Finding a New Focus

Since my first book was published just a few months ago, I haven’t made much progress toward a second project at this point. Originally, my plan was to write something about wartime slavery. With limited time and resources for research travel, proximity matters, so I was going to start with Wilmington, North Carolina, and then see if I wanted to expand the project. A few weeks ago, however, I was invited to edit a new ABC-Clio encyclopedia on the antebellum era, and I’ve decided to give that a try. But it will mean putting the Wilmington project on the back burner for the next 18 months. I don’t want to give it up entirely, though, in part because three fantastic students in my department have put a lot of effort into gathering 1860 census data and cross-referencing the population and slaveholding schedules with a city directory. I’d like to at least get a basic version of the map together because I know they’d like to see it. I would really also like to incorporate some digital history assignments into the undergraduate methods course I’ll be teaching in Spring 2015, so I wonder if there’s some way I can bring those two things together. Has anyone done small-scale digital history projects with students in this context?

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