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Browse Exhibits (18 total)

Coming Together and Keeping Apart: Segregation in the Twin City

Winston-Salem is a segregated city. In 1974, the city was reported to be the second-most segregated city of the over 100 American cities surveyed, just beating out Shreveport, La.[1] Since then, things have not gotten much better. Here is a one-person, one-dot map of Winston-Salem from the Cooper Center:


The green dots represent African-Americans while yellow dots are Hispanics and blue dots are Whites. There is a clear East-West divide that emerges.

A map of African-American populations in 2009 shows a similar pattern of segregation, with blacks clustered in the North and East of downtown Winston-Salem.


That reports labels Highway US-52 as the major dividing line and attributes segregated housing patterns to “the historical legacy of overt discrimination in housing through both public policy and social practices.” The report goes on to cite 1912 city legislation and later acts.

However, the roots of segregation in Winston-Salem go back even further than that. While racial segregation became the norm across the South in the early 20th century, it manifested itself in unique ways in different areas based on those areas’ respective histories. Such is the case in Winston-Salem.

Before Winston-Salem came to exist, there was just the Moravian town of Salem, a religious community that initially was unusually racially accepting. The story of the combination of Salem with the town of Winston that sprung up nearby is the story of normative economic and social policies overcoming the quaint town of Salem, which has become little more than a museum today.

Affectionately called the “Twin City,” Winston-Salem came to exist when two very different communities, Winston and Salem, joined together as one city. Citizens coined the term “the Salem conscience and the Winston purse” to explain each town's benefits—the moral leadership of the Moravian community of Salem and the wealth of tobacco-driven Winston.

Though the two towns share equal weight in the combined city’s name, in practice, Winston came to dominate Salem, even before the official merger. An understanding of this trend and its effects on racial policy can help illuminate the true causes of how a city known for a friendly decision to come together became so notorious for its practice of keeping apart.

To truly understand this process, one needs to go back to the late 1700s, when the founding of Salem coincided with the first time it departed from its religious ideals...

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The Friendship Network of Foigny

Today it is difficult to think of Europe, particularly western Europe, as wild or uncultivated. The words one associates with with it are things like food, art, culture, civilization, beer.

Just after the turn of the first millienium, the situation was very different. In what is today northern France and Belgium, local lords, necessary for protection against Vikings and other maurauding threats, did as they pleased, warring with each other and respecting neither human life nor the institutional Church. 

Two movements, called the Peace and Truce of God, coupled with initiatives from both the papacy and monastic and episcopal reformers, attempted to curb this martial excess. Historians have seen the First Crusade and the formation of the Knights Templar as an outgrowth of these efforts, a redirection of violence towards a more legitimate enemy. The resulting economic prosperity and intellectual flourishing of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries is at least partially attributed to their success.

One of the more promenant examples of this sort of reform comes from the Prince-Bishop of Laon, Barthélemy de Jur (r. 1113 - 1151). Elected after his predecessor had been murdered by a mob in the sanctuary of the Laon cathedral, Barthélemy set himself up in opposition to this culture of violence, attempting to pacify the region by expanding both his own influence and that of the Church, both through diplomacy with the regional nobility and by the foundation of monastic houses.

Barthélemy showed particular favoritism to two new reform-minded monastic orders: the Cistercians and the Praemonstratensians. These two orders sought seclusion and a simpler and more austere form of piety, often chosing locations for new monasteries far from existing towns. By encouraging these orders to found houses in his episcopal domain, Barthélemy was able to civilize the hinterland while at the same time gaining new allies in his diplomacy with the nobility.

This study focuses around one of these monastaries founded at the urging of Barthélemy: the Cistercian house of Foigny. Although it was once a powerful economic and intellectual center, Foigny suffered a severe decline in the fourteenth century, and today little is known about and even less work has been done on this important foundation. By applying new tools of social network analysis and GIS mapping to the available sources, this study will situate the abbey of Foigny within the broader context of a well-studied region, filling the scholarly lacuna which is currently present.


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Contextualizing Vietnam

This exhibit tries to situate Vietnam from late 19th century to 20th century in a regional and global context. It attempts to highlight the transnational networks that influenced the economic, social, and political developments of Vietnam. The author of this exhibit hopes that the exhibit will allow the users to view Vietnamese history through a Vietnamese perspective and gain insights into how external events influenced internal Vietnamese developments.

The exhibit is designed so to be accessible to almost everyone with rudimentary knowledge of of Vietnamese history. Users can jump around different sections and still be able to get a general sense of the information contained in those sections. However, novice of the field of Vietnamese history should proceed from the Timeline section forward for the full effect of the exhibit.

Experienced (digital) historians who want to jump into the meat of the evidences for the contextualization of Vietnam as a regional actor and an international player should jump to the “Vietnam 1954 to 1975” section in the “Internationalism, Vietnam, and the Cold War” section. This is where most of the results of digital manipulation of census data reside. While the exhibit loathes to make an explicit claim for a position, this section is where an argument was presented in a less nuanced way relative to the implicit positions taken in other sections.

The author especially invites the users who want to learn more about beneficial results of Digital History to explore the “South Vietnamese Economy,” “South Vietnamese Shipping,” and “South Vietnamese Air Transportation.” It is in these three sections that the users could engage with the different tools employed to generate different digital media - graphs, charts, timeline, and maps - seen in the exhibit.

Please note that this exhibit is also a work in progress, and things are subjected to change without notice. Please occasionally check back for exhibit updates.


St. Petersburg Memory Sites

Monuments and contested sites from Post-Soviet period

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Ottoman Zebras

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Medieval Scrolls at Harvard

Medieval scrolls continued to be made far into the era of the codex and served various purposes: archival, legal, musical, poetical, for reasons of format or of solemnity. This website explores the phenomenon of the scroll and introduces an exhibition at Harvard University’s Houghton Library The site and the exhibition arise form an interdisciplinary seminar conducted at Harvard in 2014.

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The Routes

The following Google Earth embeds mark each stop indicated by the respective traveler during their time in Russia.


  • Click on the placemarkers for a quote from the traveler if one was provided.
  • Follow the path provided. 
  • Stoddard and Oliphant went North-South while Oliphant went South-North

 For more on these routes, go here.





The motivation for this project started with the primary assignment for the History 92r Research Lab class at Harvard University, led by Kelly O’Neill.

The goal of this project is to design and build a database of the itineraries followed by foreigners traveling in the Russian Empire from the reign of Ivan IV (Ivan “the Terrible”) to the collapse of the dynasty in 1917. Published travel accounts played a key role both in generating knowledge and shaping opinions – European opinions in particular – about Russians and the empire they inhabited. But how well did these travelers know Russia? Where did they go? How long did they stay? What did they see, and what did they choose to describe?

To begin answering those questions, I first needed to improve my background knowledge on travel writing and travel writing from Russia in particular. I found that travel writing is nearly as old as writing itself, dating back thousands of years to Herodotus in 440 B.C.E. Russian travel history did not share that lengthiness, but it still included a wide range of travelers and types of accounts.

One of the biggest changes in Russian travel writing over the period I was tasked with studying was a shift in the way travelers went through Russian space. At the beginning of the 19th century, horses were the primary source of transportation. Visitors could access them through a system of posthouses along major post-roads for a cost of five to ten copecks per verst, though two more copecks per verst were required for a padaroshna that was needed for travel (Jesse 9). William Jesse used this system to travel from Odessa to St. Petersburgh in 1839.

With the proliferation of steamboats in the middle of the century, travel by water became more popular. Laurence Oliphant might be the most famous travel writer to use the new steam power in 19th-century Russia, writing about his travels down the Volga in 1853.

Both of these methods quickly fell out of favor for wealthy travelers by the end of the century though, as an extensive rail system made travel much more convenient. Travelers got to see less of Russia, but could more quickly move from major tourist destination to major tourist destination. Charles Stoddard’s trip to St. Petersburgh, Moscow, and Nijni Novgorod in 1891 via rail was far from exceptional. In fact, its routineness was what made it attractive to me.

Attempting to find an angle at which to attack the broad topic of Russian travel writing, I decided to compare these three accounts by three travelers using three methods of transportation. Ultimately, I found that the type of travel influenced the way these men viewed Russia and impacted their opinions on the place and its people.

Over the course of this exhibit, I hope you will come to feel like you know these travelers and their trips as well as I have come to know them over the course of this semester. First, you will learn their backgrounds in a short biographical section. Then, you will have the ability to follow each of their unique paths through Russia via Google Earth embeds. A further analysis of these routes will follow on the next page. Then, a spotlight is cast on Moscow in an attempt to further familiarize the reader with what types of things these travelers saw, and what they wrote about those various scenes.

After gaining an understanding of the travelers’ routes and experiences, you will learn about their takeaways from their trips and their opinions about the mysterious land. Lastly, I will conclude by outlining how I think my findings inform the study of Russian travel writing and travel writing generally. Data used for this project can be viewed on the final tab.

To begin the adventure, head to the Travelers page. Or go Home.

Route Analysis

While the previous page included the stops made by each traveler, it does not do a perfect job of representing their trip because the Google Earth embeds give each stop equal weight. To understand how important the travelers themselves viewed each stop, as well as how readers would interpret the relative importance of each town or city, I set out to analyze the amount of space in their accounts each traveler gave each location.

The following map illustrates what percentage of the book was dedicated to each stop with proportional symbols. The distribution of text over space becomes immediately clear. Jesse was pretty consistent from the beginning of his journey to Moscow, with large portions for Moscow and St. Petersburg and relatively little in between those two. Stops seem to fall into four tiers for him. The first includes Moscow only, the second is inhabited only by St. Petersburg. Vashani, Nicolaieff, Elizavetgrad, and Kharkoff make up the third tier while the rest fall into the bottom tier.

For Stoddard, St. Petersburg and Moscow dominated his work as well, though he included very little on the other stops of his trip. Oliphant was more sporadic, though he did consistently write more than average about the Crimean towns that were the subject of immense interest during the Crimean War that would take place in the same time period.


I've included the same information as Google Fusion Tables below:

In addition to writing about what he saw in each town, Jesse was careful to document the quality of the towns' post-houses, almost exclusively labeling them bad, so-so, or good. Those labels are depicted in the following map, with red representing bad, white representing so-so, and green indicating good.

Noticeably, the biggest clumps of bad post-houses come around Krementchouk and south of Moscow. Jesse notes that the fee for post-houses dropped from 10 copecks per verst to 5 copecks per verst after Krementchouk, which might explain the depreciation in quality there. A high volume of travelers to Moscow from the south might explain the poor quality of posthouses in that area.

Now, let's focus on Jesse, Oliphant, and Stoddard's trips to Moscow. Then, read about the travelers' opinions on Russia.