Monday, February 24, 2014

What is the use of digital history?

Dear Reader,

Today, at the Indiana Wesleyan Social Science lunch table, there was very interesting discussion about the value of digital history, and the digital forum and blogosphere in general. A number of good objections were raised, along the lines of  J.R.R. Tolkien's response to C.S. Lewis being, "every man's theologian." With the invention of the internet, anyone can write their opinion on any subject, and publish it in a digital format.

I am a graduate student in history, and I endeavor to post on my subject field- the transatlantic world in the early modern period. However, some would argue, that through by-passing the peer-review process, my work on Kabinettskriege is not helpful, and might be dangerous.

I have published articles in the standard way, but I am interested in writing Kabinettskriege for different reasons. In the modern academic setting, certain subjects are neglected, for very good reasons. Tactical military history, so long the focus of historians, has been discarded for the New Military History. (Which is not a bad thing, in my opinion.)

However, in the absence of interested peer-reviewed journals, is it truly harmful to use the internet as a medium for this type of history?

Should I reconstruct Kabinettskriege along more formal lines, using footnotes and sources?

If any historians have thoughts, I would love to hear them.

Thanks for Reading,

Alex Burns

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