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January 25, 2012

Project Introduction: Alex Galarza

January 25, 2012 | By | No Comments

In my introductory post as a CHI fellow I briefly described my interests in the football clubs of 1950s and 60s Buenos Aires as ways to study politics, civic association, and mass consumption. After a few months of discussion and planning, I have decided to split my project into two components:
The first segment of my project will entail growing into an interdisciplinary web platform for football scholarship. I co-founded the site with Peter Alegi four semesters ago to bring together authors of football scholarship with fellow researchers and academics. Since then we have enjoyed great success in these meetings and have also developed a number of resources on the website. The project now includes a Zotero group library, film database, audio archive, academic directory, and syllabus repository. As the community grows, it is important that the web platform develop alongside our expanded interests. Over the next semester, I will be applying some lessons in CSS and HTML to redesign the site.

While I am still searching for models and answers on how best to integrate our growing body of resources, there are some concrete challenges that I will address. I will be developing an A-Z guide to downloading, installing, registering, and using Zotero so that FSF members can add their citations to the group library with one helpful guide. The film database would ideally include a simple commenting system so that one can get a sense of the usefulness of films in a classroom setting. For example, a few lines describing the themes, conflicts, or issues discussed in the ESPN 30 for 30 “The Two Escobars” would inform site visitors that the film is an excellent exploration of drugs, politics, and sports in Colombia. The academic directory would also benefit from tagging geographic location so that scholars can know who is where and what they are studying.

Boca Júniors’ Ciudad Deportiva
The second segment of my project will be constructing a model of my future digital dissertation by developing an exhibit around one of my proposed chapters. The chapter deals with the curious case of the Ciudad Deportiva, a mix between a stadium complex and amusement park. It was built over seven artificial islands on sixty hectares of land filled in the Rio de la Plata. Besides an enormous 140,000-seat stadium and various athletic facilities, the project was to include an aquarium, mini-golf, mechanical rides for children, and a drive-in movie theatre for 500 cars. This project combined public and private funds, embodying a new vision of middle-class consumption that fit into city planner’s designs for a modern city with ample leisure space. Yet, a combination of poor engineering, financial mismanagement, and political disputes ensured that the ambitious plans started in 1965 would be largely abandoned by the 1978 World Cup deadline.

I will be using as a model for this digital chapter, integrating text with primary sources and media from my research. I will use Kora to organize the sources and develop a functional front-end for users to interact with the database. This project will be evolving as my research develops, but I already have enough scholarship and digital content to form the skeleton. The chapter will be published under a creative commons license, a step that will provide me with the opportunity to practice and reflect on the meanings of open access scholarship as a graduate student. This will be an important experience for crafting an open access digital dissertation, the importance of which I have written about recently.

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