The American Century Project: Bringing into Critical Parity Primary Source Materials, Their Visualization, and Their Composite Analysis

workshop / tutorial
  1. 1. Ben Alexander

    Digital Literary Lab - Stanford University

  2. 2. David West Brown

    University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

  3. 3. Mescal Alexandra

    University of California, Riverside

Work text
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The American Century Project: Bringing into Critical Parity Primary Source Materials, Their Visualization, and Their Composite Analysis


Stanford University Digital Lit. Lab, United States of America


University of California Los Angeles


University of California Riverside


Paul Arthur, University of Western Sidney

Locked Bag 1797
Penrith NSW 2751
Paul Arthur

Converted from a Word document



Pre-Conference Workshop and Tutorial (Round 2)

American Culture
American History
American Television
Broadway Theatre
Cold War

sustainability and preservation
art history
corpora and corpus activities
encoding - theory and practice
film and cinema studies
gender studies
historical studies
digital humanities - nature and significance
digital humanities - institutional support
interface and user experience design
teaching and pedagogy
literary studies
project design
resource creation
and discovery
information architecture
content analysis
digital humanities - facilities
digital humanities - pedagogy and curriculum
creative and performing arts
including writing
cultural studies
history of Humanities Computing/Digital Humanities
digitisation - theory and practice
folklore and oral history
cultural infrastructure
maps and mapping
data mining / text mining

This workshop offers an intellectual and administrative overview of The American Century project. As described, The American Century presents a digital historiography of American culture from approximately 1890 to 1990. The primacy of the project remains an accessible visual platform that allows for new points of entry into the interpretation of The American Century by giving new agency to primary source materials across a broadened range of American cultural evidences, and integrating these archival substantiations with interpretive matrices (algorithms) that allow for newly (and broadly comparative) cultural and historical interpretations of the conceptualization and evolution of The American Century.
Most succinctly, this shapes a new environment for the critical study of American intellectual, cultural, and popular history that further intends a composite parity to primary source materials, and presents them within an intellectual equivalency that balances contemporary strategies of visual access with new processes of comparative analytics.
It is envisioned that this workshop will comprise between 15 and 20 participants from a breadth of technical, academic, and professional backgrounds, including archivists, cultural historians, digital humanities scholars, and scholars and researchers from digital analytics. The purpose of this diverse audience is to exercise the project’s assumptions that sensitive representations of 21st-century cultural historiography will require such a diverse body of cooperating scholars and professionals.
The workshop will cover approximately three hours and follow this structure:
• 10 minutes, introductions.
• 30-minute orientation to the intellectual and technical origins of The American Century Project. Discussion title: ‘The Seen, the Unseen, and the Newly Seen: The American Century (Re)Remembered’.
• 15-minute break.
• 45-minute discussion: ‘All Cultural Is Palimpsestual: (Re)Visualizing Primary Sources in 21st-Century Historiographical Contexts’. This discussion will address new intellectual conceptualizations of primary source materials within 21st-century digital matrices and the logistics (copyright, logistics of working with a breadth of media, popular conceptualizations of American culture, etc.) of compositing these materials into a singular point of historiography. We will further explore the logistics of building cooperation among archivists, academics, digital professionals, and others and how to orient the project for its inclusion in graduate teaching curriculum and provide opportunity for student contribution.
• 15-minute break.
• 45-minute discussion: ‘How We Built It’. This section provides sequential orientation to the technical construction of the project with emphasis on decision-making processes re: technical specs and strategies of visualization and comparative analytics.
• Remaining time: questions and open discussion.

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2015
"Global Digital Humanities"

Hosted at Western Sydney University

Sydney, Australia

June 29, 2015 - July 3, 2015

280 works by 609 authors indexed

Series: ADHO (10)

Organizers: ADHO