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September 25, 2014

CHI Fellowship Introduction: Becca Hayes

September 25, 2014 | By | No Comments

Greetings! I’m a third year PhD student in Rhetoric and Writing. I earned my BS in Psychology with a Writing Studies minor and my MA degree in English with an emphasis in Composition from North Dakota State University. My MA thesis was an archival project on the rhetorics of identity surrounding abortion legislation and activism in North Dakota, prior to Roe v. Wade.

In addition to continued work on iterations of that research, I also have an ongoing project examining how cisgender women and LGBTQIA folks use storytelling and digital media and tools to organize against street harassment, and I’m working on a book chapter theorizing rhetorics of fetal ultrasounds and gender normativity, alongside my own experience of stillbirth, using a queer framework. Last semester, I was a member of the first cohort of writing residents at MSU’s Broad Museum. Through my public readings, I explored ideas of art, activism, history, and social memory.  If you’re interested, check out the residency archive on the Broad Writing Residency Tumblr.

On the pedagogical side of things, I’m interested in decolonial community-engaged approaches to research and writing in writing courses, especially classes on issues of culture and justice. I’ve taught a few different community-based courses, including a first-year writing course in which students engaged in research with communities and used WordPress and Google Maps platforms to share community stories.

As you may be able to tell, my scholarly interests are many; however, they generally fit within queer and feminist rhetorics, community-engaged methodologies and pedagogies, and public rhetorics and activism, both historically and currently. I’m increasingly interested in questions at the intersections of LGBTQIA communities and digital heritage, such as:

  • How is digitization reshaping the herstories and archiving of queer communities?
  • How have queer cultures preserved their stories, practices, knowledges, languages, and hestories through print and material culture? How is digitization shifting those practices?

I think thosse questions fit well within the interdisciplinary field of cultural heritage informatics and digital cultural heritage in that they focus on the how, that is, the methodologies of, cultures and communities in recording and preserving their pasts, presents, and futures, and I’m looking forward to exploring those issues within the context of the CHI Fellowship this year, although I have yet to settle on one specific project. I’m also incredibly excited to increase my technical skills by building with digital tools and applications, and, already, I’m enjoying the collaborative experience of engaging with and learning from the other CHI Fellows.



September 22, 2014

CHI Fellow Introduction: Christine Neejer

September 22, 2014 | By | No Comments

When we think about business and industry in the nineteenth-century United States, a few archetypes come to mind: the wealthy tycoon, the factory worker, the inventor, and the small business owner. Most of us usually imagine these people as men. This is not an accident, but a result of what we learned in high school and college history courses about nineteenth-century life. Images of young girls working in textile mills may come to mind, but rarely do we picture nineteenth-century women filing patents of their own inventions, running a store or building complex machinery. Yet, with a little detective work, one can find a variety of sources which showcase the diversity of women’s engagement with business in the nineteenth-century.

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September 19, 2014

Hello there! CHI Fellowship Intro: Jennifer A. Royston

September 19, 2014 | By | No Comments

My name is Jennifer A. Royston and I am very excited to be a CHI fellow this academic year. While I’m not ready to announce my project just yet, I do have some interesting ideas up my sleeve! Stayed tuned…

I am a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of English. Before coming to MSU I earned an MA in ‘Shakespeare in History’ from University College London. And before that I taught high school English at an International Baccalaureate school. I specialize in Renaissance literature, specifically drama, and the metadramatic function of paintings and painters on the Early Modern stage. I explore why Renaissance playwrights were invested in dramatizing painters, and why visual art was so often staged or otherwise evoked through verbal means. I am especially interested in the rise of English artistic theory and how this body of literature differs from its paragone predecessors, especially when represented on the London stage.

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September 17, 2014

CHI Fellowship Introduction: Santos Ramos

September 17, 2014 | By | No Comments

Like many other Chican@s, my father’s family immigrated to Michigan from the Texas/Mexico borderlands in search of work. For us, this migration came a couple generations ago. So I grew up in Michigan, but have spent the past 3 years engaged in teaching and research experiences in Virginia and Cambodia. I am now back in Michigan as a PhD student in the Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures department here at Michigan State University. I’m excited to be a CHI fellow this year, especially as a newcomer to cultural heritage informatics in search of more technical skills to compliment my theoretical, content-driven brain.

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September 16, 2014

CHI Fellowship Introduction: J. M. Bradshaw

September 16, 2014 | By | No Comments

I study the history of greater Western Sahara, an area that stretches from southern Morocco to the upper reaches of the Senegal river. The project I plan to develop with Matrix through my CHI fellowship will take a broad look at the African Islamic World as it appears in Anglophone media. I will present the relationship between the Anglophone world and Islamic Africa. I will also explore the different ways Anglophone art, and literature have exoticized Islamic Africa. The intellectual framework for my project comes from a long standing fascination I have had with the idea of Islamic Africa’s early involvement in the Atlantic world.

This interest began when I was an undergraduate at the College of Charleston when my advisor and mentor Assan Sarr showed me runaway slave advertisements that featured Muslim names. I hope to showcase some of the work Sylviane Diouf and Ralph Austen have already contributed on this topic. However, the part of the project that I am most excited about is an analysis of 19th century travel literature that told stories of shipwrecked sailors enslaved in the lands of Islam. This literature appeals to me in for two reasons. First I think a cautious and studious reader could glean bits of usable ethnographic information from these accounts. Secondly I am interested in them because they are in a way a kind of slave narrative. They offer not only accounts of individuals, but insight into the discourse of race, abolitionism, and human rights at the time they were written.


What will this project look like? I would like to use MSU’s Overcoming Apartheid site as a model. My project will have the Overcoming Apartheid site’s mix of visual components and essays.  I will also write and design for undergraduate students interested in Africa and the Islam. Like many things in academia these deliverables are subject to change, but I think talking about my digital project gives some insight into my academic interests.



September 12, 2014

CHI Fellowship Introduction: Lisa Bright

September 12, 2014 | By | One Comment

I’m excited to be returning to MSU, and working with digital humanities. I completed my B.S. in Anthropology at MSU in 2007, and went straight into the M.A. program at California, State University Chico. At Chico, I focused on forensic anthropology, and my thesis involved the use of remote recording equipment and geographic information systems to monitor and track scavenger impact to pig carcasses. After graduating I worked as an osteologist on the excavation and on-site analysis of a historic paupers cemetery in Northern California. I then went on to work as a lecturer for the CSU, Chico anthropology department, as well as teach an online anthropology course for a community college.

I’m back at MSU to study mortuary archaeology. Specifically, I will be analyzing the pathological conditions found at the paupers cemetery I worked on, and compare them to a more urban paupers cemetery from a similar time period. My goal while working as a CHI fellow is to create a digital database/archive for the collection, starting with the data collected on-site. I feel that this is especially important because all of the skeletal remains are being cremated for repatriation at the end of the study period, in approximately ten years. By incorporating digital technology from the beginning of the research, I hope to create a more productive environment for scholars to use the information now, and after the remains are cremated.

Brian Geyer


September 11, 2014

CHI Fellowship Introductions: Brian Geyer

September 11, 2014 | By | One Comment

Hi everyone! If you don’t remember me from last year, my name is (still) Brian Geyer and I’m now a 3rd year anthropology graduate student here at Michigan State University. My research – which I apparently neglected to discuss last year – involves the intersection of land tenure issues and conservation policies near the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya and how local communities respond to these issues and policies in ways that affect their systems of inequality.

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September 11, 2014

Ngiyabuya! (I Am Returning!)

September 11, 2014 | By | No Comments

I’m very excited (much more excited than the gentleman to the left!) to be returning to CHI for the 2014-2015 academic year.  I learned so much last year, both in terms of technical ability and conceptually in terms of the importance of digital cultural preservation, and I am really honored to get the chance to further expand that knowledge and get to collaborate with a whole new group of fellows.  Returning to the program also allows me the chance to continue developing my project.

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David Bennett


June 13, 2014

Visualizing Southern Television 2.0: Expanding Television’s Reach

June 13, 2014 | By | No Comments

Television is a geographically complex technology, as its signals ignore state and national boundaries and the physical location of a station’s tower is not as important, historically, as the distance traveled by its signal at any given point in time.  While Visualizing Southern Television (VST) 1.0 offers a visual map of television stations’ tower locations, such a map is a limited representation of whether broadcasts would have been received by viewers.

Over the course of the summer, I will be working on VST 2.0, the goal of which is to visualize the estimated reach of each tower’s broadcasts, over time, in order to show which geographical areas were within the reach of each broadcast signal. In order to achieve this, the first upgrade I will have to make is to substitute the Geo Mashup mapping interface of VST 1.0 (see Figure 1 below) with JavaScript (see Figure 2).

As shown above in Figure 2, the new interface will visually display the approximate distance each signal was being transmitted at any point in time, with each upgrade to a new antenna recorded on a separate sub-post. (Note: the above mock-up displays visual capability without regard to data—in other words, Figure 2 is intended to show visual capability of software, not accurate station data.)

VST 2.0 will also project through time as well.  Right now VST 1.0 shows all of the television stations as they were on air in 1965.  VST 2.0 will be more dynamic, showing the map through various points between 1942 and 1965.  This second upgrade will involve the addition of a time-restricted Slider bar (see Figure 3 below and source), which will link the map display to a timeline, allowing the user to move the slider and watch as stations begin operations and signals increase range. Overall, these changes will ultimately result in a far more robust and informative mapping interface (see Figure 3).

These upgrades to the user interface will result in a much more detailed representation of the reach of television to communities in the American South during this period.



May 14, 2014

CUBORIENTE: Image Mapping Africa-Inspired Religio-Cultural Heritage in Eastern Cuba…Launched!

May 14, 2014 | By | One Comment

The Cuboriente website project is dedicated to a digital image mapping of Africa-inspired religio-cultural heritage in the eastern, Oriente region of Cuba. Motivated by the opportunities of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative (CHI), Cuboriente developed from a desire to contribute to Afro-Caribbean digital humanities work. The project is grounded in the eastern Cuba research of the African Atlantic Research Team (AART) of Michigan State University. The website represents the collaborative efforts of Prof. Jualynne E. Dodson, director of AART, CHI Fellow Shanti Zaid, and Dr. Sonya Maria Johnson, building on the work and resources of the Research Team. We created Cuboriente as a digital public educational resource to showcase some of the African heritage religious and cultural activity from a region of the island that few have a chance to see.

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