Digital History Initiatives

Faculty, graduate and undergraduate students in the History Department are involved in a wide variety of digital history initiatives, touching on diverse thematic, geographic and temporal areas. We invite you to follow the links below to learn more about specific projects. 

BattleofAdwa.org supplements and extends The Battle of Adwa: African Victory in the Age of Empire, a book published by Professor Raymond Jonas in 2011. The website includes an illustrated discussion of the historic Adwa campaign undertaken by Emperor Menelik and Empress Taytu as well as a timeline and a full bibliography (archival and print) related to the Adwa story. It showcases "born-digital" material designed to enhance understandings of this historic event.

BlackPast.org is a 10,000-page online reference guide focused on African American history in the United States and on the history of the more than one billion people of African ancestry around the world. Founded by Professor Quintard Taylor, the site includes a encyclopedia of nearly 3,000 entries; the complete transcripts of nearly 300 speeches by African Americans, other people of African ancestry, and those concerned about race, given between 1789 and 2012; over 140 full text primary documents, bibliographies; timelines and six gateway pages with links to digital archive collections, African and African American museums and research centers, genealogical research websites; and more than 200 other website resources on African American and global African history. Dozens of UW students as well as other scholars have contributed to the project.

The Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights Projects are directed by Professor James N. Gregory and supported by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, and the Center for the Study of Pacific Northwest. The eleven projects, which include themes as varied as the Great Depression in Washington State and Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History, include nearly one hundred video oral history interviews, several thousand photographs, documents, and digitized newspaper articles. Included are films, slide shows, and lesson plans for teachers. The projects also feature dozens of historical essays about important issues, events, and people, many written by undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Washington.

Silk Road Seattle is an ongoing public education project using the "Silk Road" theme to explore cultural interaction across Eurasia from the beginning of the Common Era to the Seventeenth Century. The website, a project of Professor Dan Waugh, includes historical texts, illustrations of historic cities and architecture, extensive annotated bibliographies of resources, an electronic atlas, and a stunning virtual art exhibit drawing on museum collections from around the world.

Sephardic Studies InitiativeAs home to one of the largest and most vibrant Sephardic communities in the United States, Seattle offers an ideal environment in which to preserve the legacy of the Sephardic Jewish experience. Partnering with community leaders, the Sephardic Studies Initiative of the Stroum Jewish Studies Program at the University of Washington aims to establish a world-renowned program for the study, teaching, and perpetuation of Sephardic culture and the Ladino language. A key aspect of the initiative is Sephardic Treasures, which seeks to uncover, collect, preserve, digitize and make accessible the rich heritage of the Sephardic Jews. Learn more.

South Lake Union Stories is a new digital history project organized by Professor Margaret O’Mara. Based on original, primary-source based research completed by students in a course on Urban History, the website features visually rich micro-histories on almost every block in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. Read more about the initiative on the History News Network (HNN) site.