History & the Hotline Bling: Get the App

Curatescape creates an opportunity for the public to “pin” that location’s history with a layered experience of oral storytelling, photos and links to read. As Mark Tebeau wrote in his article Listening to the City: Oral History and Place in the Digital Age, “The mobile computing revolution offers tantalizing possibilities to archivists, historians, and curators interested in reaching broader public audiences.” Now if we can just make sure the Internet connection is feeling equitable to everyone.

Chewie in front of the Fox Theatre. Click photo for a Spokane Historical story.

The Spokane Historical app offered an opportunity to deepen my education, culture and interactivity with my surroundings. There was a concern that I would be taken out of the moment by having my face in the screen but then a sweaty resignation overtook me – MY FACE MELDED WITH THE PHONE SCREEN WAY BACK. I surrendered to the digital experience offered by a community of EWU history students who were asking me to join them on a stroll through time and geek out. The tags, maps and tours added to my user experience while anticipating my next lilac city tale from the past. My pug Chewie assisted with the interactivity by posing in front of our favorite historical places.

Photo: Chewie at Doyle’s Ice Cream parlor in West Central Spokane. Click photo for a Spokane Historical story.

While our history is walkable and nearby, the article Some Account of an Extraordinary Traveler: Using Virtual Tours to Access Remote Heritage Sites of Inuit Cultural Knowledge how VR tours are potentially powerful tools for connecting people to heritage sites that might otherwise not be accessible. Apps such as this or Mark Tebeau’s O.G. Cleveland Historical give an unconventional way for people to engage in community projects and stimulate tourism.

Chewie being a tourist in her hometown at Riverfront Park. Click photo for Spokane Historical story.

When Digital Humanities Meets the Masses

Tik Tok and the Kardashians can be labelled as important to the progression of Digital Humanities. No really.

HOW: Both are seismic shifts in cultural impact and digital culture. In an age where the printed word is no longer the main medium for knowledge, production and distribution (Digital Humanities, Wikipedia) these influencers thrive by how the Calabasas sisters create new techniques in marketing and self-promotion emulated by millions of Instafanatics and the soon-to-be-banned-or-will-it app has changed how media presents the message. Just one request please…no more moms drunk on Pinot Grigio dancing to WAP.

Kim Kardashian-West in Yeezy Season 6 fashion.

WHAT: Digitial Humanities furthermore focus on working with texts and images, as most work in digital history does. (Wiley.com) While the topics selected above seem inconsequential, the online communities and cultures surrounding these digital leaders will require documentation by digital archivists and face future challenges of how to back up and file their rise when the platforms evolve and disappear.

WHY: The reach for digital humanities can go beyond just academia but to the masses since the enthusiasm for this can be embodied in pop culture and more high-minded goals to advance civilization. (But hey tips to a good contour for cheekbones while mimicking a HBCU high kick with your girlfriends helps ease the bleakness you know what I’m saying.) A point made in New Republic’s Digital Humanities is Taking Over the English Department, basic emphasis on teamwork and building, as opposed to solitary intellection, is common to all stripes of digital humanists. Digital_Humanities leaves no doubt that the future of the field belongs to democratic groups, not elitist individuals.

TIME IS NOW: The disappearance of traditional, scholarly functions appears exaggerated since the ivory towers will always have a place for this but elevate it with the embrace of digital possibilities and carry people who previously experienced exclusion. The hard sell employed by Kris Jenner’s brood or the legion of Tik Tok stans to academics may not alleviate anxiety for academics and historians but they are already in the digital wading pool due to the pressures of COVID-19 to reach their students. The revolution has already begun…

Enjoy Mr. Sandman Cat a viral sensation on Tik-Tok.