When our digital history unit starts tomorrow, we’ll be considering how digitization does — and doesn’t — change the discipline of history. For example: how do technological changes not only help us to preserve and share primary sources, but give us new ways of analyzing and interpreting them?
To cue you up for that discussion… please take a few minutes to read Barack Obama’s victory speech from Election Night, 2008. Think about it as a kind of primary source: What’s the context for the speech? (Who’s the author? What’s his audience? What’s his purpose? What are the problems and possibilities of such primary sources? (Here’s an essay on how a historian interprets speeches given by pre-Civil War abolitionists.) What words or themes jumped out at you?)