Matt Villeneuve

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Brief Bio: 

Matt Villeneuve is a junior at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. A History and Philosophy major, Matt is an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for a course on history, folklore and technology and enjoys exploring the surprising results of the convergence of these subjects. When not being a total geek, Matt also works in the UO library in the Special Collections and University Archives.

Full Bio: 

My name is Matt Villeneuve and as a student at the flagship university of the state of Oregon, I’m out of my comfort zone. As a proud Washingtonian, my venture to the south and to the University of Oregon has made me some enemies back home from even prouder football fans, but as with all great adventures, it has opened a whole new world and a flood of new friends, teachers and mentors. Life at the UO studying history and philosophy is like living at the crossroads between the old and the new, the academic and the social, the American lifestyle and as a global citizen. The one position that has made such a vibrant academic exploration possible has been my work as a FA or a Freshman Interest Group Undergraduate Teaching Assistant with the office of First Year Programs. As the FA for a FIG called Reboot the Past, Upload the Future, I live in the residence halls on campus and co-teach a course with University Professor Kevin Hatfield. Together, we’ve constructed a bridge course between the topics of history and folklore with an emphasis on working with freshman to think critically about what it means to be both students of history and historical actors themselves. We work with students to preserve and document campus life to better understand what it means to be a Duck at the UO, working closely with University Housing, the library and Special Collection and University Archives to bring the field of history to students in new and engaging ways. It is at this intersection of documentation and preservation that we’ve introduced a unique spin on the topic; how might the rapid progress of technology affect the historical actors of today and the historians of the future? Will blogs, texts, and tweets replace the journals, memoirs and letters of the past? How might these mediums change what is recorded during a certain epoch, let alone how the details of the past are preserved? Where does a digital record go after its author passes away? Simply put, do these advances help or hurt historians and to what extent do they affect the practice of looking into the past? I’m not sure there are even concrete answers but we are on to our second year of exploring these considerations, making stops at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) and the Coalition of Networked Information (CNI), hearing and sharing our thoughts and student’s insights along the way. I hope to the do the same here at HASTAC and eagerly look forward to being part of the community!

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