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Ashley Wiersma

Ashley Wiersma


September 4, 2013

Settler Colonialism Uncovered: Launching Stage 1

September 4, 2013 | By | No Comments

At its most simplistic, settler colonialism was (and is) a process in which emigrants move(d) with the express purposes of territorial occupation and the formation of a new community rather than the extraction of labor or resources (however, these may have been or become secondary objectives).[1] An integral part of this process was and is Indigenous dispossession and elimination through various means.  These practices and their impact have important legacies and implications today but are often glossed over in most secondary history curricula and are practically unknown among the general public. For this reason, the processes of settlement and Indigenous dispossession will be the focus of this project.[2]  Despite the steps many Western societies have made toward recognizing and addressing injustice in present settler colonies – including the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand – and former settler colonial metropoles, such as France, education about this topic is rare, controversial, and often meets with white resistance.[3]

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Ashley Wiersma


March 11, 2013

Talking about Digital Pedagogy

March 11, 2013 | By | No Comments

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”
— Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Education has begun to embrace the digital environment, but institutions and instructors are faced with the decision to accept (or not) the possibilities that this new space offers to “practice freedom”. On its surface, one may wonder why a university or instructor would not choose freedom, but this question requires the deconstruction of everything we thought we knew about instruction from the definition of a “course,” to the roles of teachers and students, as well as the location of authority. Digital pedagogy forces us to examine each Read More

Ashley Wiersma


January 14, 2013

Settler Colonialism Uncovered: Beginnings

January 14, 2013 | By | No Comments


The majority of present-day states are former colonies or colonial metropoles, a number of which were or still are settler colonies.[1] Consequently, it is essential to know where and how such colonies formed to understand current geopolitics and to raise awareness of their legacy, especially in present-day settler colonies, such as the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. As a Cultural Heritage Informatics fellow, I am taking the first step toward making information about two prototypes of settler colonization – the United States and French Algeria – available for high school and undergraduate students and educators, as well as early-stage researchers and the general public through a website, entitled “Settler Colonialism Uncovered.”

This project will focus on where, how, and why settler colonies developed in these locations and will allow users to explore the regions’ geography, how the landscape and demographics changed over time due to the influx of settlers, and Read More

Ashley Wiersma


November 28, 2012

THAT Camp Caribe and Current DH Conversations

November 28, 2012 | By | One Comment

“THAT Camp is like drinking from a fire hose.” – Organizer Marta Rivera Monclova on the first day of workshops.

I can attest to the truth of that! I just returned from my first THAT Camp, and I’m still trying to process the many conversations in and out of sessions and what I learned there. I arrived feeling like a freshman on a college campus but quickly discovered that although I have much to learn, I wasn’t as clueless as I thought.

This post highlights some of the hot topics and provides a glimpse into the state of the digital humanities (DH) as of mid-November 2012. In addition to the usual questions and tutorials on DH tools, issues of collaboration, open access, and whether or not coding is an essential skill in DH were the focus of many discussions.

Collaboration: Many of us in the digital humanities have big goals and to accomplish Read More

Ashley Wiersma


November 8, 2012

Exploring Digital Travel through Time and Space – Ashley Wiersma

November 8, 2012 | By | No Comments

I’m a little crazy or maybe a lot crazy, some may even say masochistic. I must be. After working in a ‘real’ job as a high school math teacher for two years, I chose to go back to school as a full time student to earn a PhD in history. I considered pursuing a PhD in applied mathematics after obtaining my bachelor’s as a double major in secondary mathematics and history education, but after reflecting on the way history broadened both my own and my students’ perceptions and understanding of the world (past and present) and each other, a career in history seemed to have the potential to make a more meaningful difference than whatever I decided to do with math.

So here I am five years later, a student in the History department at Michigan State University, “All But Dissertation,” and working on said dissertation. My research began Read More