Title

Using Omeka in a Course on Food and Drink in the Ancient World

Submission Type

20-minute Presentation

Abstract

In fall 2015, I taught a new course in translation on food and drink in the ancient Mediterranean world at Bryn Mawr College, to which I added a digital component, since it has long been my desire to combine more traditional historical inquiry with modern technologies. More importantly, I wanted to give students an opportunity to share the results of their research with a wider audience outside of the classroom. I decided to use Omeka as a platform for students to develop online exhibits of important elements and aspects of ancient eating and drinking practices, from sacrificial food to alcoholism in antiquity, from symposium entertainment to Roman dining etiquette, from the provenance and use of spices to that of aphrodisiacs and other drugs. In this paper, I will discuss some of the benefits of using Omeka in this type of course beyond fostering collaboration and increasing the digital fluency of the participants, namely: learning how to analyze and interpret complex and often fragmentary historical evidence, developing projects that involve – and showcase – both textual and material sources, carrying out independent research in different venues, practicing public writing, and presenting the findings in a creative and visually appealing way. Moreover, I will reflect on some of the challenges that the ancient sources present regarding metadata and the difficulty, in general, of finding suitable objects and images.

Session

Mapping & Digital Projects, Presentation

Start Date

5-18-2016 2:00 PM

End Date

5-18-2016 3:15 PM

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May 18th, 2:00 PM May 18th, 3:15 PM

Using Omeka in a Course on Food and Drink in the Ancient World

In fall 2015, I taught a new course in translation on food and drink in the ancient Mediterranean world at Bryn Mawr College, to which I added a digital component, since it has long been my desire to combine more traditional historical inquiry with modern technologies. More importantly, I wanted to give students an opportunity to share the results of their research with a wider audience outside of the classroom. I decided to use Omeka as a platform for students to develop online exhibits of important elements and aspects of ancient eating and drinking practices, from sacrificial food to alcoholism in antiquity, from symposium entertainment to Roman dining etiquette, from the provenance and use of spices to that of aphrodisiacs and other drugs. In this paper, I will discuss some of the benefits of using Omeka in this type of course beyond fostering collaboration and increasing the digital fluency of the participants, namely: learning how to analyze and interpret complex and often fragmentary historical evidence, developing projects that involve – and showcase – both textual and material sources, carrying out independent research in different venues, practicing public writing, and presenting the findings in a creative and visually appealing way. Moreover, I will reflect on some of the challenges that the ancient sources present regarding metadata and the difficulty, in general, of finding suitable objects and images.