Scholarship beyond Text
Well-versed in the scholarship of decoding and interpreting written documents, historians may risk narrowing their focus to only those aspects of the past elucidated by the documents in the archives. In this session, four historians describe projects that have opened their investigations of the past beyond written sources—to evidences of the visual and the aural, the spatial and the tactile, the kinetic and the social aspects of the past. In each case, the deployment of new investigative technologies or collaborations with artists, architects, filmmakers, and designers, have upended conventional understandings of historical phenomena and allowed often-silenced figures in the past to take their place in the narrative. To create presentations for nonacademic audiences also encourages historians to explore how laymen, children, and members of minority cultures, construct historical meaning for themselves.