For my CHI project this year, I will be continuing work on my project The Xicano Cookbook, a digital essay documenting Xicano culture in the Great Lakes region. With a special emphasis on food practice, visual art, and oral history, it articulates the ways in which Xicanos have survived and thrived on Anishinaabe land in the midst of ongoing colonialism. The project is guided by decolonial theory and the ingenuity of everyday Indigenous resistance. Thus, it mixes academic theory with the recorded words and artwork of Great Lakes Xicanos to deliver stories about the cultural survival of a de-tribalized, Indigenous people.
I will draw from a bootstrap theme in order to re-conceptualize the framework of my cookbook project. One of problems with my StoryMaps project is that it’s just a bit clunky, so one of my goals is to simplify the design in order to making navigating the site easier for users. The landing page for my website will center the image of the calavera and title of the project, followed by a short description about how the website relates to Chicana/o Studies.
Tabs at the top of the page will be how users are able to navigate through the different “nodes” I have written. I will continue to use SoundCloud to integrate audio clips into the various nodes. A header with the calavera image and title project will be kept at the top of the page as users scroll down on the information, as will the tabs. An “about” section will include brief information about the CHI initiative, Anishinabek culture, and my approach to this project. A works cited tab will also be visible in order to provide a list of scholarship that I draw from, in addition to including links to other related food projects that exist online—for example, to Decolonize Your Diet.
In many ways, this project is being created for a scholarly audience and will contribute to the fields of Chicana/o Studies, Cultural Rhetoric, and Food Studies. At the same time, in making the Xicano Cookbook multi-modal, I think it will also appeal to non-scholarly audiences interested in visual arts and storytelling.The Xicano Cookbook currently displays two oral histories given by Xicano artists from Michigan. These histories give listeners a sense of the issues that Xicanos face culturally and socially and how they use food practices and art to address those issues. Interviews with several more Great Lakes Xicanos are currently archived in an offline repository and will be added to the site over time.
There are currently 6 different works of art displayed and discussed on the website. The project’s primary function is to speak in depth about the works, providing historical and cultural context and theorizing their political functions, as opposed to acting as a full-fledged digital archive or repository for these images. This is why I have chosen to describe the project a more of a digital or multi-modal essay, rather than using one of the aforementioned terms.