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CHI Fellowship Program

Taz Karim


December 7, 2012

Getting Digital at the #AAA2012 Meetings

December 7, 2012 | By | No Comments

It is three weeks later and I am still reveling in the undeniable insanity that was the American Anthropological Association (AAA) meetings in San Francisco, CA. As chair of the Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco Study Group (ADTSG) and organizer of three panels, my conference schedule was packed. But in the midst of all the chaos, I kept my CHI mission in mind: to assess the state of “digital anthropology” within our professional organization. The following highlights just a few of the things I found surprising, encouraging, and definitely worth blogging about.

The benefits of academic tweeting!

If you were following the #AAA2012 hashtag on twitter during the month of November, you probably already know that I took full advantage of this platform to connect with fellow anthropologists and shamelessly promote my special interest group (#ADTSG). Before the AAAs, I probably tweeted once or twice a day, sharing links to articles that were relevant Read More



November 9, 2012

Zambian Soccer Historian

November 9, 2012 | By | 3 Comments

My names are Hikabwa (Decius) Chipande; I come from Zambia, a country in Central-Southern Africa. I am a doctoral student in the Department of History at Michigan State University. My research interests focus on 20th century political and social history of soccer (football) in Zambia. My Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellowship (CHI) Program is, therefore, key in helping me learn how to use web tools that will be useful in collaborating, sharing of resources, information and work with football scholars and supporters.

Workwise, I love teaching. I taught high school History and Physical Education in Zambia for 4 years. Thereafter, I got involved in Sport for Development, a project where sport is used as a tool for sustainable community development and education. I had a great time in this field and worked for Sport for Development projects in South Africa, Zambia and Norway. Although I am not a gifted athlete, I am interested 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



November 8, 2012

@philosophysnack–at home in East Lansing

November 8, 2012 | By | No Comments

My name is Yuanfang Dai and I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy at Michigan State University. One of my specialties is the theoretical research and practical implication of transcultural dialogues.

One of my professional and scholarship goals is to combine the theoretical research and the practical application of transcultural dialogues for the purpose of seeking an effective way to communicate transculturally. In my philosophical research, I propose a transcultural perspective as a better alternative to the multicultural approach for understanding cultural differences because a transcultural perspective implies interference and interaction rather than simply recognizing differences. That is to say, if we merely acknowledge cultural difference and are content with “cultural tolerance,” it will not contribute to genuine understandings of cultural differences because we tend to avoid cultural frictions and conflicts therefore miss meaningful and fruitful cultural dialogues. However, if we are motivated to step Read More

Sylvia Deskaj


November 7, 2012


November 7, 2012 | By | No Comments

Hello, world. My name is Sylvia Deskaj, and, as of October 21st of this year, I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the department of anthropology here at Michigan State University. Yay!!! Now in my fourth year in the department, I am looking forward to working on my CHI project with Dr. Ethan Watrall and the rest of the CHI community (stay tuned for more on this!).

Traveling around Michigan and meeting locals is something that I thoroughly enjoy, and fortunately, get to do often. After three years of living here, the state of Michigan is really growing on me. I especially enjoy hanging out with friends in Flint and camping in the Upper Peninsula (where the locals refer to each other as “Yoopers”).

Since graduating from college (“big up” to Northeastern Illinois University and Dr. Jon Hageman!) in 2008, I have worked in the Balkan nation of Albania, Read More

Taz Karim


November 5, 2012

@PharmaCulture – Where Prescription Drugs meet Digital Anthropology

November 5, 2012 | By | One Comment

Although fall semester is in full swing here at Michigan State University, and the first major frost has already ruined my morning, I am excited to take a break from the stress and the cold to introduce myself to my new digital (versus real or imaginary) friends. Hopefully in the midst of writing my dissertation, a conference paper, and postdoc applications, I still have some coherent thoughts left before I hit my quota for the day.

My name is Taz Karim and I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at MSU. I also currently serve as chair of the Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco Study Group of the Society for Medical Anthropology. Outside of academia you can find me playing soccer (indoor and outdoor) or coaching crew on the Grand River. I also enjoy fashion, playing the guitar, riding my moped, and playing with my miniature pinscher, Lola. So yes, Read More

Rachael Hodder


September 15, 2012

Corridor: Redux

September 15, 2012 | By | No Comments

After many months of holding you in suspense, it’s now time to show my CHI fellowship project and bid you all adieu with this final post as a CHI fellow.

To refresh your memory, the project I proposed last spring was called Corridor. It was a web application that would serve as a reference for academic conference hashtags while also helping to resolve the competing hashtags in play for the same academic conference. Proposed in the wake of some recent conversation about Twitter backchannels at conferences – particularly, what the use of it is, why people should join in, and how it could be made better. With the spotlight on the larger issue of scholarly communication, it seemed the time was right to try building a backchannel tool as a means of exploring the issues and questions at hand. Keeping the philosophy of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative in mind, “building as Read More



September 12, 2012 – A digital dissertation prototype

September 12, 2012 | By | No Comments

What would it be like to build an online digital repository that could be updated with archival and ethnographic sources as you found them? Could be used as a platform to experiment with digital publishing and collaborative, international research? I have built a prototype digital dissertation chapter to help answer these questions as I enter my fieldwork in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I am traveling to Argentina to investigate Boca Júniors’s Ciudad Deportiva, a mix between a stadium complex and amusement park built over seven artificial islands on sixty hectares of land filled in the Rio de la Plata. Besides an enormous 140,000-seat stadium and various athletic facilities, the project was to include mini-golf, mechanical rides for children, an aquarium built as a giant fish, and a drive-in movie theatre for five hundred cars. This project combined public and private funds, embodying a new vision of middle-class consumption that fit into city planner’s Read More

Charlotte Marie Cable


September 6, 2012

The Oman Archive: eyes forward, a look in the rearview mirror

September 6, 2012 | By | No Comments

For a country of people noted for their unhurried grace, the Sultanate of Oman is changing at a head-spinning rate. The Oman Archive (OA) was originally conceived of as a digital attempt to archive Oman’s archaeological heritage in and around the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bat. The OA had several functions:

  • To integrate and curate archaeological data related to the region;
  • To provide access to original data for international researchers and collaborators interested in understanding Bat’s prehistory and history;
  • To serve as a repository for all reports, publications, and media related to the archaeological heritage of the Bat area;
  • To facilitate the documentation of changes to the archaeological record;
  • To provide specialists’ assessments for national government ministry decision-making about land use and development in the Bat area.

Put simply, I am a collaborative anthropological archaeologist interested in pursuing an extensive career in the Sultanate of Oman, and saw this Fellowship as an opportunity to use the Read More



September 1, 2012

The End is Only the Beginning for QUALANTH: A Digital Repository for Qualitative Researchers

September 1, 2012 | By | No Comments

When conceptualizing QUALANTH, I wanted to build a digital repository for researchers, like myself, who work with human research participants. Over the past year, I have tackled issues around privacy, protection of human subjects, IRB and consent form and tried to embody these issues when designing QUALANTH but this work is far from over. An overview about QUALANTH is available here.

Over the past 2011-2012, I was able to complete Phase One of QUALANTH, which basically entailed constructing the backend of the repository. There are a few issues that need to be addressed before QUALANTH can be launched publicly. Phase Two will consist of me actively seeking evaluation and critiques of QUALANTH, as a physical product and conceptually, from outside peers. I plan to continue to write blog posts about QUALANTH as well as seek out opportunities to present about the digital platform at anthropology conferences. After gathering feedback about QUALANTH, Read More