Creative Commons Image by Vitor Antunes via Flickr

Editors’ Choice: The Machines in the Valley Digital History Project

I am excited to finally release the digital component of my dissertation,
Machines in the Valley.

My dissertation, Machines in the Valley, examines the environmental,
economic, and cultural conflicts over suburbanization and
industrialization in California’s Santa Clara Valley–today known as
Silicon Valley–between 1945 and 1990. The high technology sector
emerged as a key component of economic and urban development in the
postwar era, particularly in western states seeking to diversify their
economic activities. Industrialization produced thousands of new jobs,
but development proved problematic when faced with competing views about
land use. The natural allure that accompanied the thousands coming West
gave rise to a modern environmental movement calling for strict
limitations on urban growth, the preservation of open spaces, and the
reduction of pollution. Silicon Valley stood at the center of these
conflicts as residents and activists criticized the environmental impact
of suburbs and industry in the valley. Debates over the Santa Clara
Valley’s landscape tells the story not only of Silicon Valley’s
development, but Americans’ changing understanding of nature and the
environmental costs of urban and industrial development.

The digital edition of my dissertation is yet a work-in-progress–there
are probably things that don’t quite work right and plenty of more
exposition and narrative I’ll be adding over the next few months.
The project will go through iterations as I finish my written dissertation. The
project will house several features, including interactive
visualizations, dynamic narratives and analysis that extend upon themes
covered in my chapters, and access to certain primary sources. I do this
in the spirit of making my research open and extending upon themes in my
research. Not every piece of digital scholarship can make the transition
to print form–the act of trying to fully describe a dynamic
visualization can be come lost. Better that readers have a chance to
interact directly with the same tools, views, and material that I used
to draw my conclusions.

See the Project: The Machines in the Valley Digital History Project

This content was selected for Digital Humanities Now by Editor-in-Chief Amanda Morton based on nominations by Editors-at-Large: Caitlin Christian-Lamb