Week 10: Digital History and the Commons


This week focuses on the issue of digital history and the commons. We will start with a discussion on the commons. We will follow this with some recent work on the relation of the commons to the digital humanities.


I.  Discussion: The Commons (1 hr 15 min)
II. Break (10 min)
III. Discussion: Digital History and the Commons (1 hr 15 min)

Assignments (due before class)

  • Weekly Twitter Assignment

Required Reading

We will begin our discussion be examining the classic article, “The Tragedy of the Commons” by Garrett Hardin in 1968.  While there have been many responses to Hardin, one of the most influential writers on the commons was Elinor Ostrom.  We will read her reflections on the literature on the commons, published in 1999, as well as an essay on collective action.

Transitioning to the notion of “digital commons,” we will read a chapter about the so-called “knowledge commons,” which defines some of the problems facing the digital commons.  Then, we will read a recent article which discusses the digital as a common pool resource as well as the idea of community governance.



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