History 90.01: Topics in Digital History — Portfolio Introduction

The following body of work was produced throughout the participation in Professor Emily Merchant’s course at Dartmouth College titled “History 90.01: Topics in Digital History”. Throughout the course we examined the general history and development of the US Census as well as the role the Census played in both making and recording history. The course was divided into four sections: “Race”, “Migration”, “Labor”, and “Families”. For each section of the course we were required to produce a detailed analysis, using data from the University of Minnesota’s Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, of a specific topic in history and its relation to the Census.

Each section of the course helped me to better understand the history of the topic as well as develop my skills and knowledge in data analysis and visualization. For the Race unit, I looked into the growing demographic trend of missing Black men in the city of Chicago and it’s metro-area, studying how the US Census Bureau has historically used the Census for both population control and policy development. For the Migration unit, I analyzed a trend with personal relevance; differing historical emigration trends out of Texas from the middle of the Great Migration to 2000. For the Labor section, I examined the effect of the institution of the 40-hour work week on wage-income trends across race and sex cohorts from 1940-1990. For the Families section, I looked at the differing relationships between marital status, child custody, and wage incomes across sexes.

This course developed both my knowledge of the history for each section as well as my critical thinking skills for analysis of history and data in general. I will use the frameworks through which we analyzed history to help better understand current events. Furthermore, the data analysis and visualization techniques learned here will be invaluable in my professional career.