The University Archives and Special Collections kicked off the spring with the Second Annual History Colloquium on the Impact of Digital Technologies on Civil War Studies, held at the newly energy-efficient Finance Center on the Charles Town campus.
Launched last year, the History Colloquium brings scholars, authors, and educators together to explore new research into the most devastating war in American history. This year’s focus was on the evolution and use of technology in Civil War education and research. Topics ranged from virtual battlefield tours to digital archives projects to historical park digital initiatives.
Dr. Donald R. Shaffer, a history professor for the university, delivered the keynote address, “There’s an App for That: Adventures in Using Technology to Teach and Research the American Civil War.” As a Civil War educator, Shaffer explained how technology is elevating student interest in historical research and how he’s embracing social media in his own instruction.
Other topics addressed how digital technologies and Web-based applications are changing the nature of Civil War scholarship and bringing a richer understanding to this complex era.
Shaffer authored "After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans," which won the Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship in 2005. Other panelists included Jim Surkamp, creator of the APUS-sponsored CivilWarScholars.com blog; noted Civil War novelist and historian Bob O’Connor; and representatives from the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the West Virginia GeoExplorer Project.
Contributed by Tiffany Young