous Legacy. Harding's place in history, and in the presidential rankings, is fascinating.
Although I risk turning the blog into a place to rant about the crisis in the humanities, I am deeply interested in how fields like history fit into the 21st century. Since it is summer and I don't have new stories about what our great students are doing I'll post this column in the Miami Herald "For the Liberal Arts, All is not Lost in the Digital Age." The author makes some good points.
Taken from the article:
Thursday, July 30, 2015
"That "Useless" Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech's Hottest Ticket" over at Forbes is is a great article on the value of the liberal arts degree in the Tech World. From the article: "MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee argue in a recent book, The Second Machine Age, that today’s tech wave will inspire a new style of work in which tech takes care of routine tasks so that people can concentrate on what mortals do best: generating creative ideas and actions in a data-rich world." Later on, the author continues "As LinkedIn data show, most of the migrants have created nontechnical career paths in Silicon Valley. The list starts with sales and marketing (14%) and goes on to include education (6%), consulting (5%), business development (5%) and a host of other specialties ranging from product management to real estate. Add up the jobs held by people who majored in psychology, history, gender studies and the like, and they quickly surpass the totals for engineering and computer science."
I'd like to think that my digital history class and the game design materials we're introducing to public history only helps open doors to these types of jobs.