Is history genuinely set in stone—a simple matter of important names and dates? While a historian cannot change what has happened in the past, they do try to methodically and carefully analyze evidence, review changes in historical thoughts and perspectives, and construct arguments to answer questions about the past. However, historians, despite their best efforts, do not have access to the past, and they necessarily have assumptions and priorities that inform their arguments. Timelines in historical books demonstrate the range of arguments historians can have about the past, as well as historians’ differing interpretations and even conceptualizations of events, dates, forms of time, and relevant information. Timelines on the crusades particularly highlight these inconsistencies since the chronological boundaries of crusading are fluid, as well as the idea of what a crusade “is” is still hotly debated, yet no one has studied crusading timelines. Thus, this digital humanities project focuses on analyzing the structure and language of events in timelines of the crusades. By creating and analyzing a coded dataset of crusading timelines in Excel, based on scholarly books and ebooks that have been published over the past ten years and are available in English at Myrin Library, this project quantitatively and qualitatively assesses the representation of the past. In addition, this project provides insight on how Ursinus students’ understanding of the crusades is affected by the scholarly resources available to them.
Furgele, Matthew, "Analyzing Perceptions of the Crusades Using Timelines Available at Ursinus College" (2020). History Presentations. 5.
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