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CHI Fellowship Program



September 20, 2013

CHI Fellowship Intro: Adam Haviland

September 20, 2013 | By | 2 Comments

Hello everyone. My name is Adam Haviland. I am a PhD student in the Anthropology program here at Michigan State. I am the lonely linguistic Anthropology student you see hiding out at Espresso Royal. I also am a Graduate Assistant for the Native American Institute. Before coming into Anthropology I received an M.A in American Studies from MSU. The focus of my graduate work has been on the revitalization of Native American Languages, specifically Anishinaabemowin, which includes Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomie in the Great Lakes. I started learning Anishinaabemowin in high school and have continued to study it as both an undergrad and graduate student. I am currently working with the Native American Institute to create an online course in the language.

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September 13, 2013

CHI Fellows Intro: Andrew LoPinto

September 13, 2013 | By | No Comments

Hello there, internet!  I am Andrew.  I am a PhD student here at Michigan State University in the Department of Anthropology as well as a research assistant for the Campus Archaeology Program.  My background is in archaeology, and specifically, bioarchaeology and mortuary analysis.  Yes, I work with the dead.  Macabre?  Perhaps.  Interesting?  DEFINITELY!  Bioarchaeology can clue us in to so much about the actual lives of the people of ancient civilizations and gives modern researchers an amazing opportunity to interact with long extinct populations.  Specifically, my research focuses on Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt.  Yes, I study the dead…in Egypt.  You may now proceed to writhe in envy.  Just kidding.

Prior to coming to MSU, I received an MSc in Skeletal and Dental Bioarchaeology from the Institute of Archaeology at University College London and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Arizona.  I have worked in Egypt at various sites of various time periods for a number of years.  I have had the opportunity to work at both Nile valley and delta sites, and one of the most prominent issues when working in Egypt is preservation and long-term care of artifacts (both archaeological and osteological).  This dovetails into my interests in Cultural Heritage Informatics.

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September 11, 2013

CHI Fellow Introduction: Liz Timbs

September 11, 2013 | By | No Comments

My name is Liz Timbs. I am a doctoral candidate in African History here at Michigan State University. I also hold a Master’s in Comparative World History from George Mason University. In my graduate education, I have had the opportunity to work at two institutions which have demonstrated dedication to the application of digital methods to the study of history, both at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and MATRIX at Michigan State University.  These experiences have shown me the potential of utilizing digital methods within the historical profession, in terms of both research and pedagogy.

My research focuses on the history of health and healing in South Africa, particularly the nation’s experience with the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  My hope is to, during the course of my dissertation research, begin accumulating enough material to produce a digital archive of the experiences of Zulu-speaking South Africans with this devastating illness. In a similar vein, I hope to produce a documentary on the history of the epidemic, stretching back into the 1980s when the illness first appeared among homosexual men to the era of AIDS denialism and into the present day. Though these projects will probably not come to fruition until further down the line, I am hoping that part of my work as a CHI Fellow can lay the groundwork for these future endeavors.

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Ethan Watrall


August 27, 2013

Welcome to the New 2013-2014 Cultural Heritage Informatics Grad Fellows

August 27, 2013 | By | No Comments

The Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative is pleased to welcome seven new CHI Grad Fellows for the 2013-2014 academic year.  The new fellows come from the Departments of Anthropology, the Department of History, and the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures – and represent a wide variety of subdisciplines and areas of research.

In the following weeks, each fellow will introduce themselves in more depth, talking about what drew them to the program as well as some of the preliminary interests for their activities during the duration of the academic year.

In advance of these more detailed introductions, its my pleasure to briefly introduce this year’s cohort of fellows:

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Sylvia Deskaj


January 23, 2013

Excavating the Digital Sub-Strata of an Archaeology Conference

January 23, 2013 | By | No Comments

The Joint Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and the American Philological Association (APA) was held January 3rd – 6th, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. I went to this annual meeting for a variety of reasons: 1) present my preliminary research findings on the Neolithic mortuary practices of southern Greece; 2) network with friends and colleagues, particular those that I have worked with in both Albania and Greece; and 3) infiltrate the annual meeting by locating the sub-stratum of digitally-inclined people and events.

My experiences at this year’s AIA annual meeting were different from those of previous ones. In the past, I would usually attend presentations that were somehow related to topics that interested me as a burgeoning graduate student and, in part, I found myself caught in a whirlwind of names, faces, and seemingly missed connections. This year, however, I decided to approach the AIA annual Read More

Taz Karim


January 21, 2013

“Visualizing Adderall” CHI Project Proposal

January 21, 2013 | By | No Comments

Introduction: From vitamins to painkillers to psychotropic drugs, consuming pills has become a normalized and even expected part of life for many Americans. In 2010, US pharmaceutical sales topped $300 billion dollars and continue to be one of the most profitable industries in the nation[i]. This unprecedented incorporation of prescription drugs into daily life has been referred to by Anthropologists as “pharmaceuticalization” – a complex process that is reshaping the way we think about our health, our bodies, our relationships, and our own identities[ii]. For my CHI fellowship project, I intend to illustrate this process and the dynamic ways pharmaceuticals are understood and integrated into everyday American Culture.

For the purposes of this project, I have chosen to focus on a particular set of drugs which is the topic of my dissertation work: prescription stimulants used to treat the symptoms of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This includes brands like Read More

Sylvia Deskaj


January 14, 2013

The Tumulus Mapping Archive: Tumulus

January 14, 2013 | By | 2 Comments


The project that is emerging as a result of my CHI Fellowship is one related to my dissertation research in northern Albania. The tumuli (burial mounds) of northern Albania appeared suddenly on the Shkodër plain around the start of the Bronze Age (ca. 3000 BC). As a result of the ongoing Projekti Arkeologjikë i Shkodrës (PASH), which is co-directed by Drs. Michael Galaty (Millsaps College) and Lorenc Bejko (University of Tirana), we have been able to locate, identify, and map most tumuli throughout the region. However, time is of the essence, particularly since tumuli are mined for soil and are being damaged and destroyed at a very high rate. My project, Tumulus, in its immediate form, will serve as a digital repository through which information collected for each tumulus will be made available to a wider audience.


Like the plethora of “culture types” commonly used to describe the Read More



December 11, 2012

Digital History in the MSU History Department

December 11, 2012 | By | 4 Comments

This semester (Fall 2012), I had a very exciting opportunity to take a History 830 graduate level seminar in the MSU History Department, “Race, Biography, and Nation Building in South African History” with Prof. Peter Alegi. We went through recent and cutting-edge readings on South African history, focusing on the 19th and 20th centuries. These readings fostered stimulating discussions and debates every Tuesday evening.

Final Assignment
Our final assignment for the course deviated from the usual end of semester historiographical papers; instead, it was a digital assignment involving analyzing digital resources on the history of South Africa. Each student was asked to select one website from the list below and examine its content, purpose, ownership, and potential as a teaching, learning, research-scholarship and/or popular knowledge resource. We were also asked to explore issues of preservation, accessibility and provide comments on what could be done to enhance the site. The digital assignment ended with Read More

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