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Projects and Courses

My Nola, My Story

Dr. Shearon Roberts (Xavier University of Louisiana)

Shearon Roberts smiling

These stories reflect snapshots of lived experiences of communities of color who have called New Orleans home. It serves as a testament that they were here, are here, and shaped the fabric of this historic, cultural space.

Project Goals

To offer students opportunities for experiential learning as they record and share the stories of people of color in New Orleans.

Outcomes & Deliverables

A series of online exhibits and videos exploring aspects of history, identity, and culture, including the impact of Caribbean diasporic communities on New Orleans.

Resources

My Nola, My Story

Over 65 student-created exhibits, videos, podcasts, and other materials highlighting the lives of people of color in New Orleans.

Boswell’s: Home Away from Home

As one example of a student-produced work, this feature highlights Boswell’s Jamaican Grill and its owner, Boswell Atkinson.

StoryMap: New Orleans and LAC

This map-based exhibit explores relationships between New Orleans and peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Categories
Tools and Topics

Collaborative Grant Seeking

Matching a project to the right funding opportunity can be a challenge. Finding the right partners and leveraging our strengths are crucial to successful proposals. University of Florida Grants Manager Bess de Farber and librarian Perry Collins co-led a webinar for institute participants.


Webinar

Resources

Funding for Libraries

Bess de Farber developed this guide, including funding opportunities of interest across libraries

Modern Endangered Archives Program

Based at UCLA, this Arcadia-funded program has supported several projects to digitize Caribbean collections

Institute proposal

Read the proposal for the institute, funded by the NEH Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities program.

Categories
Blog Posts Reflection

Reflection: Leah Rosenberg

Institute co-director Dr. Leah Rosenberg (Department of English, University of Florida) traces the development of the program from conception to fruition.


The seeds for the NEH institute were sown in 2012 by Professor Rhonda Cobham-Sander when she suggested that we design and teach a course—across multiple campuses—dLOC would support and that would center on materials in dLOC. Faculty and librarians at the University of West Indies (Cave Hill), Amherst College, the University of Miami, and the University of Florida collaboratively designed and taught  Panama Silver, Asian Gold, Migration, Money, and the Making of the Modern Caribbean, a course designed to enhance and bring visibility to dLOC’s collections on post-emancipation migration in the Caribbean. The experience felt like a first step in building a community of scholars, librarians, and students in Caribbean studies and digital humanities. 

To build this community, we organized two panels on teaching with Caribbean digital libraries at the West Indian Literature Conference in 2016; there we discussed needs and priorities for Caribbean studies scholars engaged in DH. Audience members asked for a NEH institute. In the following year, we built on these discussions by organizing “Collaborating Across the Divide: Digital Humanities and the Caribbean,” a conference to bring together scholars and artists from the Caribbean and the United States to discuss how to collaborate through digital humanities in ways that decolonize knowledge and empower Caribbean subjects. Participants, again, suggested an NEH institute and by this time we had accumulated the necessary experience and support to undertake the much larger project of organizing an NEH summer institute. We had started with two of us, Rhonda and I at a hotel restaurant by the sea in Guadeloupe; the course involved six organizers; the roundtables seven; the conference had 11 speakers; the Institute would have over forty participants and presenters. For me, the first satisfaction and surprise of the institute was reading the applications. We had over 100 applications and all were highly qualified, involved in innovative and high-quality digital humanities work in Caribbean studies and they were working all over the country and indeed the world.  The community was so much larger than we had imagined.

Categories
Blog Posts Reflection

Reflection: Laurie Taylor and Hélène Huet

Institute co-directors Dr. Laurie Taylor and Dr. Hélène Huet (University of Florida Libraries) share on their role in designing and planning the institute and its impacts.


Our involvement in planning and co-leading the NEH Digital Humanities Institute draws on a wealth of existing collaborative experience and deeply shared goals. All three of us are passionate about supporting our home communities, which include among others Caribbean literary, Digital Humanities, and library professionals. The NEH Institute grew out of our collaborations and work in Caribbean Studies. For example: 

  • Laurie started with dLOC over a decade ago as the Technical Director, moving into the Digital Scholarship Director role specifically to build on dLOC’s existing infrastructure and collections, to enable new ways of researching and teaching in the digital age. 
  • Hélène, as Chair of and the Florida Digital Institute Consortium (FLDH), has worked on highlighting the various digital projects done in the state of Florida, such as dLOC, both on the FLDH website or via conferences and recorded webinars.
  • Institute co-director Dr. Leah Rosenberg has led library collaborations for Caribbean Studies, including serving on the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) Scholarly Advisory Board for over a decade.  
Hélène Huet (left) and Laurie Taylor (right) at podium

Through our various collaborations with different groups of people over the years, the most common requests for help we heard were: 

  • Finding specific items for digitization 
    • Often resulting in items being found and digitized; and often a bit of community building, with recommendations to contact another or a couple of others who are working on the same period, author, place.
  • Receiving training and technical assistance
    • dLOC’s technical team supports partners in digitization and digital curation technical needs, but we previously had an adhoc response to training, with webinars and one-off sessions, sometimes embedded in particular projects or events

In addition, people often shared with us how much they’d love  to have an in-person institute that would bring together scholarly, teaching, and library (and archives and all collections) expertise, focusing on the Caribbean and Digital Humanities.

Thus, we decided to design the Institute based on the grounded discussions with collaborators on what they saw as being needed, and on what we knew matched their needs in terms of technologies for teaching and research. We also wanted to make sure that the technologies we introduced would be available and usable by everyone, no matter where they lived or which institution they worked at, which means we focused on free, stable, useful technologies with productive applications to teaching and research. 

We expected a good level of interest, and that we would be able to find 26 participants as planned, even though the Institute was in Gainesville, Florida–also known as the Swamp–in the summer, with dorm accommodations and without the conveniences of a city. Surprisingly, we received over 100 applications and were overwhelmed by seeing the  fantastic work by so many people, some who are long connected and some who were new to us.

During the Institute, the engagement was incredible. We learned from and with so many amazing people. Our collective learning spanned specific applications (e.g., technologies, classes, assignments) and broad understanding of how we can best support our work together as a community of practice, to undertake changed work for individual and community good. We have read the participant reflections with joy and appreciation. We give thanks to the wonderful teams of folks supporting and taking part in dLOC and the Institute. Thanks to all for great work, and we are excited to see the things to come!

Categories
Projects and Courses

Kamau at 90

Dr. Aaron Kamugisha (University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, Barbados)

Aaron Kamugisha applauding for presenter

Given the challenges for learning and online instruction during the pandemic, the course took a more traditional format focused on the lifework of Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite, who passed away early in the semester.

Resources

Course poster

Dr. Kamugisha’s course focused on Brathwaite’s lifework alongside other writing and criticism

Kamau Brathwaite at the Poetry Foundation

Brathwaite published over 10 poetry collections, including poems such as “Bermudas” and “Bread.”

Brathwaite on PennSound

A selection of audio recordings of Brathwaite’s readings of his work.

Categories
Tools and Topics

Copyright & Ethical Reuse

Legal and ethical considerations can be difficult to navigate when teaching with digital tools and incorporating media from different collections and communities across international borders. Knowing the basics–including when you and your students can use materials without permission–is a good first step.


Presentations

Navigating Copyright to Create and Share DH Projects

UF librarian Perry Collins addresses the basics of copyright and intellectual property, including topics such as fair use/fair dealing, what to keep in mind for international initiatives, and ways that ethical frameworks might address places where copyright falls short.

Documenting Personal and Community Stories

UF librarian Perry Collins provides an overview of documenting oral histories as well as ethical and copyright guidelines to follow when collecting and sharing oral histories.

Resources

Public domain in the U.S.

If you are scanning, copying, or sharing materials in the United States, you might need some help navigating a complicated history of copyright laws. This chart by Peter Hirtle can help you decide if a work is in or out of copyright.

Ethical perspectives

Copyright law is largely focused on individual creators as rights owners. Local Contexts began as one effort to support “Indigenous sovereignty over cultural heritage,” focusing on the digital environment.

International copyright

Wikipedia is one great place to get started when you want to learn the basics about copyright in an international context.

Contact: Perry Collins

dLOC Copyright Liaison and University of Florida Librarian
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Perry is available to support the broader dLOC community of scholars, students, and practitioners in getting started with copyright and related ethical issues. Perry may also be able to help identify local experts within your own institution or nearby.

Categories
Projects and Courses

A Phenomenology of Gede: Thinking with the Dead in Haiti

Dr. Nathan Dize (Vanderbilt University)


This course proposes a study of Haitian literature through the lens of Gede as authors transgress temporal, spatial, and linguistic boundaries to communicate with and through the dead.

Course Goals

Three objectives for this course:

  • to familiarize students with a broad spectrum of Haitian writing about and through the memories of the dead;
  • to facilitate student exposure to Haitian modes of thinking and religious praxis;
  • and to develop skills in identifying, interpreting, and constructing historical narratives that foreground the voices of the dead through written and presentational assignments

Outcomes & Deliverables

The course emphasizes student research in digital collections of Caribbean primary and secondary sources to facilitate close reading of textual and visual materials.

Resources

Course syllabus

Schedule with descriptions of assignments and links to digital resources (Shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license.)

Vodou Archive

The course made heavy use of this collection, which includes over 300 photos, texts, video, and scholarly works.

Institute Reflection

Dr. Dize’s perspective on the institute experience

Categories
Tools and Topics

Oral History

Institute participants discussed oral history as a way to engage students and collect perspectives across communities. The institute focused on collecting and sharing oral histories, including relevant tools and ethical issues.


Presentations

Using Oral Histories in the Classroom

Dr. Sharon Austin from the UF Department of African American Studies shares how she incorporates oral histories into her courses, and the benefits of using these resources in the classroom to incorporate firsthand accounts and testimonies and in depth information on particular topics which may not be found in other resources.

Documenting Personal and Community Stories

UF librarian Perry Collins provides an overview of documenting oral histories as well as ethical and copyright guidelines to follow when collecting and sharing oral histories.

Practical Approaches to Conducting Oral History Projects

Paul Ortíz the director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at UF reviews basic requirements and potential deliverables for oral history projects.

Resources

Oral History in the Digital Age

This collaborative resource provides information on documenting oral history, ethics and copyright issues and examples of how oral history is used in libraries, museums, the classroom, and more.

Documenting the Now

UF librarian Perry Collins provides an overview of documenting oral histories as well as ethical and copyright guidelines to follow when collecting and sharing oral histories.

Haitian Diaspora Oral Histories

This collection at the University of Miami includes interviews with artists, activists, and educators of Haitian descent.

Categories
Projects and Courses

Roots of the Commonwealth: Caribbean Provisions from the British Empire to the 21st Century

Dr. Keja Valens, Salem State University


We will consider literary, historical, and archival materials as we work to chart the ways that provisions have been planted and transplanted, prepared and consumed, imagined and depicted in relation to ideas of indigeneity, independence, and community in the Caribbean and its diaspora.

Course Overview

  • ENG 715: Topics in Digital Studies, a graduate-level course
  • Examine and use concepts and practices of postcolonial digital humanities to trace literary, culinary, agricultural, and economic paths of ground provisions with a focus on provisions such as yuca, yam and plantain in and through the Caribbean from the 15th through the 21st centuries.
  • Draw course materials from the Early Caribbean Digital Archive, the Digital Library of the Caribbean, HathiTrust, the Internet Archive and other similar sources to develop digital projects that include mapping, timelines, and curated exhibits.

Outcomes & Deliverables

Students completed a series of assignments focused on critical analysis of primary sources and interpretation through digital tools. They completed reflective writings and developed “Provisions,” a multi-exhibit Omeka project.

Resources

Course Syllabus

Spring 2020 schedule with links to additional resources and readings (Shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license.)

Assignment: Mapping & Meaning

Designed to support critical and conceptual thinking about maps (Shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license.)

Assignment: How are West Indians Represented in the Archive?

Reflecting on Lady Nugent’s Journal (Shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license.)

Exhibit: Provisions

A series of student-created Omeka exhibits on the role of ground provisions such as yams in Caribbean foodways

New Digital Worlds

Students read Dr. Roopika Risam’s book throughout the semester.

Institute Reflection

Keja discusses how the institute impacted her course.

Categories
Blog Posts Reflection

Reflection: Rachel Denney

Rachel Denney (Ph.D. candidate in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, University of Kansas) shares how the institute supported peer networking.


The Migration, Mobility & Sustainability: Caribbean Studies & Digital Humanities Institute gave me the unique opportunity to connect with scholars from across the U.S. and the Caribbean while gaining hands-on experience with the latest technology in digital humanities. As a researcher of the Caribbean in the Midwestern U.S., it’s rare that I have the chance to interact in person with other scholars in my field. The Digital Humanities Institute brought in some of top scholars in Caribbean Studies and I was able to establish invaluable connections in a welcoming small group setting, as opposed to the intensity of
a large international conference. These connections have extended beyond the in-person institute with the regular virtual meetings (which were great preparation for the all-virtual experience of the spring semester). Many of these connections have resulted in professional collaborations on new and exciting research.  

Aside from the personal and professional connections, one of the greatest benefits of the Digital Humanities Institute was the hands-on experience with the latest digital humanities resources. Instead of trying to learn these tools on my own, experts took the time to walk us through each aspect of the new technologies. Large blocks of time were devoted to each resource and we were able to see what kind of projects were best suited for each one (as well as learning from some failed projects of the past). All the participants had the chance to ask questions and experiment with the tools in real time. We bounced ideas off each other and learned tips and tricks to make the resources work for our own research and teaching. I left the in-person Institute completely inspired to incorporate these resources into my research in Caribbean Studies and utilize these digital humanities tools in the classroom.

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