I have now had the opportunity to take several classes in which a blog is part oif the course requirements. I often find this first post a little awkward, but necessary. I am going to try and assemble something that goes a little beyond the simple meet and greet, and go into something a little deeper.
First for the biography, I am Tristan Johnson, as the URL implies, and I am at the time of this writing a first year PhD student at this university. In some ways I am a first, second, and third year student. It is my first year of the PhD, my 2nd year in this History department as I did an MA here before, and my 3rd year at Western as I did another MA before in American Studies.
Intellectually I have been interested in a few major topics. Things like photography always fascinated me as I loved seeing the places where art and technology would interact in interesting ways. I also found myself deeply interested in both the writings of Historians, and Futurists. I feel that the work I am doing now with Dr. Turkel, Dr. MacDougall, and in courses like this one I am really moving forward on all those themes at once.
My work involves looking at one of the most infamous days of the short 21st century. The attacks of September 11th, 2001 is one of the first major catastrophic events of the internet age. It is one of the best archived events, with massive amounts of archived data from the millisecond of the first plane hitting the tower to right now. Through looking at the same attack from different time scales, I hope to show how an event goes from immediate, disaster and becomes a collectively agreed upon narrative.
What I intend to gain from this course is mastery of the skills that a 21st century historian needs. I have a Twitter, both personal and as history project over at @TristanPEJ and WWII Turns 80 but have never taken the time to know how to do it well. I have made two podcasts without focusing on making a highly professional product. In this course I want to get better at what I do, and branch out into areas I might have overlooked.
Expect this blog to have some musings about the new paradigm of pedagogy, and where I think we could go. I have a few articles already warming up on topics such as using Crusader Kings 2 as a teaching tool, The endless textbook, and a wiki-structured podcast. I hope you guys check in from time to time.