I am a South Dakota native and a Minnesotan graduate, and traveling to Atlanta has been my first real experience with the South: both it’s culture and its bizarre temperatures (what do you mean 40 degrees is winter? Sir, is that a snowsuit you are wearing? Why is it 20 degrees one day and 70 the next?). Much of my experience with history is what I found in my textbooks, as both a student and as a student teacher. And for a long time, it never really occurred to me to question what I was finding in the text was a very limited interpretation, and that so many voices are left out when we condense our historical understanding in a single paragraph. So to be here at Georgia State University, to not only to gain a larger perspective of what our current understanding of what history is and what it represents, but to question those understandings as well, has been a tremendous opportunity, as well as a challenge. The idea that history itself is only an interpretative, one with many different perspectives, is something I am still grappling with. But it is also something that I find tremendously exciting. If history is open to multiple interpretations, that means that no one person has the right answer. And anyone can have their own interpretation. For me, that’s why digital history is so important. If we acknowledge that history is all about individual understanding and experiences with historical content, and we make history more accessible to a broader public audience, then we open the past to so many new and relevant interpretations. Digital history gives people new tools to make contributions to historical analysis, as well as utilizing electronic methods of teaching to create new levels of understanding of professional interpretations. Digital history creates new methods of connection, ones that I think can empower and excite the public about history in ways and on a scale that has never before been possible.
…this is a weird transition. BUT in terms of the Beltline project, I am currently hoping to do the Southern Cotton Exposition, if that is alright with everybody.