George Mason University

News at Mason

History and New Media Expert to Lecture on the Future of History

January 19, 2012

Dan Cohen

What happens when the historical record is digitized, and when the events of the present are recorded only in electronic formats? Do we risk losing historical information?

Dan Cohen, director of Mason’s Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, will address these questions in “The Future of History” on Monday, Jan. 30, as part of the 2011-12 Vision Series at Mason.

The potential for loss of information does exist, and we are unsure whether we can preserve today’s documents for future generations, Cohen acknowledges. However, exciting new possibilities for research and teaching are beginning to emerge.

Cohen’s talk will explore the promise and perils of a new era of history based on computers and networks, including vast digital libraries and archives; tools for saving and communicating history; and what the coming decade will hold.

An associate professor in the Department of History and Art History, Cohen is the co-author of “Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web” and author of “Equations from God: Pure Mathematics and Victorian Faith.

He has published articles and book chapters on the history of mathematics and religion, the teaching of history, and the future of history in a digital age in the Journal of American History, the Chronicle of Higher Education and Rethinking History. He is an inaugural recipient of the American Council of Learned Societies’ Digital Innovation Fellowship.

At the Center for History and New Media, Cohen has co-directed the September 11 Digital Archive and the Echo project, which is an online directory of websites concerning the history of science, technology and history, and has developed software tools for scholars, teachers and students.

Cohen will present his talk in the Center for the Arts on the Fairfax Campus at 7 p.m. The event is free and no tickets are required. An informal reception with the speaker will follow the presentation, and light refreshments will be offered.

The Vision Series is sponsored by Mason’s Office of the Provost. For more information on the Vision Series, visit the website.