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2015 December



December 26, 2015

Expanding The Xicano Cookbook

December 26, 2015 | By | No Comments

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.

Xicano Cookbook Image

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.

Bernard C. Moore


December 19, 2015

Namibia Digital Repository: An Effort Towards “Democratizing Knowledge”

December 19, 2015 | By | No Comments

The politics of publishing in African studies are controversial and problematic. This is the dilemma: foreign researchers are able to obtain more funds than African-based academics to conduct often very innovative research projects. In order to obtain tenure, and therefore more research funds, these professors publish in western university presses (or Palgrave and Routledge, which is a different story). Western presses choose not to sell their books on the African continent because the market is deemed “unprofitable.” African Universities seek to make themselves look more “respectable” in the eyes of western donors, so they encourage their faculty to publish “internationally” in order to obtain tenure and raise the standing of their departments. With less prestigious alma-maters and sites of employment, as well as less research funds, many of these African-based academics fail to get enough material published abroad, most obtain tenure through university service and teaching. Even if they do publish abroad, the materials are still subject to the dilemmas elaborated upon above. A Namibian academic publishing with Indiana University Press will still not have his or her book available for sale or distribution (beyond the author’s own copies) in Namibia.

This is reflective of fundamental inequalities in knowledge production and access to knowledge about the African continent. Because of the dynamics of tenure, sales, copyrights, and access to research funds, knowledge about Africa remains securely in Euro-American hands. In a cruel ironic twist, African-based faculty apply for fellowships to research about their own countries in the Michigan State University library.

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December 18, 2015

This is my story: Detroit 1967

December 18, 2015 | By | No Comments

They [the media] just referred to it as a riot. Down on the ground it looked like a rebellion. But the media and the power structure had a lot of things wrong,” said Ed Vaughn, activist and businessman in Detroit.[1]

This is my story: Detroit 1967 is an oral history based multimedia project, which looks to residents and eyewitnesses to tell their stories of surviving the most devastating riots the city has ever seen. It allows residents to correct the highly media reliant narrative of what occurred without accounting for the systemic and institutional injustices Blacks say were the bedrock for the rebellion.

“It’s going to be a long, hot summer!”

The narrative of the Detroit uprising, also known as, the “Great Rebellion,” mostly told orally includes largely truth and ends with urban legends e.g. agent provocateurs. In the early morning hours of Sunday, July 23, 1967, outnumbered and unprepared officers arrived at a Blind Pig on 12th Street and Clairmont Avenue in the Virginia Park neighborhood prepared to shutdown a bar operating illegally with its liquor license. Patrons of the bar were celebrating the return of two Vietnam soldiers. The details following the raid inside the club and what occurred outside is obscure.

Frustrated residents terrorized, harassed and brutalized by officers known as the “Big Four” fought back, thus the rebellion was born. The “Big Four” were a group of four officers known around the neighborhood to make life unbearable for Blacks. Residents vandalized businesses, looted and/or set them ablaze.

“One thing the riots were not. They were not a massive Negro uprising against white people. There was little hatred in the Sunday outbreak. There were Negro and white looters and snipers fought by Negro and white policemen and soldiers. It wasn’t basically race against race. This needs to be emphasized because some terms used to describe what happened—Negro riots, ghetto uprising, negro rebellion—don’t really describe what occurred in Detroit.”[2]

The four-day rebellion was by far the most devastating on record of the 20th century until the L.A. riots of 1992 following the Rodney King verdict. As expected, there’s conflicting information as to the loss and damages. Forty-three people died—at least that was what was reported. More than 2,000 people were injured; over 7,000 people filled the jails in the city and the overflow on Belle Isle; city firefighters either put out, watched or ignored the calls for roughly 2,000 building fires and millions were reported in damages.

The paradox of this leaderless uprising it drastically shifted the demographics, economics and politics of the city, reinforcing white flight to the suburbs, black flight to other urban centers and ironically black resistance to stay put and rebuild. “Let white America know that the name of the game is tit-for-tat, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a life for a life. Motown. If you don’t come around, we are going to burn it down!”[3] said H. Rap Brown, political activist, former chairman of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and Minister of Justice for the Black Panther Party (BPP). Unlike most American cities, the rebellion tore Detroit apart and led to the slow and painful decades long demise and deterioration for the country to see, a city lost to the false promises of rebirth, growth, urban renewal and globalization.

During the long, hot summer of 1967 more than 100 cities went up in flames. The following year, roughly the same cities would once again erupt in violence as an emotional response to the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In no way is this project attempting to pathologize Detroit as the mecca of urban uprising madness; I’m simply giving those who’ve needed to speak their truth on the subject a platform to do so and a means to correct it all. Essentially, This is my story: Detroit 1967 is adding to and correcting the historical record as to what really happened July 23, 1967 and the days to follow, as well as, its cause.

Image " Detroit, MI" by Flickr user JasonParis used under CC BY 2.0

Image ” Detroit, MI” by Flickr user JasonParis used under CC BY 2.0

[1] Kim Hunter “1967: Detroiters Remember” Against The Current, September 1997,

[2] “As We See It: Sift Ashes for Reasons Behind Ghetto Outbreak” The Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan), July 27, 1967.

[3] Kate Stacy “July 1967: Rebellion” Solidarity—Against the Current, July 2007,



December 18, 2015

Attuning to Cultural Differences through Community Soundscapescapes

December 18, 2015 | By | No Comments

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 9.17.05 AMAs new(er) communicative landscapes emerge, humanities educators and research in the teaching of cultural heritage have enthusiastically embraced digital and visual culture. From more (g)local understandings of cosmopolitanism to understanding how locative literacies and contemporary technologies are mediating youth identity making with place, the digital has made its mark. Despite this renewed emphasis on multimodality, however, the aural and sonic possibilities of composing with and through sound is ignored. In response to this tuning out, #hearmyhome is an “everyday” cultural heritage informatics project that interrogates how individuals write community through and with sound. Examining everyday people produced soundscapes, #hearmyhome inquires how hearing difference and listening to communities may re-educate the senses and attune us towards cultural difference. Ultimately developing materials that hear, recognize, and sustain community literacies and cultural rhetorics, #hearmyhome asks us to take heed of the frequencies and rhythms of culture as we architect, design, and teach towards more equitable landscapes for learning.

So, What Does This Look / Sound Like?

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 9.22.00 AM#hearmyhome will function as a mobile website with a participatory map-archive of soundscapes composed. Given #hearmyhome’s pedagogical intent, the project will be built and co-constructed through a series of “sonic events” happening across February, March, and April. As a participatory cultural heritage informatics project, we hope to circulate the project through a variety of writing partners/organizations (e.g., National Writing Project, #CLMOOC, #WalkMyWorld, Becoming 3lectric) in hopes to gain new followers and participants. Outside of the more participatory aspect of the project, #hearmyhome will also include archived cultural soundscapes taken from pre-existing audio-based community literacy sites/projects.

Interested in an Audio Overview? Listen here and follow us on SoundCloud!

Want to Participate?

Using the #hearmyhome tag, users will have the opportunity to input basic profile information (i.e. first name, age, where they live, text descriptors), and record the everyday soundscapes of their communities, rituals, cultures, etc.  Audio, comments, usernames, and locations will pull into a live map hosted on the mobile site. #hearmyhome will only pull in social media updates for users with geotagging services turned on (Instagram, Vine, Twitter) and #hearmyhome included in post. In addition to the “live” map hosted on the mobile site, sonic curricular resources for youth and teachers interested in composing everyday cultural heritage with and through sound (lesson/project plans, etc.) will be included and hosted on the site.hearmyhome3

Focusing on “everyday” cultural heritage, #hearmyhome demonstrates how youth and adults can hear and listen to better understand difference and community literacies through expansive personal learning networks (PLN). Illustrated by the mobile site’s larger open-networked soundscapes map, #hearmyhome is an affinity space wherein participants share both knowledge and life experiences (through sonic events and audio) as a way to form interpersonal relationships and create a fuller understanding of community and culture.

For more information and up-to-date announcements join our mailing list at

Photo “Trip Planning” by Flickr user Shawn Harquail. Used under Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license

Sara Bijani


December 9, 2015

Archiving Oral Culture

December 9, 2015 | By | No Comments

I’ve been taking my comprehensive exams over the course of this semester, which provides a strange and exhausting opportunity to really step back and think about the state of my field of research, as well as the ways that field has historically been presented to students and scholars from outside of the field. The overlap between reading for these exams and planning a project for the CHI fellowship has provided me with some interesting perspectives on the problems of teaching recent American history, as well as some useful perspective on the potential value of new archival resources in the classroom, particularly around audio and visual content. The traditional print sources that historians favor make up an increasingly small part of the cultural archive available to those of us who study the very recent past, and I’m excited to have this opportunity to try my hand at building a more accessible means of accessing these multilayered sources. Oral histories, in particular, interest me. “True” oral histories—collaboratively constructed narrations of a person’s life history—provide a deeply dimensional and rich resource for historians, provided that they are treated as something more than a flat and flawed transcription of an audio file. Unfortunately, the practical exigencies of real time work with audio files leads most historians to lean heavily on these transcripts. Text files are searchable, making them efficient to catalogue and reference in research. Audio files are unwieldy and extremely difficult to effectively “skim,” making them unpopular with any scholar on a deadline. The “Oral History Metadata Synchronizer” software—primarily developed by Doug Boyd and the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries—offers a potential solution to the practical problems of academic research with oral histories.

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December 8, 2015

Politics and Form : The Armed Services Editions

December 8, 2015 | By | No Comments

As a CHI Fellow, I’m undertaking a large-scale text analysis of the Armed Services Editions, a collection of novels sent to US Soldiers during WWII to “fight the war on ideas,” to consider issues of politics and literary form. I first stumbled on the Armed Services Editions a few years ago, while researching Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. You may recall Jake’s description of Robert Cohn, early in the novel:

He had been reading W.H. Hudson. That sounds like an innocent occupation, but Cohn and read and reread “The Purple Land.” “The Purple Land” is a very sinister book if read too late in life…For a man to take it at thirty-four as a guide-book to what life holds is about as safe as it would be for a man of the same age to enter Wall Street direct from a French convent, equipped with a set of the more practical Alger books.

I was working on a project on modernist reading networks, and this passage jumped out at me. I looked into The Purple Land and found that it was chosen to be a part of the Armed Services Editions in World War II, 16 years after the publication of The Sun Also Rises. Cursory research into the Armed Services Editions led me to the Council on Books in Wartime, a committee of publishers that assembled during World War II and contracted with the US Military to produce cheap paperback editions for US soldiers abroad. The goal (and slogan) of the Council on Books in Wartime was to use books as “weapons in the war of ideas.” Books had an important role to play in the war effort, the CBW wrote, because “Books can help us recover our past and teach us what a tough-fibered people we can be when we have to. Books can tell us what our enemies are like. Even prizefighters study their opponents carefully.[…]Books can tell us what our allies are like.” All of this was vitally important to such a “total war.”

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December 4, 2015

BARDSS – “Baptism Record Database for Slave Societies”

December 4, 2015 | By | No Comments

BARDSS   Hi everyone, I would like to introduce the project I am developing now at Michigan State University. I am currently working collaboratively with Andrew Barsom, a fellow doctoral student in the Department of History at MSU, on the Baptismal Record Database for Slave Societies (BARDSS) project. This online database, which is part of MSU’s Slave Biographies network, will contain information on hundreds of thousands of slaves and free people of color, their owners, and their families in places such as colonial Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, Florida, and Louisiana. The BARDSS data is drawn from the baptismal records that have been digitized and made available online thanks to the Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies (ESSSS) project at Vanderbilt University ( Because to the uniformity of Catholic baptismal entries over the centuries and across national boundaries,BARDSS is inherently an expandable project designed to encourage collaborative contributions from scholars of geographically and chronologically diverse settings around the Atlantic World. BARDSS has the potential to transform the study of Atlantic slavery and the slave trade, by allowing scholars to easily access and manipulate large demographic datasets containing information on individual enslaved persons and their relationships with other slaves, free people of color, and slave owners. For each baptismal entry included in the database, BARDSS includes information on the geographical location, name, age, gender, race, national identity, parentage, god-parentage, legal status, and ownership of the baptized individual. The broad scope of this information will allow historians the flexibility to answer a wide range of historical and sociological research questions using a variety of analytical methods. Furthermore, BARDSS will be a potentially valuable genealogical resource for individuals in the wider public who trace their origins to the colonial Americas.

Bernard C. Moore


December 2, 2015

Digitizing History: The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission Archive

December 2, 2015 | By | No Comments

Digitization and archiving of historical materials is an intensely political process. While technical aspects are still crucial to having a functioning online resource, we must realize that cultural heritage informatics projects are done for specific reasons. I’d like to elaborate on one of my favorite, if still partially flawed digital resources: the SABC Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) website.

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Autumn Beyer


December 2, 2015

Mapping Morton Village – A Digital Archaeological Experience

December 2, 2015 | By | No Comments

What is the Morton Village Site? Why did we choose to use it for our fellowship project?

Our project will be focused around a single archaeological site, Morton Village. The Morton Village site is a integrated Mississippian and Oneota habitation site, located in the Central Illinois River Valley, dating from around AD 1300 to 1400. Excavations at this site have taken place since the 1980s and current research at the site has been ongoing since 2008 through a joint project between Michigan State University and the Dickson Mounds Museum. We chose Morton Village as the focus for our fellowship because we both will use data from the Morton Village site for our dissertation research and we wanted our fellowship project to benefit the archaeological project.

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Lisa Bright


December 2, 2015

ossuaryKB: The Mortuary Method and Practice Knowledge Base

December 2, 2015 | By | No Comments

I’ve previously mentioned that Katy Meyers Emery and myself are working on a larger project called ossuaryKB: The Mortuary Method & Practice Knowledge Base. This project is being produced in conjunction with the Institute on Digital Archaeology Method & Practice. This multiyear institute is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and organized by MSU’s Department of Anthropology and MATRIX.   We attended the first portion (this past August) along with other archaeologists and scholars to develop new skills in digital method and practice. Each participant is required to develop a significant digital archaeological project by the end of the second portion of the institute (August 2016).

OssuaryKB seeks to leverage the diversity found in mortuary archaeology to improve standards, increase conversation and collaboration between different periods and regions of research, and improve methods and practice. In order to do this, we need a single knowledge base where mortuary archaeologists can see best practices, exemplar case studies, innovative methods, and more. This knowledge base will allow researchers to find new methods, see innovative practices, connect with other archaeologists, comment on these new methods and share their own work.

Each project included in the site will have identifiers or keywords that relate to the methods and practices that they are using that will allow people to easily find the project based on those words. For example, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Historic-Era Cemetery would be listed as a project with keywords such as ‘historic’, ‘inhumation’, ‘block-lifting’, ‘low preservation’, ‘redwood coffins’ etc. Users who were interested in learning about unique methods for dealing with ‘low preservation’ would look that up in the knowledge base, and learn about projects like this. Each record about the site will include a narrative about the site, citations, any documentation they used, and space for commenting from the archaeologists and users. In addition to the project records, there will be information about the new and traditional methods that these projects are using. We will also provide links to various websites or databases that are linked to the projects, methods or practices- such as links to ASU standards or BABAO forms.

So, for my CHI project I’ll be working on a portion of this larger project, specifically building the database. I’m taking a KISS approach (keep it simple stupid) and am leaning towards a SQL database. This will of course depend on the hierarchical data organization we decide on for the website functionality. The Digital Archeology Institute also pairs each of the projects with several mentors who provide feedback and help guide the project. Their input may slightly change our trajectory, but I look forward to sharing the process with you all!