Hist 696: Reflections and Final Draft17 Oct 2011
- What is your inquiry question? What do you want your users to learn?
My inquiry questions are “How does space shape religious history and how has religious history shaped space?” and “Can a spatial study of religion point to questions that we have yet thought to ask?” I want my user to come away with a sense of the complexity of the religious landscape, new questions about why certain patterns seem to emerge, and an interest in questions of space as something to be questioned not assumed.
- What is your methodological stance?
Methodologically, I have chosen to make “place” or location my primary unit of analysis, in order to move away from denominations as the basic unit of religious history, and to point to the importance of location in the development of religious practices and beliefs.
- How does your design work to support these goals?
Omeka allows for me to create “place” as an item type, thereby making “place” the fundamental building block of my collections and exhibits.
- What new things do you need to learn?
There are so many new things to learn. I need to learn much about Native American religious practices. I need to learn how to use the Timeline plugin in Omeka. I need to learn how to create my search page. I need to figure out how to define Dublin Core terms… oh dear.
- How will you go about learning these things?
Collaboration! I will solicit contributions from tribal organizations in Connecticut. I will make friends with people who know more about the technical end of Omeka. And I will do a lot of reading.
- What is the rational for the decisions you’re making about source choices (by type, collection, time period, etc.)?
This is further defended in my application, but I have chosen Connecticut as a geographic area because of size, and because I know where to look for resources. I have chosen the time period to cover the period of the establishment of the Congregational Church, as well as Native American religious practice prior to colonization. I have chosen not to limit by religious type, because doing so would reinforce longstanding cultural biases and would deprive the resource of its desired complexity. I have chosen to organize by place, rather than by denomination, to draw attention to places where denominational boundaries fail to provide answers. And I have chosen to focus on geolocation to draw attention to space as a mode of historical inquiry.
- What questions remain for you to provide a convincing grant application?
For the application to be convincing, the narrative needs to draw the reader in and effectively communicate why such a project is useful and why it is important to the reader. I hope that my application communicates my idea well enough and stresses its significance sufficiently to inspire the committee to invest in the project.
And with that, here is my final draft. Thank you everyone for the feedback! It has been very helpful in refining the ideas behind this project.