Digital History seminar

8 January 2013, 5.15pm
Stephen Robertson (University of Sydney)
Mapping Everyday Life: Digital Harlem, 1915-1930


On Tuesday we will have the second of our live streams to begin 2013.  The Digital History seminar has thus far streamed all but one of their sessions, and we will be continuing with this approach this term as well.  Here are the details for the January session:

Digital Harlem is the online form of a project to explore everyday life in America’s leading black neighbourhood in the 1920s. It grew from a desire for a more detailed understanding of Harlem as a place and from a concern to find ways to examine a large and diverse set of archival and published sources. The site employs a database that integrates a diverse range of material on the basis of geographical location, and connects that material with a real estate map of the neighbourhood overlaid on Google Maps.

The Digital Harlem website (

The Digital Harlem website (

The site is dynamic, allowing the results of users’ searches for events, places and individuals to be displayed on the map, searches to be limited in various ways, including by date, and different searches to be layered on the same map to allow comparisons and show change over time.

The site promotes a spatial analysis that highlights the variety of different places that made up the neighbourhood, and locating the events and individuals found in 1920s Harlem in the context of those places, capturing something of the complexity of everyday life.

Stephen Robertson is Associate Professor of American history in the Department of History at the University of Sydney. Since 2003 he has collaborated with Shane White and Stephen Garton to study everyday life in 1920s Harlem.  One product of that project is Playing the Numbers: Gambling in Harlem Between the Wars (Harvard University Press, 2010).
Another is the Digital Harlem site, awarded the American Historical Association’s Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History and the ABC-CLIO Online History Award of the American Library Association in 2010. With the support of an Australian Research Council grant, the site is currently being extend to examine the 1935 Harlem riot.

To listen to this live stream click here on Tuesday