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CHI Grad Fellow Post

Nikki Silva


September 20, 2015

CHI Fellow Introduction: Nikki Silva

September 20, 2015 | By | No Comments

nikkifieldphotoHi there! My name is Nikki Silva and I’m a 4th year PhD student in the Department of Anthropology where I focus in archaeology. I received my B.S. in Anthropology from Baylor University in 2012 and my M.A. in Anthropology from MSU in 2014. My research focuses on how cultural interaction affects community organization and the use of space. For my dissertation I will examine the Morton Village site in the Central Illinois River Valley as a case study of cultural interaction.
The Morton Village Archaeological Project is an ongoing collaborative research project between MSU and the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown, IL (near the site). For the past three summers I helped supervise a ‘Taste of Archaeology’ camp, which allowed the public to experience 4 days of the excavations at Morton Village. This experience has shown me the importance of public archaeology and I will use my CHI project to make some of the Morton Village research accessible to the public. I look forward to an exciting year as a CHI fellow!
Autumn Beyer


September 16, 2015

CHI Fellow Introduction: Autumn Beyer

September 16, 2015 | By | No Comments

Autumn BeyerHello! My name is Autumn Beyer and I am very excited to be back at Michigan State. I received my B.S. from MSU in Anthropology with a Specialization in Museum Studies in 2013. Then I moved south and attended Illinois State University in Normal, IL for my M.S. in Archaeology. At ISU I focused on zooarchaeology, a subfield of archaeology studying animal remains. My thesis was on the Kuhne site, a Middle Woodland habitation in Central Illinois located along the Illinois River. I defended my thesis this past March, and then spent my summer working as the graduate teaching assistant on a Research Experience for Undergraduates program hosted by the Center for American Archeology in Kampsville, IL.

Now that I am back at MSU for my Ph.D. I will be continuing to study zooarchaeology. My plan is to work on the faunal remains recovered from the Morton Village site excavations run through MSU and the Dickson Mounds Museum.

As a CHI fellow, I am looking forward to integrating digital platforms into my research. I would like to use this opportunity to increase the visibility of current archaeological and zooarchaeological research, as well make it more attainable for the public.


Lisa Bright


September 15, 2015

Re-Introducing Lisa Bright

September 15, 2015 | By | No Comments

Hello again. I’m happy to say that I’m a returning CHI fellow. I’m looking forward to getting to know this new CHI cohort, and learn some new digital tools and tricks. In case you’re just tuning in to the CHI blog, I’ll rewind for a moment and introduce myself.Lisa Bright

I’m Lisa Bright, a second year Ph.D. student in the anthropology department. I’m also currently serving as the Campus Archaeologist for the MSU Campus Archaeology Program. My main scholarly focus is mortuary archaeology. Mortuary archaeology is the study of material remains related to funerary behavior, and the deceased themselves. As a discipline, it covers a wide range of space and time, but I focus on a historic cemetery in San Jose, California. My dissertation examines the pathology and nutrition of the individuals that were interred there. The cemetery was in use from 1875-1935 so I’m hoping that my research will allow a better understanding of health during western expansion and industrialization. My previous CHI project, Mortuary Mapping, focused on creating interactive maps of the cemetery that allowed users to examine variables like age, sex, and button patterns. This summer I added new material that I gathered in trips to San Jose area archives.

My project this year will be a bit different. I was able to participate in the Institute on Digital Archaeology & Practice (DAI) last month. Part of this NEH funded institute requires the completion of a digital project. For CHI, I will be working on creating the database functionality of the DAI project myself and Katy Meyers Emery have proposed: ossuaryKB: The Mortuary Method & Practice Knowledgebase. This knowledgebase will serve as a central location for where mortuary archaeologists can see and share best practices, case examples, forms, innovative methods and more.  I look forward to sharing my progress with you all.




August 11, 2015

Wheelwomen at Work 2.0 is live!

August 11, 2015 | By | No Comments

It has been a busy summer plugging away on Wheelwomen at Work, my digital humanities project mapping women’s involvement in the nineteenth-century bicycle industry. This summer I completed twogandflamps major tasks. First, I nearly doubled the amount of pins on the map. Much of my new material highlights women’s work in factories, and I also added some new women inventors as well. Tracking down more women mechanics and saleswomen has not been easy. Records on women’s wage work from this period come with tons of challenges and limitations. But, I did find some, such as the 60 women who worked at Amos Shirley’s large bike shop in New York City.  I was also hoping to find more geographically diverse data. But I am happy that I added new types of factory work, like small clothing operations such as  he Vinestine and Goldberg Sweatshop and the Fayetteville Glove Company, and leading bicycling corporations of the time, like Hartford Rubber Works and Gormully & Jeffery Manufacturing Company. For my second task, I added to the site with an essay titled “Women in the Nineteenth-Century Bicycle Industry” found under the brand new “learn more” tab. With this essay, I provide a big picture view on women’s work in the bicycle industry and discuss how each category of wheelwomen’s work was key to the industry as a whole. I’m hoping this helps the user add context to the individual pins and see the big picture of the project.

While I have completed the big tasks for my project, Wheelwomen at Work will be far from static. I plan to keep adding pins to the map and images to the gallery as I work on my dissertation. I hope it leads me to find even more ways to unearth and document women’s contribution to the bicycle industry and bicycling culture more broadly.

Image source: Advertisement. “Bicycle Lamps.” The Wheel and Cycling Trade Review, Vol. X, no. 21, January 13, 1893, 57. Google Books.



May 10, 2015

Shakespeare’s Shadows is Live!

May 10, 2015 | By | No Comments

I am delighted to announce the launch of my CHI project, Shakespeare’s Shadows! Over the past academic year, I have been reading, researching, testing different technologies, and learning how to code in order to make this happen.

My research interest lies in understanding the way in which English Renaissance dramatists engaged with the visual arts, specifically through the lens of professionalization. I argue that Renaissance dramatists reference and make use of English artistic theory in order to reflect upon their own multi-media, visual/verbal form. With this interest in mind, I scaled my project to focus on the dramas in Shakespeare’s First Folio. For more information about the background, rationale, and objective of this study, please visit the ‘About the project’ page on my site.

Using Voyant, I explored Shakespeare’s texts through the use of their web-based data visualization tools. Each graph on my website analyzes a different part of Shakespeare’s corpus or related texts, and uncovers unique connections and trends that were not apparent previously. Most graphs are interactive. I encourage users to manipulate these graphs to suit their own curiosities.

I plan to keep adding to the webpage and I also look forward using Shakespeare’s Shadows in my classroom. Next academic year, I am fortunate enough to be teaching two Shakespeare courses and I plan to work with students to facilitate a research-based learning environment. Shakespeare’s Shadows is just one example of the many ways digital work can lead to new understandings of old texts and I cannot wait to share this with my students!

You can find much more information about the project on the actual webpage, which I hope you will take a moment to visit. Because there is more work to be done, I would really appreciate your feedback. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you might have.

Lastly, I would like to thank MATRIX, the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative, and especially Ethan Watrall for generously supporting me as I worked on this project.

becca hayes


May 8, 2015

The Launch of Visualizing Street Harassment

May 8, 2015 | By | No Comments

shmapWhen I started the CHI Fellowship last fall, I had several ideas about projects I might undertake over the course of the year. Serendipitously, on October 28th, 2014, about two months into my fellowship, a video,“10 Hours of Walking as a Woman in NYC,” went viral. The documentary-style video aims to capture the street harassment experiences of a woman walking through NYC. As someone who has not only experienced street harassment in my daily life, but has also studied the feminist and queer rhetorics surrounding anti-street harassment activism, especially storytelling as an organizing strategy, I watched with interest as digital and public discussions about street harassment increased. That interest has resulted in my project,Visualizing Street Harassment, which maps responses to the “10 Hours of Walking as a Woman in NYC.

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Lisa Bright


May 8, 2015

Mortuary Mapping Launched!

May 8, 2015 | By | No Comments

Mortuary Mapping has officially launched! To say that this project is near and dear to my heart would be an understatement. I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) Historic Cemetery project since early in the excavation phase. I worked as an osteologist, excavating and analyzing remains for a total of five months in 2012 and 2013. This site will also be the focus of my dissertation, where I will examine the health and nutrition of the individuals buried there.

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Joseph Bradshaw


May 8, 2015

The Saharan World at a Glance is Launched!

May 8, 2015 | By | One Comment

I am happy to announce that my site the Saharan World at a Glance (SWAG) is now live. This site is an education resource designed to introduce an undergraduate audience to the history, culture and politics of North Africa and the Sahel. This site is specifically conceived of as a tool that students will access on their phones or tablets. The site is built like an online text book made up of short units. These units are meant to be used as introductory or supplementary reading for broader lessons. The first unit published on the site introduces orientalism in the North African context, focusing primarily on Algeria.

SWAG was inspired by my experiences as a teaching assistant at Michigan State. My first teaching experience was working alongside Dr. Peter Alegi, who builds a week of his coverage of Apartheid in South Africa around the site Overcoming Apartheid. I noticed that many students engaged with the site over their phones, often within the first few minutes before class. I remembered my own desperate circling of key arguments on freshly printed articles before classes. I figured that even though procrastination is not new, the way students digest information is. My project tries to recognize shifts in information consumption without sacrificing the quality of its content.

The CHI fellowship generously funded and supported the development of my site. As I set to work I was also teaching my first class composed almost entirely of freshmen, and I owe them some thanks. Teaching this class with Dr. Bailey helped me fine tune my approach to the site. End to end this site is meant for incoming underclassmen: even the goofy, yet easy to remember, title! I used the bootstrap, a mobile first framework, and chose a layout that looks best on tablets, large smart phones and small laptop screens. The units are composed of micro-essays. The writing is conversational and short paragraphs are broken up by captivating images.


The first unit relies heavily on nineteenth century art demonstrate orientalist trends in western thought. The essays are broken up into four sections I introduce Said’s critique and give a brief history of east-west divides. I then move on to a unit on masculinity followed by a unit on sexuality. I close with an attempt to weave the diverse threads together in a section on white slave narratives. Nestled within the broader lesson are introductory facts about the French conquest of Algeria, the civilizing mission, and slavery in Africa.

I see this site as an ongoing project. I plan to add a page that directs students to further readings and perhaps a more detailed gallery for this unit. I will also continue to add units as I develop courses and conduct my own research on Islam in Africa. The next unit will give an overview of Sufi Islam in Africa.



May 8, 2015


May 8, 2015 | By | No Comments

The Chenchu are one among several tribal communities who live in India. They are traditionally defined as a hunter-gatherer community, living primarily in the Nallamalai forests of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, India. However, such a definition provides a very limited understanding of who the Chenchu really are. There are various ways in which communities and groups of people are understood. Tribal and indigenous communities suffer from a very limited and narrow way of being represented and understood. While there are obvious historical and political factors that have contributed to such an understanding, it is my objective as an anthropologist, and someone who has an on-going relationship with the Chenchu to do my bit in dispelling these essentialized representations of the community. FieldworkNarratives is a project that is based primarily on this philosophy.

FieldworkNarratives is a pictorial journal of my fieldwork experiences with minimal text to provide basic information about the pictures. I have used StoryMaps, which is an online tool that facilitates storytelling to design my project. The project design is intentionally kept simple and straight-forward keeping in mind that my target audience is young groups of people between the age-groups 13-20 years. Moreover, I did not want to put too much emphasis on my own narrative, allowing instead for people to form their own ideas.

FieldworkNarratives in an on-going project that I will continue working on as my work with the Chenchu progresses. While this is a small step toward a larger goal which can only be fulfilled in collaboration with more people, I am excited about the launch of this project. The goal is to continue building on this through incorporating people’s suggestions as well broadening the scope of the project itself. For now, I am taking a moment to celebrate (i) my increased knowledge on cultural informatics and online applications, (ii) the first project of a digital format that I have ever created, and (iii) small victories toward long-term goals in my commitment of working with the Chenchu.





May 4, 2015

Wheelwomen at Work is live!

May 4, 2015 | By | No Comments

I am excited to announce that Wheelwomen at Work is live!

Over the past academic year, I’ve been researching, writing and developing my CHI digital humanities project Wheelwomen at Work: Mapping Women’s Involvment in the Nineteenth-Century Bicycle Industry. For my launch post, I am going to recap why I developed the project, what tools I used, and future directions for the project.

My dissertation explores how nineteenth-century women used bicycling as an activist strategy. While conducting research, I uncovered how women’s involvement in the nineteenth-century bicycle industry was multifaceted and key to the industry as a whole, even though men held leadership positions in bicycle companies. I have found evidence of women who designed and produced bicycle accessories and clothing, while others developed frames and components. Women also worked in bicycle shops in sales and even as mechanics, and it was common for bicycle corporations to hire women as sales ‘agents’ to promote their brand. Other women quietly worked their way up to management positions in local factories. Young, working- class women were the invisible laborers behind most components and accessories, working long hours in dangerous machine shops and factory floors. I found a wealth of sources on women in the bicycle industry, yet they were largely scattered across archives. I believed these sources could be much more useful to scholars and lay enthusiasts in an accessible and organized format. I hoped that digitally curating these sources could allow for a deeper and richer understanding of women’s contributions to the bicycle industry, instead of reading individual women’s work as an outlining example isolated from one another.

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