Digital Archaeology: Approaching History through New Media

With access to an ever growing network of location-specific information, mobile and New Media technologies have radically altered the ways in which we interact with our physical environments as well as the methods we employ to approach the complex histories connected to and embedded within them. This seminar will critically examine emerging digital tools and practices such as mobile gaming, augmented reality, locative media, social networking, mapping, and 3D and virtual modelling in order to assess their potential for understanding, recovering, and making visible the past. Paying particular attention to their use at historic sites, museums, and galleries, students will explore working models and begin to uncover some of the successes and issues surrounding their deployment. We will look at issues of privacy, preservation, access, and scrutinize the ways that these technologies reinforce, deconstruct, and subvert narratives. Finally, we will consider the growing network of objects that are able to connect to, store, and transmit data, also known as the Internet of Things (IoT), and what they are revealing about place and history. Throughout the semester students will gain hands-on experience working and designing with these digital tools, ultimately prototyping a New Media experience for an upcoming exhibit, “Poet of the Body: New York’s Walt Whitman,” which will be held at the Grolier Club in 2019. 3 credits.