Categories
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
Projects and Courses

Digital Mapping Project & Presentation

Dr. Takkara Brunson (California State University, Fresno)


Students will generate their own topic on Black/African experiences on the continent or in the diaspora, and map major locations using StoryMaps.

Project Goals

  • Develop an original research project on Black/African experience on the continent or in the diaspora, focusing on issues of religion, gender, ethnic identity, precolonial or post-colonial society, politics music, or the visual arts
  • Map at least 7 locations related to the topic using StoryMaps
  • Make an argument about the topic to support the thesis
  • Make a traditional oral presentation of topic
  • Create a poster presentation of the map showing how it supports the thesis

Students draw on major themes from the course African Cultural Perspectives to identify and map the major issues, sites, and topics which speak to their own interests and thesis. The project incorporates StoryMap JS, allowing students to not only create a textual description of their topic, but visualize it by mapping the major locations and events which provide cultural context.

Outcomes & Deliverables

As the final project, students will create a StoryMap with a minimum of 7 locations, a poster which displays the map along with relevant descriptions and information, and share these products through a traditional oral presentation.

Resources

Digital Mapping Assignment

Read the full assignment description from Dr. Brunson’s African Cultural Perspectives course

Mapping & Timelines

Explore more digital mapping tools that can facilitate student creation of visual projects

Institute Reflection

Dr. Brunson summarizes her experience at the institute

Categories
Blog Posts Reflection

Reflection: Molly Hamm-Rodríguez

PhD candidate in Equity, Bilinguialism and Biliteracy Molly Hamm-Rodríguez (School of Education, University of Colorado Boulder) discusses how the Caribbean Digital Humanities Institute has helped her think about how to integrate digital tools and Caribbean intellectual thought throughout her teaching, research, and professional development work with schools and educators.


My initial application to CDHI was motivated by a desire to integrate digital tools into a collaborative storytelling project with Central Florida high school teachers and Puerto Rican students who had been displaced by Hurricane María. As a graduate student, I have found that culturally and linguistically responsive teaching for bilingual students is often promoted at a level of abstraction that does not support educators in deeply engaging with the transnational intellectual traditions, social movements, and texts that could provide a more critical and compelling learning experience. For this reason, I was excited to learn about the work of dLOC in producing and sharing teaching guides and K-12 lesson plans as well as delivering teacher training to ensure that Caribbean studies would become a more prominent part of classrooms. These materials have inspired the work that I have been planning as a result of my participation in CDHI.

I will use the CDHI experience to begin developing a university-level syllabus that engages with the Caribbean to investigate key issues of language, culture, and identity in the tradition of linguistic anthropology. The course would include the exploration and application of select digital tools, such as StoryMap JS, learned through CDHI. In addition, I plan to develop an outline for a K-12 teacher professional development workshop that would center the needs of emergent bilingual students from the Caribbean. This workshop would enable teachers focusing on language and literacy development to ground their lesson planning and instruction in historically responsive content that centers a range of socio-cultural and linguistic identities connected to the Caribbean.

During the in-person institute, I was inspired by the broad range of digital humanities work (teaching, research, and service) shared by other scholars. Seeing concrete examples of digital tools in action—applied across a variety of contexts—made it more feasible for me to consider implementing the tools in my own teaching and research. During the institute, I appreciated the opportunity to think expansively about digital tools, while also learning technical details so that I walked away with both new ideas and technological skills. I have found myself paying more attention to projects that engage these digital tools in creative ways, and I am especially interested in seeking out (and creating!) examples from my fields of education, anthropology, and linguistics.

Of course, when I participated in CDHI I could not have anticipated how the covid-19 pandemic would bring me face-to-face with an exponential increase in the need to use digital tools in my teaching and research. Not only am I teaching two courses per semester online, but I am also supporting K-12 teachers who are desperate for digital resources to facilitate a positive learning experience for students of all ages and levels of technology literacy. Indeed, my own dissertation research may need to incorporate digital ethnographic methods due to travel restrictions that have significantly delayed my work in the Dominican Republic. I am grateful for the network of support in CDHI participants and facilitators, and know that I have a place to turn to help me think creatively about the role of digital tools in times of great uncertainty and ongoing precarity.

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
Tools and Topics

Mapping & Timelines

Tools mentioned most often in follow-up interviews after the institute included low-barrier options that students can use to bring together primary sources and analysis into interpretive timelines and maps.


StoryMap JS

StoryMap JS

A free online tool developed at the Northwestern University Knight Lab that allows you to share stories by highlighting locations related to specific events. Upload images, videos, text, or other media to create an educational, virtual resource.

Example project

Colorado State student Samantha Slenker created “Indigenous Language and Society in America.”

Example project

Digital Library of the Caribbean fellow Stephanie Chancy created “dLOC and Its Partners.”

Google My Maps

Google My Maps

Users can create and share their own maps based on particular locations and themes. My Maps can be used via computer, Android, or iPhone and iPad.

Video tutorial

Teacher Meghan Vestal offers an excellent overview of Google My Maps and how it can be used in the classroom in this 7-minute video.

Example project

In “Using Digital Tools to Explore Collective Memory,” Kelsey McNiff, Endicott College, describes an assignment for students to visualize U.S. Holocaust memorials.

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