Amusements & Useful Devices from K. A. Wisniewski
Finally, I’ve come to the last part of this series on student projects…in retrospect, I now wish I’ve created a separate website to host or curate all of these projects. This presents another issue to consider down the road, and simultaneously adds more sites to manage (I often create a blog for my upper-division courses, when appropriate).
Most of the projects here examined specific objects and cultural artifacts (such as bullets, metalwork, decoys, and food) as texts that not only could be analyzed but that could be experienced first-hand. In this making-process, each pursued the idea that their projects projected a degree of feeling–affect–that allowed them unique access to both the historical narrative and the social situation. Although we didn’t cover this in class directly, their work (and mine) challenges historian Peter Novick’s assertion that professional historians should pursue “objective” and “emotion-free” research. I tend to side more towards the work of Roy Rosenzweig & David Thelen and David Glassberg in their arguments that the public wants to “feel” history, and that the more they feel, the more they participate, interact, and engage in ongoing dialogues and debates and with history / historical collections and sites.
And, really, this was the point for me all along! So, with that, please enjoy these final videos from my 2017 courses . . . I’ll let them introduce themselves.