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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.

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