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NERWHA SPRING SYMPOSIUM
April 21, 2018
“Architectural History and Maritime History: Exploring New Digital Tools for World Historians and Their Students.” Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA


The New England Regional World History Association, the MIT History Department, the MIT Department of Architecture, and the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences are pleased to announce the details for a symposium to be held at MIT in Cambridge, MA on 21 April 2018. The focus of the symposium will be “Architectural History and Maritime History: Exploring New Digital Tools for World Historians and Their Students.”

Because of the special nature of this symposium, there will be no independent papers and panels, hence no CFP.

The entire morning will be devoted to a workshop that involves small groups of attendees (7 or 8 at each table) working with the digital architectural resources developed by MIT’s Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative (GAHTC). The purpose is to have each group craft a world history course syllabus based on these digital resources. The GAHTC library provides over 200 lectures on significant architectural sites and regions around the world, each accompanied by speaking notes for the instructor as well as a quiz and a handout. Each group will work to create a an innovative syllabus for a 12-14-week course, creating unconventional pairings of lectures and content that provide the instructor with materials that students will find engaging.  As time allows, each group will report to the entire body regarding the syllabus it has produced, and briefly explain the innovative techniques used in generating this new course.

In the afternoon, the Visualizing Maritime History Project, a collaboration between the MIT Museum and the MIT History faculty, will ask conference participants to explore an online tool that makes available metadata and images for 4,400 maritime objects in the Museum’s collections, ranging in time from the early 1500s to the early 1900s. More specifically, the afternoon will be devoted to a workshop involving the same small groups from the morning session as they study MIT’s digitized maritime resources. Because these primary sources are still largely raw materials in the process of being digitized, it might not be possible for each group to develop a full lesson plan, but regardless, there will be reports from as many groups as time allows regarding what they have done and learned. Individuals will also be asked to complete a questionnaire that will help the digitizers to refine their work.

Because all of this work will be online, attendees will be provided, at least a week ahead of time, with an introduction to the two digital collections and given some “homework.” Attendees are urged to bring their own laptops and to share their laptops with those who do not have one.

The fee for the symposium has been reduced to $30 (rather than the usual $45), thanks to the generous support of the MIT History Department, the MIT Department of Architecture, and the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Further, because of MIT’s generosity, seventy-two (72) $25 grants will be available to the first 72 to apply for them leaving each grantee with a bill for $5. Persons who wish to waive a grant in order to support the attendance of another will be able to do so.

Registration will open on Monday 4 December 2017. Please be advised that, for reasons articulated above, registration will end on 14 April 2018—no exceptions.

We hope to see you in Cambridge in April!

Program and registration information:

More details about the program will be posted soon.

There are three posters for the symposium. You can download them by clicking the following links:

  • Macchu Picchu symposium poster
  • Whale Attacking Ship symposium poster
  • Katsura Imperial Village symposium poster

    Spring 2018 Symposium registration:

  • register on line
  • download printable registration form

    If you have any questions regarding the symposium, please contact us.