Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


English Language and Literatures

First Advisor

Chris Holcomb

Second Advisor

Heidi Rae Cooley


This paper presents and documents a model for telling history through technology using the Ward One application for iOS mobile devices as a test site for the idea of conceptual mapping. The historical-information delivery system was created to mobilize the rhetoricity of representation that is a procedural necessity of technological mediation.

The paper begins by explaining the exigence of the app—to tell the history of an African-American community displaced from the land now occupied by the University of South Carolina as a result of racially discriminating housing policies in Columbia, SC and across the United States. It then addresses the complexity and rhetoricity of historiography and technology and advocates responsible history-telling before presenting the conceptual mapping model and documenting its development and implementation.

By adding context to historical content in order to connect historical data conceptually, the information distribution model provides a historical narrative in line with Derrida’s conception of events as being indeterminately connected, outwardly constructed, and disjointed. Through its implementation in a geolocative mobile app, it invites interactors to move through space and reconsider how the historical past shapes the present. As a rhetorical device that reframes the experience of the present, it functions as a model of what Hayden White calls practical history-telling.