HIST 291 @ University of Waterloo


Professor Ian Milligan
HH 114 (Office Hours on Tuesday & Thursday, 10am – 11am)
(519) 888-4567 x32775


Digital history, the application of new and emerging technologies to the study of history, is an exciting new field. In this course, we are going to explore the literature on digital history, and then put theory into practice by digitally collecting, evaluating, and producing historical knowledge. Some critical topics for this course include:

  • What is digital history?
  • How new technology can transform historical work, through introductory data mining, textual analysis, spatial analysis, and data visualization
  • How to put history online: making websites, blogs, and engaging with the public (public history)
  • How digital archives are changing how we preserve history
  • How gaming can shake up the historical landscape

This course will be hands on and a key outcome will be the establishment of a digital portfolio, which will showcase your work with several digital platforms, tools, and languages (including WordPress, Omeka, SketchUp, basic GIS, and basic Python).

How is this course structured?

This course is structured as follows. We meet twice a week as a collective whole in a lecture hall: this is when I’ll introduce main concepts, we’ll do some collective work, and make sure we’re all on the right page. Come prepared to discuss and to try things out.

Our tutorial groups will let us get deeper into projects, and will be where some of the close learning happens. (note: if our lectures are small, I reserve the right to tinker with our course delivery structure!).

Readings are all available online, and are expected to be done as per the syllabus. If you fall behind, you won’t be able to participate in discussion and you won’t be able to complete your projects!