Course Introduction

The First and Second World Wars were human-made catastrophes that engulfed the globe and killed upwards of eighty million people, including tens of millions of civilians. Each war remade the world. Their aftershocks reverberate today and continue to shape global politics.

This class explores the history of both wars, focusing on military technology, ethics, racism, empire, gender and sexuality, and social history. We will use digital methods to uncover and share stories from the wars that shaped the modern world. No prior tech experience needed. 

This course has two core objectives: 

  • to investigate the histories of World Wars I and II, introducing students to major narratives and questions along the way, and 
  • to teach students to use and evaluate digitized historical data and the data science and digital humanities tools that can be used to analyze and represent the World Wars to an audience outside of our class.

Throughout the course, students work on a digital project of their own design that examines the history of the First or Second World War. No prior knowledge of digital tools or digital humanities is required. Absolute beginners are welcome and encouraged. At the same time, people who already have digital skills are just as welcome and will find much that is new to them. Your project will be in one of two areas (you pick): (a) a data science project (data visualization or analysis) or b) a public-facing digital project.