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CHI Grad Fellow Post

farleyj7

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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, https://www.solidarity-us.org/node/824

[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, https://www.solidarity-us.org/node/572

wargojon

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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 http://eepurl.com/bF7Ed9

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

mcgrat85

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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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jfelipe195

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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 (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/esss/). 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.

Autumn Beyer

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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

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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!

mcgrat85

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November 30, 2015

Reading Digitally, Archiving by Smartphone

November 30, 2015 | By | No Comments

A friend of mine once joked that so many Victorianists become digital humanists because Victorian novels weigh so much. If the Victorianist is drawn to DH because of the ease—and chiropractic benefits—of digitization, then the Modernist might stay away for similar reasons. Hamstrung by copyright laws, modernist scholars like myself find it quite challenging to undertake a large-scale digital project with the texts we find so interesting. Of course, this is too simple: a number of online repositories, such as the Modernist Journals Project, the Modernist Versions Project, and Editing Modernism in Canada have done so much to increase digitization efforts and make rare texts available to scholars digitally. Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder at the relative lack of digitally-inflected panels, workshops, and seminars at the Modernist Studies Association’s most recent annual conference in Boston last week (2 workshops, 2 roundtables, 1 panel, 1 seminar, and a “digital exhibition,” featuring 8 projects).

I set aside lobster rolls and Sam Adams and oh-so-good East Coast pizza to attend one of the pre-conference workshops that took up this issue. Led by my new #scholarlygirlcrushes Shawna Ross and Claire Battershill, “Digital Modernist Texts in the Classroom,” addressed questions of access and digitization for research and teaching. Shawna and Claire are a part of a group working on Open Modernisms, designed for digitizing, archiving, and anthologizing modernist texts. In many ways, Open Modernisms is a crowdsourcing anthology project: users can upload their own texts to the database and access others, creating their own anthologies for teaching. (Undoubtedly, Open Modernisms will have other uses, but our workshop focused on teaching).

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wargojon

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November 30, 2015

Failing While Folding; Or, Let’s Hope this Project Works!

November 30, 2015 | By | No Comments

In starting the “building” phase of my project, I am reminded of Pearce Durst’s recent blog essay on “Inventing the Digital Humanities through Freirian Praxis.” In it, Durst uses the metaphor of origami and the particulars of folding and unfolding to nuance the rhetorical practices of building and deconstructing in the humanities classroom. For Durst, this recursive practice is a bright spot in the advancement and ongoing invention of what is being called the digital humanities. I would add, however, that it also serves as an apt metaphor for failure. Despite following the 20+ steps to make the paper crane, I am often left asking, “Why doesn’t mine look like the picture?” Similarly, in our latest quick-build challenge, I asked myself a similar question, “Huh? How did we do that?” Using Durst’s metaphor of foldings this month, I will work to meditate on the particulars of theory, application, and reflection and consider failure as a pedagogical necessity for innovation.

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Sara Bijani

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November 18, 2015

Thinking Precarity in the Digital World

November 18, 2015 | By | No Comments

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending and presenting some of my research at the National Women’s Studies Association’s annual conference. I’m still processing all of the wonderful difficult conversations I was witness and participant to in this space, but Sara Ahmed’s keynote speech at the conference resonates through all of it. Ahmed approached the conference theme of precarity through a long meditation on “Feminism and Fragility,” with persistent metaphors of breaking against walls. According to Ahmed: “So much is, so many are, involved in a breakage.” Despite their social nature, these walls are often invisible to those who aren’t pushed into them, leaving the meanings behind stories about breaking against walls often unintelligible to those who don’t share the experience. Believing in these walls is feminist work, as is honoring the expression and knowledge of those who reveal the walls we don’t see. Ahmed presents clumsiness—meaning an awareness and embrace of the “bumpiness” of equality—as the basis of a queer ethics. “Smoothness,” in this formulation, is a form of violent adjustment to a world with walls that are positioned to break one’s self. These walls harden history, and histories then themselves become walls. Ideas of the past become themselves the agents of breakage in the present.

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Nikki Silva

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November 16, 2015

Recap of the Midwest Archaeological Conference

November 16, 2015 | By | No Comments

At the Midwest Archaeological Conference (MAC) from Nov. 5-7 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I presented a poster titled “A Taste of Archaeology: The Importance of Public Archaeology Programs and Digital Cultural Heritage”, which discussed my experiences as a supervisor for a public archaeology camp offered through the Dickson Mounds Museum (DMM) and a description of my joint CHI project with CHI fellow Autumn Beyer: Mapping Morton Village.

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