My name is Liz Timbs. I am a doctoral candidate in African History here at Michigan State University. I also hold a Master’s in Comparative World History from George Mason University. In my graduate education, I have had the opportunity to work at two institutions which have demonstrated dedication to the application of digital methods to the study of history, both at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and MATRIX at Michigan State University. These experiences have shown me the potential of utilizing digital methods within the historical profession, in terms of both research and pedagogy.
My research focuses on the history of health and healing in South Africa, particularly the nation’s experience with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. My hope is to, during the course of my dissertation research, begin accumulating enough material to produce a digital archive of the experiences of Zulu-speaking South Africans with this devastating illness. In a similar vein, I hope to produce a documentary on the history of the epidemic, stretching back into the 1980s when the illness first appeared among homosexual men to the era of AIDS denialism and into the present day. Though these projects will probably not come to fruition until further down the line, I am hoping that part of my work as a CHI Fellow can lay the groundwork for these future endeavors.
My interest in digital pedagogy stems from my experiences working as a teaching assistant for Dr. Peter Alegi’s ISS 328 “Culture of Soccer” online course in Summer 2013. Part of MSU’s general education requirements, this 7-week interdisciplinary course explored global soccer in historical and contemporary perspective, analyzing futbol’s changing relationship with race, class, gender, ethnicity, economics, and media. The course took place mainly on a self-hosted WordPress site on the open web. My experiences in this course (covered in part in this post) taught me the potential for using digital platforms to facilitate communication and engagement with students. I am currently working to develop my own online course and I hope that I will learn to implement different digital platforms into this course as a Cultural Heritage Fellow.
In my (increasingly limited) spare time, I like to play with my dog, cook, and watch sports, especially soccer and American football (Go Steelers!). I am looking forward to sharing my experiences as a CHI Fellow in what promises to be a productive, exciting year!