This website, Technological Borderlands, is an aggregator for my digital public history projects.
The traditional study of borderlands examines the interaction of imagined political communities across international borders and frontiers. Similarly, I like to imagine technology as a sort of frontier and border that shapes and defines human behavior. Clocks changed the way humans understood time. Transportation changed the way humans imagined distance. As such, this site is dedicated to interrogating the history of interactions between people and technology: how and where people encountered technologies, and the roles both people and devices played in those interactions. I believe media has fundamentally changed the way humans imagine each other. They have altered our communal relationships. To this end, the site is currently focused on investigating the history of media technologies: how and where media was used by reporters, journalists, and editors to disseminate information and construct narratives, and how and where audiences received that information.
The site currently aggregates the following digital public history projects:
Visualizing Southern Television – A mapping program that charts the expansion of television broadcast stations and their expanding reach over time and across space in the South. The goal is to track how television spread from major southern urban centers to serve both urban and rural populations.
Southern Television Database – This database has two goals. First, it serves as the data warehouse for the above mapping system. Second, over time, it will become an aggregator of archival materials relevant to scholars studying mid-20th century television, which I hope will be useful for the future production of related scholarly works in history, journalism and media studies, anthropology, psychology, and other fields.
Louisiana Television Stations (in progress) – A mapping program that tracks Louisiana television stations through time and across geographical space.
Mapping Georgian Newsprint Publications (in progress) – A mapping program that tracks the reach of Georgian printing presses across space and time from 1880 through 1965.
You can find my academic profile below as it appears on Michigan State University’s website.
David Stephen Bennett earned his Ph.D. in History from Michigan State University. He studied Modern American History with Dr. Michael Stamm and Dr. Kirsten Fermaglich. He studied African American History with Dr. Pero Dagbovie, and he studied the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology with Dr. Helen Veit. His dissertation, Framing Atlanta: Local Newspapers’ Search for a Nationally Appealing Racial Image (1920-1960), is an interrogation of Atlanta media and civil rights history during those four decades. He earned his M.A. from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he served as editor-in-chief of the department journal and received a number of honors and awards. His M.A. thesis, Birth of a Virtual Battleground: Television and the Desegregation Crises of 1957 and 1960, was nominated to represent the university for the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools Master’s Thesis Award in Social Sciences.
He has taught a wide variety of courses for Michigan State University, Lake Superior State University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and South Louisiana Community College. He has been awarded with fellowships, scholarships, and assistantships from both Michigan State University and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He has worked directly with fellow scholars Dr. Michael Stamm, Dr. Peter Beattie, Dr. Emily Conroy Krutz, and Dr. Charles Keith. He assisted in the digitization of physical records for the Vietnam Group Archive, which is funded by the National Endowment of the Humanities.
His current research focuses on investigating the news media’s representation of urban identity during the civil rights era. This research has garnered a number of awards including the Madison A. Kuhn Award, the Rose Library Fellowship, and the Hugh F. Rankin Prize. His article, “The Televised Revolution: ‘Progressive’ Television Coverage of the 1960 New Orleans School Desegregation Crisis,” appeared in Louisiana History, as did his book review of Darryl Mace’s In Remembrance of Emmett Till: Regional Stories and Media Responses to the Black Freedom Struggle. His research has spawned a number of digital public history projects, aggregated at Visualizing Southern Television, exploring the changes in television station distribution throughout the South between 1946 and 1966.
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