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2015 September



September 30, 2015

CHI Fellow Introduction: Jorge Felipe Gonzalez

September 30, 2015 | By | No Comments

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I am a second year PhD student in the Department of History at MSU. I received my undergraduate degree in History at the University of Havana in 2007. During a couple of years after graduation, I taught different courses at my Alma Mater. After a research stay as a fellow at the Iberoamerican Institute in Berlin, I started working as a researcher at the Fernando Ortiz Foundation in Cuba. The first digital project I was involved was a digital database about the liberated Africans community in Cuba during the 19th century. I coordinated a team of scholars working in Cuban archives, collecting, processing, and adding data to a software created for this project. Currently, I am developing with a colleague another digital database (hosted at MATRIX at MSU) based on baptism records from the black population from Cuba, Brazil, and the US. This project will gather substantial new information about slaves and their descendants in different regions in the Americas. This fellowship is a great opportunity to enrich my knowledge about digital tools that historians can apply for processing, preserving, and sharing data. CHI is undoubtedly related to my research interests.

My PhD dissertation focuses on the Atlantic connections among slave traders from Upper Guinea, Cuba and the Southern States in the US in order to explain the origins of the Spanish slave trade at the end of the 18th century and the emergence of the region of Galinhas in Africa as an important port of embarkation during the 19th century.  My fields of specialization are Atlantic History, Caribbean/Cuban History. I am currently pursuing a degree as Africanist at MSU. I am also codirecting a project at the  Afro-Latin American Research Institute at the Hutchins Center about the connections between Cuba and the US in the Atlantic slave trade.



September 29, 2015

CHI Fellow Re-Introduction: Santos F. Ramos

September 29, 2015 | By | No Comments

Coyols Unapologetic Survival

I am a returning fellow for the program, last year having developed a digital project documenting Xicano culture in the Great Lakes Region, Indigenous food sovereignty, and MiXicano visual art. I am now in my second year of a PhD program in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures, focusing on Cultural and Indigenous Rhetorics. My research takes an ethnographic approach to examining the intersections of pedagogy, Indigeneity, and social movements, and I also try to spend as much time as possible supporting local community education programs geared toward Indigenous youth—such as the Indigenous Youth Empowerment Program and the Native American Youth Association.

One of my primary interests is looking at cultural continuance as a form of resistance to assimilation with Western modernity and considering the relationship between academic research and non-academic Indigenous communities who engage these types of practices. Especially as a Xicano person living in Michigan, much of my attention is also focused on inter-Indigenous relationships and with negotiating the often-conflicting markers of “Indigenous” and “migrant.”

I am excited to be back for another year in this program because it has created many opportunities for me to think about all of these fun/complicated topics in a different way than I am typically used to. By developing a website to explore these subjects, new questions come up about the way that cultures are being influenced by the intense emergence of digital platforms.

Here’s to another solid year as a CHI Fellow!

Update: the image used above was created by Angélica De Jesús and was used in my project for last year, The Xicano Cookbook: Survival in the Great Lakes Region.



September 28, 2015

CHI Fellow Introduction: Jon M. Wargo

September 28, 2015 | By | No Comments

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 4.22.21 PMHello! My name is Jon M. Wargo. Currently, I am a doctoral candidate in Teacher Education specializing in language and literacy education and receiving a graduate certificate in qualitative research methods. Prior to coming to Michigan State University I received my B.A. in English and Gender Studies at Indiana University and taught/field-instructed K-12 English language arts in Colorado. I am very excited to round out my graduate school career by being a CHI fellow!

Anchored in interdisciplinary study, my work engages with qualitative and humanities oriented research to explore the intersections of language and literacy education, technology, and cultural rhetorics. Given the increasing presence and seemingly ubiquitous status new media and digital technologies have in mediating contemporary lives, my dissertation project examines how LGBT and queer youth engage in these varying levels of mediation as they navigate and negotiate communities, construct visibility, and orchestrate convergent identities across online/offline contexts. Emerging from my interests in youth multimodal composing, my research continues to be informed by the haptic practices of writing in digital environments. Leveraging audio as the mode of primacy, I hope to utilize the CHI fellowship to interrogate how community literacies and cultural rhetorics are written through and with sound. Ultimately working to connect digital soundscapes around the globe, one of my larger goals this year is to develop pedagogical materials for humanities teachers interested in working with sonic composing. Through this participatory archive and knowledge base I hope to build materials that hear, recognize, and sustain community and help attune educators to the rhythms of culture.

Sara Bijani


September 25, 2015

CHI Fellow Introduction: Sara Bijani

September 25, 2015 | By | No Comments

I am a historian of the contemporary United States, with research interests in the areas of gender and political culture. This fellowship presents an exciting opportunity to learn methodological skills that will strongly enrich my future work, as the temporal and social dimensions of my research are well suited to the unique narrative structures that digital scholarship provides. More specifically, my dissertation project explores the interactions of activist coalitions, federal urban policy, and municipal governance in the late 20th century United States. Within this context, I study the intersections of formal politics and outsider identities in large municipalities, with an emphasis on those coalitions and politicians whose activism reshaped structures of governance in several large cities during the culture wars of the 1980s. I am principally interested in a small wave of women who were elected to mayoral offices in large U.S. cities during the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the local coalitions that made these elections possible. I argue that these women mayors in the late 20th century U.S. demonstrated a spectrum of sensitivity to sex, gender, race, and other identity based experiences of injustice that cannot be simplistically reduced to their own individual sex identity, but that also cannot be entirely disassociated from the situated cultural experience of being sexed in a particular time and place. Uncovering these experiences—many of them retained by living people—requires the development of a toolkit that incorporates but goes beyond the archival methods traditionally employed by historians.

I recently completed an intensive and inspiring two week summer institute in oral history at Columbia University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics, where a fair amount of the workshops emphasized the unique challenges and opportunities of digital curation within oral history archives. As Doug Boyd compelling (and repeatedly) warned the fellows at this institute, the promise of digital access is still very much a work in progress for most archives, as the sheer volume of the collections makes accessible curation extremely difficult. As a CHI fellow this year, I hope to develop a pilot version of a recyclable digital gallery interface for oral history collections here in the Michigan State University libraries. Recognizing that this is a very lofty goal, I do hope to produce something that will add to the library’s ongoing digital initiatives in a useful and meaningful way. Stay tuned to find out what that looks like!

[image: A “pro plan” delegate at the 1977 National Women’s Conference in Houston, Texas clipped from the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year. “The Spirit of Houston: The First National Women’s Conference: An Official Report to the President, the Congress and the People of the United States.” Washington: U.S. Government. Printing Office, 1978.]


September 25, 2015

CHI Fellow Introduction: Laura McGrath

September 25, 2015 | By | No Comments

My name is Laura B. McGrath. I am a fifth-year doctoral candidate (ABD) in the Department of English at MSU. I am very excited to be a CHI Fellow for 2015-2016. IMG_1211I study literary modernism and digital humanities. My dissertation, tentatively titled Modernish: Modernism and Literary Distinction in the 21st Century, uses traditional, ethnographic, and digital methods to explore modernism’s symbolic capital in the field of contemporary publishing. I have also served as Project Manager for the Digital Humanities and Literary Cognition lab (DHLC) in MSU’s English Department. In my capacity as Project Manager, I have written and received a number of grants (including the ACLS Digital Innovations Grant), mentored our undergraduate student researchers, and taught DH methods with the aim of developing our centerpiece project: a study of the neuroscience of reading Jane Austen. I have been fortunate to represent our work at the Literary Lab at Stanford University, and was invited to be a member of the Graduate Student Caucus at the University of Chicago’s Cultural Analytics conference, hosted by the Neubauer Collegium.

I am very much looking forward to my year as a CHI Fellow. I am looking forward to launching a large-scale, text analysis project on the Armed Services Editions. The Armed Services Editions are a collection of ~1,500 novels, repurposed for American soldiers during WWII. These texts were collected by the Council on Books in Wartime, a short-lived (and scary-sounding) office in the Department of Defense. The idea, so the CBW’s story goes, was to select only the most “democratic” novels in order to help American soldiers “fight the war of ideas.” Through a literary-sociological corpus study, I want to figure out what a “democratic” novel or style is– at least, according to the Department of Defense in 1942. This project has the potential to open up some fascinating questions about the intersection of politics and literary form, and hopefully give some insight on the literary field during a crucial period in American culture.

My written work has appeared in SymbolismPerspectives, and Books and Culture.




September 25, 2015

CHI Introduction Fellow: Joyce-Zoe Farley

September 25, 2015 | By | No Comments

Joyce FarleyMy name is Joyce-Zoe Farley; I’m a second-year doctoral student in African American and African Studies (AAAS) with a graduate certification in Advance Journalism. My research focuses on riots, rebellions, civil disturbances and uprisings of the 20th century with the catalyst of the research being Detroit 1967. I will be the first non-traditional dissertation in AAAS producing a documentary film instead of the conventional book. I’m unlike most emerging Black Studies scholars, as oppose to having a background in history, I have a Bachelors in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Business Management from Hampton University in Hampton, VA. Hampton University is a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) with a rich history of advancing the lives of Black people through education. Additionally, I completed a Masters in Oral History with a concentration in African American studies from Columbia University in New York City. Scholar-entrepreneur-innovator is a title that I enthusiastically embrace and will more than likely be the trajectory of my career once I’ve attained my doctorate here at Michigan State. This path has necessitated a unique set of skills—coding, programming, project development and etc. all found in the Cultural Heritage Informatics (CHI) Fellowship. I’m thrilled to be a 2015-2106 CHI Fellow and explore the digital world.

Check out my latest film from my study abroad this summer at the University of Leiden in Leiden, Netherlands. It is a cross-cultural analysis of two continents through the eyes of an emerging scholar, journalist, independent critical ethnographer and thinker.

Nikki Silva


September 20, 2015

CHI Fellow Introduction: Nikki Silva

September 20, 2015 | By | No Comments

nikkifieldphotoHi there! My name is Nikki Silva and I’m a 4th year PhD student in the Department of Anthropology where I focus in archaeology. I received my B.S. in Anthropology from Baylor University in 2012 and my M.A. in Anthropology from MSU in 2014. My research focuses on how cultural interaction affects community organization and the use of space. For my dissertation I will examine the Morton Village site in the Central Illinois River Valley as a case study of cultural interaction.
The Morton Village Archaeological Project is an ongoing collaborative research project between MSU and the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown, IL (near the site). For the past three summers I helped supervise a ‘Taste of Archaeology’ camp, which allowed the public to experience 4 days of the excavations at Morton Village. This experience has shown me the importance of public archaeology and I will use my CHI project to make some of the Morton Village research accessible to the public. I look forward to an exciting year as a CHI fellow!
Autumn Beyer


September 16, 2015

CHI Fellow Introduction: Autumn Beyer

September 16, 2015 | By | No Comments

Autumn BeyerHello! My name is Autumn Beyer and I am very excited to be back at Michigan State. I received my B.S. from MSU in Anthropology with a Specialization in Museum Studies in 2013. Then I moved south and attended Illinois State University in Normal, IL for my M.S. in Archaeology. At ISU I focused on zooarchaeology, a subfield of archaeology studying animal remains. My thesis was on the Kuhne site, a Middle Woodland habitation in Central Illinois located along the Illinois River. I defended my thesis this past March, and then spent my summer working as the graduate teaching assistant on a Research Experience for Undergraduates program hosted by the Center for American Archeology in Kampsville, IL.

Now that I am back at MSU for my Ph.D. I will be continuing to study zooarchaeology. My plan is to work on the faunal remains recovered from the Morton Village site excavations run through MSU and the Dickson Mounds Museum.

As a CHI fellow, I am looking forward to integrating digital platforms into my research. I would like to use this opportunity to increase the visibility of current archaeological and zooarchaeological research, as well make it more attainable for the public.


Lisa Bright


September 15, 2015

Re-Introducing Lisa Bright

September 15, 2015 | By | No Comments

Hello again. I’m happy to say that I’m a returning CHI fellow. I’m looking forward to getting to know this new CHI cohort, and learn some new digital tools and tricks. In case you’re just tuning in to the CHI blog, I’ll rewind for a moment and introduce myself.Lisa Bright

I’m Lisa Bright, a second year Ph.D. student in the anthropology department. I’m also currently serving as the Campus Archaeologist for the MSU Campus Archaeology Program. My main scholarly focus is mortuary archaeology. Mortuary archaeology is the study of material remains related to funerary behavior, and the deceased themselves. As a discipline, it covers a wide range of space and time, but I focus on a historic cemetery in San Jose, California. My dissertation examines the pathology and nutrition of the individuals that were interred there. The cemetery was in use from 1875-1935 so I’m hoping that my research will allow a better understanding of health during western expansion and industrialization. My previous CHI project, Mortuary Mapping, focused on creating interactive maps of the cemetery that allowed users to examine variables like age, sex, and button patterns. This summer I added new material that I gathered in trips to San Jose area archives.

My project this year will be a bit different. I was able to participate in the Institute on Digital Archaeology & Practice (DAI) last month. Part of this NEH funded institute requires the completion of a digital project. For CHI, I will be working on creating the database functionality of the DAI project myself and Katy Meyers Emery have proposed: ossuaryKB: The Mortuary Method & Practice Knowledgebase. This knowledgebase will serve as a central location for where mortuary archaeologists can see and share best practices, case examples, forms, innovative methods and more.  I look forward to sharing my progress with you all.