In text and photography, place figures prominently in documentary studies. Documentary is itself a way of seeing and making meaning of a particular cultural landscape. In this project, documentary theory and practice are integrated with emerging digital mapping technologies to create a narrative map that shares stories about places in Allentown.
Since 2010, students in COM 231: Documentary Research have been exploring the theory and practice of documentary research in the context of Allentown. The course examines what Robert Coles identifies as the “moral dilemmas and ethical tensions” inherent in doing documentary work, including the relationship between objectivity and subjectivity in representing the lives of others, doing justice to the human particularity of documentary subjects, responsibility to the community, and their own efforts to locate themselves as learners and storytellers within the community.
The original site for the Allentown Storymapping project is here. The Digital Field Scholarship initiative provides the context, tools and support to evolve and enhance this project, leveraging more fully a wider range of digital media and smart device geolocation. It also aims to foster a more collaborative, peer-driven and connected learning experience.