Project Proposal

After a lot of mulling over, thinking, throwing away, and mapping out of what I wanted to accomplish with my digital project, I realized I was bogging myself down with the digital component more than the conceptual piece. What did I want my work to say? That should have always been the starting point, however I found myself trying to think too far ahead on ways to create a sophisticated digital project. With more confidence, I have decided to go back to what interests me most. For my digital project I will be creating a blog entitled “Crawlspace” centered around the sonic temporality of sampling as a site of fugitivity, resistance and memory. This will be an expansion of a paper I wrote for a course I took last semester. “Crawlspace” derives from Fred Moten when he wrote about how Harriet Jacobs, an enslaved African who escaped, hid in the crawlspace of a slaveowners attic to keep an eye on her children. Her fugitivity marks a symbolic reference to the shapeshifting of Black women as they renegotiate their agency through subjugation. Sampling evokes the crawlspace as a makeshift cloak of invisibility, hypervisibility, resistance, and temporality. As Black female voices are largely emplaced in the crawlspace of our favorite Hip-Hop songs, what do we make of it? What does the reverberations of manipulated noise say or fail to express? How do their sampled vocals reflect differently than in their original work?

This project will use WordPress as a site to hopefully allow this work to flourish, and reflect as an evolving, growing and in flux, blog. I will write four 500-word blogs on some of my favorite Hip-Hop songs that sample Black female singers to address its resistance, memory, subjectivity, and shortcomings. The blogs will also discuss the original song, and how it differs from the sampled version. Both songs will have a YouTube video embedded for readers to listen to as they read along. This project is more theoretical than historical, however I believe it can provide an enjoyable read for music buffs, academics, Black women largely, and those interested in Hip-Hop.

“Crawlspace” also highlights how production and sound engineering are largely male-dominated spaces, and the Black women so often rendered, sampled, and cut open, are literally underpinning the sonics of the music we listen to. So more importantly, I hope this work reintroduces people to the musicianship of Black female singers and the historical precedence their work presents to the genre of Hip-Hop. In accordance with the blogs, I will provide a playlist for mere enjoyment.

-Beza Fekade

Works Cited

Uri McMillan, Introduction: Performing Objects, In Embodied Avatars: Genealogis of Black

Feminist Art and Performance (NYC, NY: New York University Press, 2015), 1-21.

Alexander Wehilye, “Engendering Phonographies: Sonic Technologies of Blackness,” Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism 18, no. 2 (2014), 180-190.

Fred Moten, Black and Blur (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017).

Ralph Luker, “Were There Blog Enough and Time,” Perspectives on History (2005)

Sadie Bergen, “From Personal to Professional: Collaborative History Blogs Go Mainstream” (2017)


For my project, I will be researching marches and demonstrations that were covered in the pages of the underground newspaper, the Great Speckled Bird. This project idea is a small part of what I hope will help inform my dissertation project. The Great Speckled Bird was a paper published between the years 1967-1976 by radical or progressive youth in the Atlanta area. While the paper was part of the Atlanta media, it often covered events that the mainstream media sources either did not cover at all or failed to cover in depth. Further, not only did the Bird have significant and steady local support, it was sold throughout the southeast United States and part of a much larger chain of underground media in the Long Sixties.

Many of the marches and demonstrations that were covered in the Great Speckled BIrd had both local and global connections. For example, women’s demonstrations in Atlanta during these years included rallies and forums that discussed women around the globe and how the Atlanta Women’s Movement was part of a much larger effort to gain rights for all, not just equality for women in the region. By the early 1970s, many of the writers for the Bird began to recognize that their fight was not just for equal rights for women, people of color, or the gay community in Atlanta, but rather a fight against US imperialism and capitalism. Studying these local marches from global perspective can help us think about the transnational connections we have and how our demonstrations are often a fight against a much bigger power than the single-issue that the media may portray.

What I would like to do with this project is begin a WordPress website that highlights some of my research with the primary source, the Great Speckled Bird. Further, I plan to incorporate some maps of the marches in Atlanta to help us visualize the size, location, and impact of these marches on the local community. I will be using ArcGIS Online to build maps of these demonstration locations in Atlanta and the surrounding area. In order to have historically accurate maps, I plan to use maps from the Atlanta Maps Project that is held in the Georgia State library. In addition to visualizing the marches, mapping them may help us see how communities in Atlanta have changed in the last 50 years and learn more about how and where the Atlanta community organized then versus now.

Since I will be using the Great Speckled Bird as my primary source, I will have access to images of these demonstrations within the pages of the Bird. My hope is, if possible, to include images of those locations today so we are able to get a side-by-side visualization of Atlanta’s demonstration spaces then and now.

Of course, there are hundreds of demonstrations mentioned in the pages of the Bird, so for this particular project I will be focusing on the demonstrations and gatherings against South African Apartheid and white-minority-ruled southern Africa that took place in the early years of the 1970s. Atlanta has been a hotbed of Civil Rights demonstration for equality in the US, but it was also a place where hundreds gathered on a fairly regular basis to demonstrate against the abuses in southern Africa and it is important to highlight this connection that Atlantans had (and still have) to communities around the globe.


Ferguson, Karen. Black Politics in New Deal Atlanta. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

Grady-Willis, Winston A. Challenging U.S. Apartheid: Atlanta and Black Struggles for Human Rights, 1960-1977. Durham: Duke University Press, 2006.

Minter, William, Gail Hove and Charles Cobb, Jr., eds. No Easy Victories: African Liberation and American Activists over a Half Century, 1950-2000. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, Inc., 2008.

Plummer, Brenda Gayle. In Search of Power: African Americans in the Era of Decolonization, 1956-1974. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Woodrum, Robert H. “Everybody Was Black Down There” Race and Industrial Change in the Alabama Coalfields. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2007.

Project Proposal

Andy Greenway

My idea for my digital project is a photo essay documenting Confederate monument in my town.  I live in Griffin, and we have four Confederate monuments in our local cemetery.  The problem is that most Confederate monuments have no historical context; the majority of the monuments were erected, not in the immediate wake of the war, but as white, racially-motivated responses to black advancement.  Indeed, every time African-Americans have won a victory—emancipation and citizenship, desegregation and voting rights, or affirmative action and (eventually) the election of our first black president—their gains have been overwhelmingly met by a disproportionate white backlash.

This would merely be a footnote in our nation’s history were it not for the fact that, even today, these monuments to hate provide a rallying point for the new white supremacists and neo-fascists (the Proud Boys, the Atomwaffen Division, the Traditional Workers’ Party, et al,).  Efforts to remove these statutes have thrown communities into turmoil.  The violence in Charlottesville, VA, was centered around efforts to remove statutes of both Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson from the University of Virginia campus. The protest may have been called “Unite the Right”, but it was a thinly-veiled dog-whistle to white supremacists.

The problem with most Confederate monuments is that the majority of them were erected during one of three distinct periods in our nations history: the early 1900s, the mid-1950s, and again in the 1960s.  In the early 1900s, the Industrial Revolution, the boll weevil, the Spanish-American War and, later, the Great War were all factors in America’s increasing urban population, and free blacks in the South were no exception, but this mobility came with a price.  The legal predecessor to Jim Crow—the Black Codes—were created during the latter years of the 19th century to regulate a constantly-shifting populace.  The Black Codes both insured that white supremacy would govern the South, while guaranteeing that black citizens could not muster the political or social power to challenge the established hierarchy.

Another round of monuments went up in the mid-1950s as a direct response to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in the 1954 Brown v. Topeka Board of Education and the desegregation of our nation’s schools.  When southern official weren’t closing public schools, creating private academies and religious schools, and providing vouchers for white children to attend segregation academies they were approving new statuary.  The monument to William Thomas Overby, for example, was erected in Newnan, GA, in 1955 and continues to be a focal point for an annual Nazi celebration in town and at the Georgia Peach Oyster Bar in Draketown, a few miles west of Newnan.  Any discussion about possibly removing the Overby in Newnan is usually met with cries of “But that’s erasing history!”  It is not.  There is no historical context for these monuments.  These aren’t dedications to heroes and so-called “great men”.  The men of the Confederacy were traitors, full stop.

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 a new crop of monuments sprang up all across the South.  Stone Mountain, with its racist relief, was opened on April 4, 1965—the centennial anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination.  Additionally, Georgia state legislature voted to change the state flag in 1965 to feature the Confederate battle flag—the “Stars and Bars”—as the background.  Two years later the new Governor’s mansion, a 30-room Greek revival atrocity straight from the plantation, was opened.  The message was clear: the state was the new plantation, and master had himself a fine new home.

The primary argument against destroying these monuments is the false belief that that represents revisionism at its worst, but does that line of reasoning work when considering the fact that these monuments to hate and white supremacy are the physical manifestations of revisionist history?  I don’t think so.

Project Proposal

A Culture of Letters

For my digital history project I would like to examine the emergence of a culture of letters that developed in England after the 1840 Postal Reform Act through a digital exhibit presented on Omeka. This reform facilitated a marked change in communication across the country, and its impacts eventually made their way to the United States and had similar effects. The reform centralized the postal service, established a uniform rate for postal deliveries, and further expanded a growing communication network within the country. While letter writing had long been popular, the Postal Reform Act further increased accessibility through the newly implemented, uniform low cost that one paid when sending a letter instead of upon arrival. These changes allowed more people to regularly take part in this type of communication. Letters and letter writing pervaded society, ranging from the materials used for writing and their developments to the use of letters in popular literature.

The exhibit will have three main thematic sections. The first section will cover efforts to cultivate competent letter writers through examining letter writing manuals and extant letters. These manuals included letter templates and over time grew from primarily covering business related topics to almost any topic, including domestic matters. The second section will cover material innovations related to and spurred by the increase in those writing letters; the expansion of the postal system and increased access for all classes increased the development and importance of writing implements and accompanying materials in society. Finally, the third section will examine the influence of the culture of letters on literary forms of the time. Popular literature began incorporating epistolary forms, with important plot points unveiled to characters via letters. This literary use was especially true within the domestic sphere for women, helping cement the era as a culture of letters. Even though the popularity of writing letters has since waned due to further technological advancements, the effects of the culture of letters was broad and facilitated greater communication within the country and global society.

This project will be presented in the form of a smaller exhibit with a range of artifact types on Omeka, with the potential for more as I continue my research. Since this exhibit is hypothetical, all of the artifacts so far are objects and archival sources contained in private and special collections from various institutions that are available to view online. This project will be compiling and interpreting them together even though physically it would not be feasible. I have previously worked on this topic in some capacity, but would like to expand it onto a digital platform in order to incorporate a visual component for my research. Omeka would allow for a clearer interpretation and integration of artifacts in relation to the development of a culture of letters in nineteenth century Britain.


Preliminary Bibliography

Bannet, Eve Tavor. Empire of Letters: Letter Manuals and Transatlantic Correspondence, 1688-1820. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Cohen, Michael. “A Fountain Pen of Good Repute” in New England Review 31, no 4. (2010) pgs 176-180.

Daniels, Maygene. “The Ingenious Pen: American Writing Implements from the Eighteenth Century to the Twentieth,” in The American Archivist 43, no 3 (1980) Pgs 312-324.

Dierks, Konstantin. In My Power: Letter Writing and Communications in Early America. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.

Golden, Catherine J. “”Why Is a Raven Like a Writing Desk?” Post Office Reform, Collectible Commodities, and Victorian Culture” in The Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: Select Papers, 2006-2009 edited by Thomas Lera. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2010.

Whyman, Susan E. The Pen and the People: English Letter Writers 1660-1800. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Project Proposal​

In recent years the idea of the “white savior” has been heightened with the release of movies such as The Help, Hidden Figures, and The Green Book. Specifically, in the case of The Green Book, it is interesting to see how a movie celebrates the spaces that were created for blacks; while in the present day those spaces have been destroyed by the gentrification and the making of new highways. When thinking of these spaces, it is hard to imagine what America could have been like before.

For my project, I hope to document the historic Negro Motorist Green Book locations in Atlanta from the late 1940s to the early 1950s.  In a society where the history of African Americans is overlooked, and the spaces that they historically occupied are destroyed or gentrified. In recent years the Black people have been trying to combat gentrification and the displacement of their community through the use of activism and property ownership. Through my project, I hope to see the past buildings that existed in black spaces that helped in facilitating and creating the community for African Americans. Additionally, I hope that this project can be used in a broader context through black institutions in Atlanta to reflect on the historical spaces that were created and the ways in which these spaces can be created again to help in facilitating a national community. Furthermore, I think it would also be beneficial to have a resource where these spaces can be archived within history.

For this project, I hope to use the archived Negro Motorist Green Books in digital archives of the New York Public Library, Smithsonian, and the University of South Carolina. Through these archived sources, I hope to get locations of each of the spaces and any other material that I might be able to glean from them such as how the book operated and received its information. I will also visit the Auburn Avenue Research Libraries to see if they have images or the locations as well as general images of Atlanta at the time that I can utilize to document the period. Because these sources fall under copyright laws, I will also find a way to display the metadata of each of the images I am utilizing. Additionally, If I have time left, I will try to add recordings of individuals who lived in Atlanta during this time and might have visited some of these locations. For this project, I hope to utilize ArcGIS to map each of the locations that are collected from the Green Books and then add images of the locations as well as more information on the specific point. Additionally, to add more context to the project, I will embed the map onto a WordPress page to contextualize it with the help of the primary and secondary sources I have found.

Next steps for the project:

1) Look through the primary sources and try to plot the spaces and locations

2) Find images for each of the areas

3) Add locations on ArcGIS map, and color coordinate each of the points based on the type of business it is

4) Place images found on object

5) Add image onto the website and contextualize the project


Sources I will be using:

Grigsby Bates, Karen. “The Green Book: Celebrating ‘The Bible of Black Travel.’” National Public Radio. (March 22, 2019).

Townsend, Jacinda. “Driving While Black.” Smithsonian 46, no. 11 (April 2016): 51–53.

“The Overground Rail Road.” Newsweek Global 168, no. 10 (March 17, 2017): 28–37.

Jackson, Jenn M. “Racial Roadblocks: American Anti-Blackness in Motion.” Bitch Magazine: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, no. 79 (Summer 2018): 18–19.

Hilbring, Veronica. “Ready for Takeoff: MAPPING THE BLACK TRAVEL RENAISSANCE.” Bitch Magazine: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, no. 79 (Summer 2018): 64–67.

Project Proposal

Going off of a project I have partially completed last year, I chose the topic of cooking, memory, and family traditions. I will use the personal stories collected in oral histories to draw larger themes and historical context out of the topic. Using oral histories completed last semester, my project will examine how food is linked with memory. The project will trace the relationship between food, the act of cooking and the way that generations have made meaning out of their lives and their history through cooking. This project will examine foodways, cooking, and their relationship to memory, as well as incorporate various other elements aside from oral interviews, such as recipes, cookbooks, and photographs. More specifically, I will use stories taken from my grandmother about her life and specifically dig into her relationship with cooking and how she has used cooking for her family throughout her life as a way to show her love. I will then examine the way that her relationship with cooking has shaped her relationships with her loved ones and her memories, as well as place those memories into a larger story that examines how foodways and cooking affect memory of an event or a time, place or region in our life.

This project will use food and cooking to look at historical themes and the larger context surrounding the South, food, family and memory. Food history and the examination of foodways has been used to look at larger historical narratives and frames the history of a place and its people through how it relates to food. My project will aim to shed light on the way that memory and cooking are linked, and how someone can associate a particular moment or time in their life with a specific dish. This is worth doing because memory and history are linked inextricably and how people remember certain times in their lives can tell us a lot about their personal history and the larger societal history as well. Food is a good way to do this because it a very visceral experience where you are physically tasting something and physically creating something. Food and cooking can also tell us a lot about a particular person, culture, and place. Examining foodways in its larger historical context is another way to connect the past to the present and to interpret the South and its history.

Because this exhibit will prominently feature oral histories, the interviewee will be a stakeholder in the project. While I have discussed the project idea with my grandmother last semester, I would like to also discuss with her the use of these oral histories on an online platform. Since this was not the original plan for them, privacy and ownership are something to consider. When I originally began this project, the expected audience was my family, but as I have expanded it, I hope it would have appeal to a larger audience. Food studies and food history has become increasingly popular and is used in public history spheres, so I think this project would fit into the larger interest surrounding the types of literature written on this.

Using Omeka, I will be crafting an online exhibit, which will mainly use oral histories as the source of evidence. However, I will also be using photos, recipes, and artifacts related to cooking in the exhibit. On my larger site, I will also include interpretive context about the larger historical narratives and so I will be consulting other sources in my project. Through Omeka, I will create my collection and exhibit. I also will host the oral histories and transcripts there as well. Since Omeka has the right functionality for the various components of my project, I don’t anticipate having to use any other medium for this project.


These are the preliminary sources I have so far:

Edge, John T. The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South. New York: Penguin Books, 2018.

Twitty, Michael. The Cooking Gene: A Journey through African American Culinary History in the Old South. New York, NY: Amistad, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2018.

Ferris, Marcie Cohen. The Edible South: The Power of Food and the Making of an American Region. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016.

Vester, Katharina. A Taste of Power: Food and American Identities. Oakland, Ca: University of California Press, 2015.

Engelhardt, Elizabeth S. D. A Mess of Greens: Southern Gender and Southern Food. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2011.





Project Proposal – Corey Couch

0February 27, 2019Written by KELPFOOTEdit”Project Proposal – Corey Couch”

Prominent Filmmakers and Connections to Map – Influences and Partnerships in Production

Howard University:
Bradford Young 
Ava DuVerney 
Jenn Nkiru — influenced by Kahlil Joseph
Ernest Dickerson
Malik Sayeed

New York University:
Terence Nance – Linked in by Ummah Chroma

UCLA – L.A. Rebellion:
Haile Gerima
Arthur Jafa
Charles Burnett
Barbara McCullough
Julie Dash
Larry Clark

~Maybe~ Performers: Barbara-O, Sy Richardson in L.A. Rebellion films; Childish Gambino, Grace Jones, Storyboard P, Kamasi Washington – high concept actors that repeatedly show up in this sort of work

The first step is to find the research and refine it to works on just the production processes, the collaborations, and the aesthetic/productive lineage that is being passed on. I think I will do this using a few shorter essays rather than a standard research paper. 

There would be one on the L.A. Rebellion in its time, one on the contemporary Howard connections, and one on the interests, inspirations, production processes, and aesthetics that have been passed down this lineage through Haile Gerima and Arthur Jafa.

The second step is to create a graphic visualization using visualization software to represent the bare bones connections. The graphic visualization is not intended to contextualize– just quickly represent the information that would usually take reading through the essays to parse out all of the overlapping of collaborative work between projects that is going on here. I am absolutely scared this may get very messy, and my method will be the wrong decision, but it’s experimental, after all. If I try, and I’m not happy with it, I figure at least I have done all the work I need to try again with something else. I will likely have to limit the representation of collaborative production projects to major works of the filmmakers in question since there are so many, but I will make that decision once I get there. I may also decide to do two visualizations– L.A. Rebellion and Howard– then a third graph with just major crossovers.

  1. L.A. Rebellion, generally speaking, was influenced by Third Worldist Filmmaking Practices and Italian Neorealism against Hollywood standards. I need to go back and find the research on their development and flesh out a summarized combination of the work that has been done on their inception and development.
  2. Howard University collaborations function in much the same way, and many of them were taught by Haile Gerima of the L.A. Rebellion. There is a connection that can be mapped not only through the two groups in terms of influence but also between each other in terms of collaborations and production projects– then and now.
  3. Are there any conclusions that can be tentatively drawn from the research that might be more easily conveyed through this map? In other words, does the map succeed, on some level, in quickly relaying the productive and aesthetic connections within this lineage?
  4. Finally, the goal of this project is to dive into the research once more and pull those important details concerning process and sensibilities into fleshed out works. I still want a portion of this project to have the fuller historical context available should readers be interested. Compiling the research and creating the chart are my first priorities, then.
  5. However, I have a bonus question that I am after if I can get to it during the course of this project: Does looking at what productive and aesthetic conventions that have been passed down through the Howard/L.A. Rebellion lineage tell us anything about how collaborative practices have needed to adjust within this historical moment more generally? In other words, if we are treating those practices, interests, and formal sensibilities that still resonate as crucial within revolutionary orientations towards black filmmaking as a controlled variable, what is newly resonant for revolutionary black filmmakers that wasn’t before? What seems less important now? 

The Tie-Dye Binder

During the 1960s a new form of journalism began to develop, thoughtfully titled “new journalism,” of which several journalists who are currently renowned were part of, including Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote, and Hunter S. Thompson. There were many aspects that separated this style of writing from traditional journalism, but the most important and the most relevant to my project is that the writers would immerse themselves into the story—rather than playing the role as a detached observer who simply relays facts, the journalists actually became part of the story.

Because the period that I am researching (the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s) is recent enough, I am lucky enough to be able to conduct oral history interviews with people who actually lived during the era. By conducting these interviews, I have come to realize the role of an oral history interviewer is similar to that of journalist. This laid the foundation for my project: to relay oral histories in the same fashion as the “new journalists” of the 1960s. In my desk at home, I have a tie-dye print binder that I have been adding research materials to since I got accepted to graduate school in February 2018. In the back of this binder are letters and transcripts from conversations I have had with people including the guitarist for San Francisco’s first psychedelic band, one of the creators of liquid light shows, Charles Manson’s “right-hand man”, and some of the everyday people who resided in Haight-Ashbury during the middle to late Sixties. When writing my master’s thesis, or possibly even an eventual dissertation or book, I may only use a quote or two taken from these interviews; however there is certainly so much information that was shared. The focus of this project will thus allow me to present more of the interview, as well as share more information about the interviewees. The title of this “behind-the-scenes” blog is The Tie-Dye Binder, and the content management system I will be using is WordPress.

When researching to see if something similar to The Tie-Dye Binder had been done before to give me more ideas, I found that approaching oral histories as journalism is not new. In fact, oral histories have their origin in journalism—Professor Allen Nevins of Columbia University, who used to be a journalist was “dismayed to learn that for many famous personnages [sic] the only available summary of their contributions to society was in their obituaries,” he then sought out to preserve their historical records while living with a tape recorder.[1] A more direct example of using history as a form of journalism is Thomas Friedman’s 1986 book From Beirut to Jerusalem, in which Friedman shares stories from his days as a journalist in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War and Jerusalem during the First Intifada—in order to fully cover these stories, Friedman shares the history that led to these events.

I would love to see this blog become popular enough to the point that it is more than just a hobby of mine, in which case I would say the ultimate goal of this blog is to remove the idea that researching for one’s thesis is a draconian practice, and that it can be something fun and exciting. In the meantime, as only a very small audience will be reading The Tie-Dye Binder, the early benefits are mostly about self-improvement—the blog will allow me to work on skills relevant to being a historian in the 21st century, such as writing for a public audience and communicating history through a variety of different mediums.[2]

Because the blog posts I am writing deal with people who are still living, there are certainly some privacy issues to be concerned with. Now that I am further along into graduate school I have realized the importance of asking for permission to use a person’s responses for any future academic work—for some of my earlier interviews, I had asked if I may use their responses for my master’s thesis specifically, which reaches a more limited audience than WordPress. For this reason, unless it is someone who gave me explicit permission to use their name in any way that I choose, I will be using either pseudonyms or referring to them in a vague manner.

For now, The Tie-Dye Binder will only feature written posts by me, but now that I have honed my thesis to being a microhistory on the counterculture of Atlanta, I hope to conduct video interviews with people over the summer, and perhaps index them using the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer, or edit the interview to only show snippets that are relevant to my posts, and embed them on The Tie-Dye Binder. The benefit here is that it will allow the audience to see the interview in real time, and it will be an excellent accompaniment to the posts I make. If I do end up posting the videos, I will certainly need to gain permission from the interviewees, as it will remove their potential anonymity.

[1] Richard Lochead, “Three Approaches to Oral History: The Journalistic, the Academic, and the Archival.” Canadian Oral History Association Journal 1 (1975): 5. Accessed March 22, 2019.

[2] Kritika Agarwal, “Want to Write for the AHA?” Perspectives On History, March 27, 2018, accessed March 20, 2019,


Feldstein, Mark. “Kissing Cousins: Journalism and Oral History.” The Oral History Review 31, no. 1 (2004): 1-22.

Lochead, Richard. “Three Approaches to Oral History: The Journalistic, the Academic, and the Archival.” Canadian Oral History Association Journal 1 (1975): 5-12. Accessed March 22, 2019.

O’Brien, Keith. “The Power of Oral History as Journalism.” Nieman Foundation. May 5, 2016. Accessed March 22, 2019.

Wen, Shuang. “Two Sides of the Story: How Historians and Journalists Can Work Together.” Perspectives on History, October 1, 2015. Accessed March 22, 2019.

Zoellick, Robert B. “Journalists as Historians.” Foreign Policy, no. 98 (1995): 198-202. doi:10.2307/1148966.

Video Games as Sources (JK’s Proposal)

Scope and Outline

This project will focus on analyzing software, namely code and software comments, as a record/primary source. The main intent of this project is to demonstrate that source code is an important resource for historians to understand how to use and to encourage archivist to preserve in various forms. To do this, I’ll need to establish how software code can be “read” and utilized as a record. A record, in this case, is a concept. This will be defined by the project, but it is acceptable to think of it as a primary source. The purpose of utilizing code as a source is to try to find an innovative method for examining something, source code, and software, that is around at all time. Within that software are many comments written by the developers who created them that can give us insight into the development process of software. Video games represent an interesting type of media, but to “read them” requires a different set of skills than traditional sources. This means there is a need to explain how to mine source code for records of the process used to create them.

To explain the value of source code, the 1990’s gaming culture will be used as the lens to understand the importance of this type of record. This can be accomplished by explaining how video games represent the period in which they were created. Principally this will be done by examining these games of ID software. This includes such iconic games as Doom, Wolfenstein 3d, and Quake. These are foundational games for modern gaming. Many coders, designers, and general gaming enthusiast have experiences with these titles. Through this developer, we can see several themes, which include gender and video games, early game development processes, and game modding.

Out of these three themes, gender and video games are the most timely and interesting given the still active gamer gate enthusiasts that can be found online harassing women or review bombing movies such as Captain Marvel. The other themes are still relevant. Early gaming development includes discussions of distribution (shareware), marketing (early internet), and other topics that can paint a picture of how cultural products were created and disseminated. Modding is also an important theme to explore as many developers got their starts as programmers through modding available games like Doom, Quake or Wolfenstein.


This project will focus on two major sources, video game source code, and early websites. ID software makes much of their original software available online via git hub. ( This code is uncompiled, which means it is in is the rawest state. In this state, it can be”read” for comments, how the code was designed and written, and other types of assets that might be included. To read this code, I will be utilizing various text editors, such as notepad++, to find trends in the code and gain a sense at how it has been programmed. Emulators and later versions of some of the games will also be run to examine how gameplay works, to capture examples of the games running, and other visuals

Early websites will be examined using the internet archive way back machine. These views are not a comprehensive resource of the early web, but it does provide a sampled version of it. The significant issues are contextualizing this sampled view of the early internet, and explaining how the views presented may be missing some information. These problems will be fully acknowledged when they are referenced.

There should be no intellectual property issues as iD software has a history of providing open access to some of their intellectual property. By placing source code on GitHub and expressly allowing users to modify and utilize it, iD is giving license to work with this code. The Internet Archive is a publicly available collection of sources that are made available for research purposes. Even capturing video game playthroughs is considered within a users rights and will not have any intellectual property issues.

Project Medium

This project will be a website built on Word Press that will focus on utilizing static pages to explore the critical topics of the project. These pages will be visual essays, with an emphasis on the visuals, whether they be captures from games/websites or visual representations of code. The code can be rendered in WordPress or captured from text editors. The key will be creating a colorful representation that’s appropriate for each essay. See cover image for Sources for an example of code captured from a text editor and see below for a standard WordPress rendering of code. The WordPress rendering is not very visual but is very functional. Capturing from a text editor requires a simple screen capture program.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <string.h>
#include <process.h>
#include <conio.h>
#include <dos.h>

#include "doomnet.h"
//#include "ipxstr.h"
#include "ipx_frch.h"

While WordPress is blog focused, there are robust tools for creating page structures and navigation for static content. The goal is to make these static pages as visual as possible, given the limitations of WordPress. Pages will also include some embedded captures of games played through emulators. These videos will be hosted on YouTube, embedded in various pages. Blogging will also be a feature of the site, but the focus this semester is to create a guided exploration of the main topics through visual essays. The preservation resources section of the website will include a blog that will compile news and posts related to video game preservation and intellectual property. This will all be hosted privately on a self-hosted instance of WordPress through Dream Host. This will provide me greater access to tweak the code, add other content, and generally have greater control over the site as need be.

Site Layout

  • About
    • Project Proposal
    • Bibliography
  • Video Games (Essays)
    • Games As Sources
    • Bro gamer culture
    • Development of early games
    • Modding Culture
  • Video game preservation (resources)
    • Basics of Digital Preservation
    • Definitions/Glossary
    • Preservation Blog

Secondary Sources

  • Donovan, Tristan. Replay: The History of Video Games. East Sussex [England]: Yellow Ant, 2010.
  • Stanton, Richard. A Brief History of Video Games. Brief History of. 2015.
  • Kent, Steve L. The Ultimate History of Video Games : From Pong to Pokémon and beyond : The Story behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World. 1st ed. Roseville, Calif.: Prima Pub., 2001.
  • Goldberg, Harold. All Your Base Are Belong to Us : How Fifty Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture. 1st ed. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2011.
  • Burnham, Van., and Ralph H. Baer. Supercade : A Visual History of the Videogame Age, 1971-1984. 1st ed. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2001.
  • Bissell, Tom. Extra Lives : Why Video Games Matter. 1st ed. New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 2010.
  • Winnerling, Tobias, and Florian Kerschbaumer. Early Modernity and Video Games. 2014.
  • Wolf, Mark J. P. Before the Crash Early Video Game History. Contemporary Approaches to Film and Television Series. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2012.
  • Guins, Lowood, Guins, Raiford, Lowood, Henry, and Ebrary, Inc. Debugging Game History : A Critical Lexicon. Game Histories. 2016.
  • Kowert, Rachel, Thorsten Quandt, and Ebooks Corporation. The Video Game Debate : Unravelling the Physical, Social, and Psychological Effects of Digital Games. 2016.
  • Poole, Steven. Trigger Happy. Arcade Publishing, 2011.
  • Mott, Tony., and Peter. Molyneux. 1001 Video Games You Must Play before You Die. New York: Universe, 2010.
  • Craddock, David L. Break out : How the Apple II Launched the PC Gaming Revolution. 2017
  • Swalwell, Melanie, Helen Stuckey, Angela Ndalianis, and ProQuest. Fans and Videogames : Histories, Fandom, Archives. Routledge Advances in Game Studies ; 9. 2017.
  • Arsenault, Dominic. Super Power, Spoony Bards, and Silverware : The Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Platform Studies. 2017.
  • Internet archive
  • Herz, J. C. Joystick Nation : How Videogames Ate Our Quarters, Won Our Hearts, and Rewired Our Minds. 1st ed. Boston: Little, Brown, and, 1997.
  • Primary Sources