The winter quarter is winding down at UCLA, the libraries are full, and the professors scrambling to get ready for spring. Yes, including me. I’ll be teaching a digital history class titled “History, Now! Digital Media, Social Crisis, Historical Perspectives.” Here’s the description:
A defining feature of our time is a pervasive sense of crisis. Cable news and social media that facilitate what seem to be instant and unmediated images and messages about unfolding events heighten our sense that we are living at an unusually important juncture in time. This reality invites two opposite reactions. On the one hand we see our time as new and unprecedented. On the other hand we search for analogies to moments of great change in the past.
In “History, Now!” students will explore the present moment in historical perspective. A key component of the class is to use social media to communicate, explore, and analyze our subjects. How do these media enhance or undermine our sense of history? How can we bring more history into the hyper-now space of the web?
Of course, there are a million topics one might include in such a course, but I aim to focus things on immigration, political insurgency and economic crisis. The upcoming May Day actions will be one focus, and we’ll look to capture history-as-it-happens digitally, and place May Day in a longer perspective.
And with this I’ll be reviving Bughouse Square because I’ll be asking all my students to create blogs, post to Twitter, and write a “paper” online. Should be a lot of fun.