Seeing the Past with Computers: Experiments with Augmented Reality and Computer Vision for History. Kevin Kee and Timothy Compeau, eds. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2019. 254p. Hardcover, $75.00 (ISBN: 978-0-472-13111-2).

Joshua Avery


In 2019, the New York Times launched the 1619 Project. What began in print is a now robust and interactive website, with the aim of offering readers a glimpse into the beginnings of American slavery through essays, photographs, and an online exhibit in partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. The 1619 Project was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2020, and, despite some controversy around its framing of historical issues, it continues to garner acclaim. Whatever the project’s historical limitations, its prominence affirms the growing importance in popular culture of the role of digital technology in telling and retelling the stories of the past. It is to these very tasks—accessing, understanding, and teaching history—that Kevin Kee and Timothy Compeau, both historians, contribute Seeing the Past with Computers: Experiments with Augmented Reality and Computer Vision for History the most recent offering in the Digital Humanities Series from the University of Michigan Press.

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