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#hist5702x unessays, winter 2014

Shawn Graham, Author

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Mallory's Story

An Odyssey

Alas, the Winter 2014 semester has come to an end which means
HIST5702x has as well. As part of the course, a final reflection, or
“unessay” has been assigned to us. Seeking to subvert all of the things
we know and love about traditional essays, the unessay can be
in any form, style, or perspective. Once again, HIST5702x has provided
me with an opportunity to think critically and creatively at the same time—something for which I am grateful.

As a product of the essay—something that Shawn pointed out to all of
us during our first seminar—I never quite realized the extent of the
conventions and constrictions put upon me when I conduct my historical
research and writing. Through this unessay, I seek to break with many
conventions. Firstly, I am making this unessay open to all those who
wish to view it; it will be freely and willingly published online.
Secondly, it will not contain a title page, double spacing, or 12 point
Times New Roman font (stapled at the top left hand corner of the page).
And most importantly, it will not be restricted to one document. One of
the most important things I have taken away (or regained) from HIST5702x
is a willingness to be unconventional. Think critically, but make use
of other tools and mediums in the process–let it contribute to your research, findings, and overall presentation.

If you’ve been following along with my blog in any capacity, you’ll
know that the semester has been exciting, frustrating, and enlightening
all at the same time. The goal of this final project is to demonstrate
to you how someone with no understanding or awareness of the digital
humanities can, in only a few short months, effectively engage with
its concepts and tools. Like any good adventure, I’ve met with
successes, failures, and important lessons.

Thus, the premise of this ‘unessay’ is an odyssey.. .  .    .     .      .       .        .         .          .

The first stop is right here: the blog post. Throughout the course of
our Air Canada project and our class discussions, the blogs have been a
place for us to organize our thoughts, reflect on discussions, and ask
questions of our readers. So often when students and historians submerse
themselves in their research, they are alone on the journey. They have
no one with whom they can discuss their findings, their ideas, and if it
all makes sense. In maintaining an online, connected presence, digital
historians can engage with the academic community–ask questions and be
questioned–during their research process.

Of course, we must exist beyond the blog…the next stop in our journey is the video.

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