Continuing on the narrative from my last two blog posts, this comic features many of the old traditional stories from early American history. The real challenge was narrative arrangement. I wasn't sure if I juggled too many threads. I gave myself a stopping time on the process and this was a far as I got. As always, there's a lot more one could add to all of this.
Friday, December 1, 2017
After a long break on this blog I thought I would post a comic/book report on the Late Elizabethan Age 1585 - 1603. The Original idea was to cover the major historical developments that would lead to American colonization. The following pages provide details of many of the major players in the colonial project during the period as well as combining some different demographic and statistical information about the place and period. The pages detail a world perhaps more complex and unexpected than most American school children would recall for the lesson that period.
I am not going to talk about every single reference I used to make the comic, but while try to get to the other ones by in a future blog post. I meant to keep things as is, as much as possible, and below is a little bit of commentary or interpretation from different sources.
The British Industrial Revolution from a Global Perspective, considers important elements that contributed to 18th industrial revolution. The book points to a high wage economy, emerging in London by 1600 and the availability of cheap energy (coal) by the 18th century as two key factors in promoting industrial innovation. Apparently it was the quirky fact that the English heated their homes with coal that led to other inventions that could also use coal as an energy source.
The impression this book gave was that the key unique quality was the availability of coal in the English midlands that, when matched with a high wage economy where there is an incentive to create labor saving innovation was the key to the Industrial Revolution. An example in today's terms is that there are two factory bosses: one pays her workers $15 an hour, another produces the same product but pays her workers $25 an hour. A new expensive technology comes on the market that will save on labor costs. The model would suggest that the factory boss paying $25 an hour would have more of an incentive to invest in the new labor saving (job cutting) technology. The $15 an hour paying boss might actually find more of an incentive to hire more workers instead of investing in the new technology to increase profits.
The Long Process of Development another fascinating book that I've been using as a resource is The Long Process of Development: Building Markets and States in Pre-industrial England, Spain and Their Colonies, this book investigates the very long process of state building in light of the US's endeavors in Iraq and Afghanistan and considers the theories of Douglas North and other thinkers on state craft issues by investigating England, Spain and their colonial histories. Like any state craft book it has a real-politic lens of history and the terminology used to describe state prerequisites are helpful.
The main point the book bring up during the Anglo-Spanish war is the contrast of operations. Elizabeth, in today's terms is somewhat of a mob-boss who makes deals with pirates. That was the name of the game. The book reveals some of limits of institutions in those bygone ages. The book highlights some of the assurances the public might benefit from that took a very long time establish, certain benefits we could be taking for granted. Commentry
I felt that around the year 1600 is a good comparison point for the two books as they don't exactly match up chronologically or on topic. One is focused on state craft, perhaps more the perspective the tax collector or those that have to ensure safe trade networks. The other is more about the immediate economic actors and entrepreneurs and concerns itself more with economic development. The comic to me at least throws out some historical projections on what are worthy indicators for a developing societies. My research, or the game I play when I put together the information, limits me to the information available. One interesting track of mind was how literacy relates to human capital development and trying to understand what that means in long term economic change from generation to generation.
Friday, September 15, 2017
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Thursday, October 29, 2015
I am currently wrapping up what I hope to the first in a series of historical graphic novels. Having never taken upper level history courses when I was in college, all information was pulled together from my own research of going to the library. The process of research and illustration I fell into is not something I would recommend to anyone who wants to quickly complete a comic project.
The idea was to try an put together information and images from a more interdisciplinary or sociological point of view during a time period, this project follows the lives of the first generation of English colonists to New England in the 17th century, beginning at 1588, this being the first page.
Aside from drawing and gathering information I was left with having to decide how to arrange the information through page design. This may sound strange, but selecting the text and the images left me with my philosophical questions about what is the meaning behind pages, which can take a long time. Needless to say, contemplating relativism (that is how does this history relate today) drives me a bit nuts. My goal was not to say something about today, simply make an artistic interpretation based on what I read and learned about the period. But of course me, living today, is very much part of the process, and I needed some time to figure out my own footing on this historical perspective.
Aside from lining up different sources on the same time period, I had to choose what were going to be some of the relevant themes. From my own, very American perspective, I thought that economic history needed to be one of the important drivers of the narrative. The economy matters to most people. The difficulty in talking about economic history is that I sense many people are unaccustomed to talking about it. From my understanding, economic history is a history of complicated trade offs that create a variety of changes. It involves a discussion of wealth and class, which can be difficult for people to have unemotional conversations, especially if you're talking about fairness. Also most economic actions range from practical to shrewd to down right unfair. I've always said that money isn't everything, it's what helps me get through all of this stark economic information that involves the struggles of common people.
Little Ice Age - The early to mid 17th century includes The Little Ice Age, from what I understand, the jury is still out on how exactly global temperatures can affect a society. I'm not sure, but right now I'm considering the changes of a society internally instead of externally. Learning about different histories, there is a long history of aggression/war on other groups. Internal conflict is a different matter and I contemplate the internal stresses within a society or community when resources become more scarce.
Everything all at once - Going through the process I was able to find a lot of different perspectives on the same period and consider all of their relationships, but it is a lot, over all I wonder if I'm emphasizing the right things, or giving a clear enough indication that the finished book is more about giving people context, not a definitive last word, history never had a last word.