About this Project

With the support of a Mellon Seed Grant, Professor of History at Bryn Mawr College, Anita Kurimay, decided to blend her 200 level Spring 2015 course, “From Bordellos to Cybersex: The History of Sexuality in Modern Europe”. Elizabeth Reilly, a Digital Curriculum Assistant, collaborated with Professor Kurimay to develop a digital group project to be executed during the second half of the semester. Students were pushed to consider what the common thread would be between individual topics and to problem-solve the inevitable difficulties that arise during group work. Students were encouraged to think critically about how aesthetics and visual aids effect a reader’s learning experience. They read about how to write history for the web and were shown existing Omeka sites as examples of how to engage with primary sources. Of course, there were bumps along the road but ultimately, the students of this class contributed an invaluable amount of information and metadata to the study of sexuality, some of which were particularly sensitive and intimate topics.

Topics range from women’s fashion to prostitution in Germany and to the intersection of porn and photography. This final digital project was a very rich learning experience for the students, Professor and Elizabeth. One quote from a student illustrates that the intents and goals behind the project were achieved: 

“I was initially suspicious of the importance of visual resources in the narration of history, and somewhat resistant to accommodating myself and my research to the Omeka format…But, the images helped me address my research question as much as the textually based sources, if not more so.” – Maddie Backus, Bryn Mawr 2016