Digitizing Military History: New Frontiers in Race, Gender, Urban Studies, and Education

AHA Session 307
Sunday, January 7, 2018: 11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Congressional Room B (Omni Shoreham, West Lobby)
Clifford J. Rogers, United States Military Academy
Amanda Boczar, University of South Florida
John Fahey, United States Military Academy
Cameron McCoy, Brigham Young University

Session Abstract

Digital tools open up a wide variety of opportunities for teachers and learning. This is particularly true for military history, where interactive maps, descriptions of weapons and tactics, video, 3D reconstructions, and embedded primary sources can enrich and enhance a student’s learning experience. While these tools can be used to illustrate military operations, they are also extremely useful to explore other elements of military history ranging from civil-military relations, personnel decisions, and social elements that call attention to race and gender. The United States Military Academy at West Point is heavily investing in digital efforts to teach character development through military history and beyond. “Digitizing Military History” will allow participants to interact with several West Point digital history products and their authors by exploring how military history can be used to understand society, culture and politics. Though designed specifically for use by West Point cadets, the books and modules showcased can enhance the evolution of a blended classroom driven by technology and tradition suitable for any audience.

The roundtable will be chaired by Clifford J. Rogers, the senior editor of The West Point History of Warfare, a prize-winning digital history textbook used by all cadets at West Point. The textbook incorporates a wide variety of multi-media and interactive features. The roundtable features Amanda Boczar, Cameron McCoy, and John Fahey and will focus on their recent work in digital history. Dr. Rogers is Amanda Boczar will discuss the West Point Guide to Gender and Warfare, part of a series that also includes a guide to the Civil Rights Movement. Cameron McCoy will present his character module on Marine Corps race relations during World War II. Designed to force cadets to consider issues surrounding segregation, equal treatment, and exclusion, “The Marines of Montfort Point and their Struggle for Legitimacy in Jim Crow America” addresses the deep contradictions African American servicemen faced during the World War II and Jim Crow era. John Fahey will discuss his module on ethnic conflict in post-World War I Poland. “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Jews Caught in the Polish-Ukrainian War in Przemyśl, Galicia (1918)” addresses the challenges multi-ethnic communities faced as the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed and was replaced by a national state. This module will assist cadets in considering the moral and practical challenges facing minority communities stuck in the middle of ethnic conflict.

After brief presentations by the various authors and time for general questions, the roundtable will offer opportunities for attendees to interact with the various teaching modules and books. The participants will provide iPads and laptops and run sample discussion groups so that the audience and panel members will be able to get a better sense of how they might use comparable techniques and tools at their home institutions.

See more of: AHA Sessions