Lviv Interactive and "Digital Urban History" MA course
During the winter term of 2021/2022, Dr Martin Rohde conducted a MA seminar course on "Digital Urban History" ("Stadtgeschichte Digital") at the University of Halle-Wittenberg in cooperation with the Center for Urban History.
At the seminar, students were introduced to Lviv's history through public and digital history approaches of the Lviv Interactive project. They were also invited to make their own research and authorship contributions within the project framework. Students have had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the toolkit which we use to present the history of the city in an online format. This cooperation resulted in the three publications for Lviv Interactive.
The comment by Dr Martin Rohde on the course and its outcomes: "This MA course was taught as a part of the history curriculum, in the module "Contemporary Historical Culture". This is a 5 ECTS course, and the final exam does not consist of a usual paper, but a "multimedia object". In cooperation with the Center for Urban History, we arranged that this could be any contribution to Lviv interactive, which addresses a desideratum on the site and includes a map and/or other visual materials. Students thereby familiarized themselves with public and digital history approaches, as well as they made a first publication experience.
My idea for the course plan was to provide a brief introduction (with many offers and provided resources for in-depth work on topics of individual interest) into the history of L'viv during the first half of the course. The second half of the course was a guided project seminar. It was my goal to create an environment, in which each and every student felt comfortable sharing his*her ideas, questions, and particularly work-in-progress texts, which were regularly discussed with others.
The second half of the sessions were titled with rather open program points, allowing students to work on their own, providing guidance without interruption their working process by too intense assignments. I offered individual consultations almost every week, while only one consultation – before the writing process was supposed to start – was mandatory. Furthermore, I encouraged my students to articulate their questions via e-mail whenever necessary and answered them as quick and comprehensive as possible, to allow for a consequent work-process during the semester."
The syllabus for the seminar can be found under the following link.
The comment by Sophie Rabenow on the course: "In the fall semester of 2021/22, I was able to participate in one of the digital humanities projects of the Center for Urban History L'viv, thanks to the Center's cooperation with my home university.
The interdisciplinary approach that is encouraged in pursuing the project's aim to explore different perspectives on the city's history provided me with the opportunity to contribute to that aim by incorporating my own scholarly interests, which primarily lie in matters of Jewish history, and the project's topographical access to the investigation of L’viv's past and present.
I have been able to elaborate on subjects very well known to the public, the biographies of Sir Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, through the distinct perspective of spatial historical research, that I thereby acquainted myself with.
I am very grateful for the chance and freedom granted to me by the Center's offer and sincerely hope that many others will enjoy similar experiences in the future."
Students' publications are accessible online and available for reading:
- Virtual walk on L'viv's coffeehouses Before World War One
by Lukas Vogel
- Biographies of Raphael Lemkin and Hersch Lauterpacht in the context of Lviv
by Sophie Rabenow
- Encyclopedia entry on Second Grammar School (1818-1914)
by Tom Schlundt
This cooperation proved to be a productive experience elaborating on multiple dimensions of urban and digital history. Inspired by the outcomes, we look forward to opportunities to multiply the course further.
Seminar designed and conducted by:
Dr. Martin Rohde (Institut für Geschichte, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg)
Cover image: The Café Centralna in 1905. Collection: Oleksandr Korobov / Urban Media Archive of the Center for Urban History