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Bernard C. Moore

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December 2, 2015

Digitizing History: The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission Archive

December 2, 2015 | By | One Comment

Digitization and archiving of historical materials is an intensely political process. While technical aspects are still crucial to having a functioning online resource, we must realize that cultural heritage informatics projects are done for specific reasons. I’d like to elaborate on one of my favorite, if still partially flawed digital resources: the SABC Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) website.

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Bernard C. Moore

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October 26, 2015

The Politics of Academic Publishing on/in Africa

October 26, 2015 | By | No Comments

I buy too many books. There, I said it. (admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?). I see it as something of an investment though, and though the books may sit on my shelves for several months before I get around to actually reading them, I do eventually crack open the spine and begin to write all over it with one of my multiple hi-lighters and pens. You don’t want to read a book when I’m done with it.

By and large, the bulk of what I read comes from American and European presses. This is indeed strange because I research African labor history, particularly southern Namibia. Scanning through my shelves this morning, I ratted off a list of presses: Berghahn, Cambridge, Oxford, Chicago, California, Brill, Routledge, Palgrave, Helsinki, NYU, Columbia, UPenn, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin. I then sought out any African-based presses. I have a few from University of Namibia press, UCT Press, Wits, and UKZN Press, as well as a handful from Dar es Salaam.

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Bernard C. Moore

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October 1, 2015

CHI Fellow Introduction: Bernard C. Moore

October 1, 2015 | By | No Comments

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My name is Bernard Moore. I am currently a second-year M.A. student in MSU’s African American & African Studies program. I received a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Fordham University in New York, and prior to coming to MSU I worked as an assessor for the City of New York’s property valuation division.

Since 2011 I’ve been heavily involved in Namibian Studies, very much on the periphery of African Studies (which itself is on the periphery of academia). In 2012, I completed a number of documentary films on Namibian history which were broadcast for the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation for Heroes’ Day 2014, Black History Month 2015, and for the 2015 Inauguration of President Dr. Hage Geingob. The film From Windhoek to Washington (co-produced with Matthew Ecker) has been screened on a number of occasions in the USA and Namibia. The interviews for the film project were archived at the National Archives of Namibia in Windhoek and the Basler Afrika Bibliographien in Switzerland. I also assisted in the conferral of an honorary doctorate for Namibia’s president, Dr. Hage Geingob, from Fordham University, where I screened a short film on his activism at the United Nations.

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naraya36

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August 17, 2015

FieldworkNarratives – Summer Updates

August 17, 2015 | By | No Comments

During the Fall (2014) and Spring (2015) semesters as a CHI Fellow, I worked on developing my on-going project FieldworkNarratives –  a pictorial journal of my fieldwork experiences with the Chenchu community of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India. Using Story Maps, an online tool that facilitates storytelling, I designed a simple narrative of several aspects of my fieldwork experiences keeping in mind young groups of people (13-20 years of age) as my target audience.

During the summer I reworked some bits of the project look to make it a little more academic. I have included a brief write-up on issues with essentializing indigenous communities, with a focus on the Indian context. I also added a more academic-looking “About Me” section. With making little changes through the project, I have tried to give this project a journal-publication look, albeit with more images than text.

This is the link to check out the final project: http://fieldworknarratives.matrix.msu.edu/

 

neejerch

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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.

Joseph Bradshaw

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July 9, 2015

New units coming to SWAG

July 9, 2015 | By | No Comments

This summer I plan to create new content for my educational site The Saharan World at a Glance. I am currently conducting preliminary dissertation research in Bamako. When I am not I’m the archive I plan to travel as much as possible to observe and photograph trade, Islam and leisure in Mali. Originally I had hoped to focus on Islam in the region, but I will be unable to travel to important Islamic centers in the North at this time. However, I (rather accidentally) rented an apartment in the Hippodrome quarter of Bamako, a district with several leisure attractions. It is named for the hippodrome where folks race horses. Soccer matches are held in the patchy grass at the edges of the race track. Betting on horses seems to be quite popular. I noticed one of my many new friends Abu Bokar obsessing over a program that contained the ponies’ stats and schedules. I was able to attend the last race of the season and will collect data to write a brief lesson.

 

My experience at the race has inspired me to write up a small unit on leisure in Mali based on my experiences. In order to show people something a bit out of the ordinary, like horse racing, that people don’t often associate with West Africa, but include some distinctly West African pastimes. Tomorrow I have made plans to watch a wrestling match. The Senegalese style of traditional wrestling has become popular in Mali. I also plan to attend local theater, and the end of Ramadan will no doubt present numerous opportunities to observe how Malians spend their leisure time. I have been writing informal travel pieces on my personal blog Abu Battuta’s travels in Africa, and I hope some of the material can also be worked into lessons about Mali’s beautiful culture.

So as one door shuts a new opportunity presents itself. Research trips are unpredictable so one might as well adjust. I still plan to travel to Jenne and work up a history of the city for my site, but travel north will be determined by other factors. الله هو يعرف

Look for the new units next fall and more to follow as I continue to develop SWAG.

becca hayes

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June 1, 2015

Visualizing Street Harassment Continues

June 1, 2015 | By | No Comments

Visualizing Street Harassment is an online map-based visualization of a born-digital cultural event, the “10 Hours of Walking…” video meme. I launched the first version in early May. In that first phase of the project, I focused on establishing the general framework of the site, collecting a small, diverse sample of “10 Hours of Walking…” videos, and gaining the technical skills necessary to accomplish those tasks. Though I accomplished much of what I’d hoped for in the initial phase, I discovered some limitations as I worked. First, the one-page webpage theme I selected limits the contextual information I could include without overwhelming the introductory framework, and, thus, the audience. Additionally, in working through the technical aspects of the project and the basic framework, I did not include as much analysis as the project has potential for.

Based on those limitations, after the project launched, I aimed to continue the project by 1) increasing both the quantity of pins and 2) the depth of analysis and context of each pin/video. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been collecting and analyzing additional videos. So far, I’ve identified 27 more “10 Hours of Walking…” videos to include across the map, in addition to the 12 currently you currently see there.

One interesting new challenge I’ve encountered is parody videos that feature fictional characters in fictional locations. For example, “10 Hours of Walking in Archeage as a Woman” portrays a female video game character walking in ArcheAge, a MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game). Because Visualizing Street Harassment employs a global map-based visualization, there’s no obvious place to pin these kinds of videos; however, I do think they’re important to include, so I’ll be working on a solution to this issue as the project moves forward.

By the beginning of July, I plan to have the rest of those videos and their descriptions added to the map. Then for remainder of the summer, I’ll be building and writing the content for individual analysis pages for each video. Watch for the full launch in late August!

naraya36

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May 22, 2015

Summer Project

May 22, 2015 | By | No Comments

For the past year I have been working as a CHI Fellow learning about different online tools to build various kinds of digital cultural interfaces. Through my work over the past nine months I developed my project Fieldwork Narratives, a pictorial journal of my fieldwork experiences with the Chenchu community of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, India. Using Story Maps, an online tool that facilitates storytelling, I have designed a simple narrative of several aspects of my fieldwork experiences keeping in mind young groups of people (13-20 years of age) as my target audience.

While this is an on-going project that I will continue building on as my work with the Chenchu progresses, I want to redo the look and structure of the current project to make it more scholarly. While my attempt to reach out to younger groups of people stays, I also want to give it a more academic touch to serve a number of purposes. One, being an academic, I think I will not be doing justice without incorporating this dimension into the project. Two, even though this is not the same as a publication, this is a sort of academic dissemination that warrants a more formal structuring that allows me to share my project with a more scholarly audience. Three, linked to the first two goals, this then adds more weight on my resume in terms of a scholarly endeavor.

My objective this summer is to make the current project look more like a journal publication, albeit with more pictures and less text.

becca hayes

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March 20, 2015

Mapping Street Harassment Activism

March 20, 2015 | By | No Comments

The Washington Post called 2014 the year that street harassment became a public conversation. As someone who studies activist rhetorics about street harassment and the impact of digital technologies on rhetorical historiography, I was keeping a close eye on the events that contributed to the rise in discourse around street harassment in public spaces, particularly digital ones, like Twitter and Youtube.

One of those events, was a video called, “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman,” produced by Rob Bliss Creative, and released on YouTube on October 28, 2014 by Hollaback, an anti-street harassment organization, self-described as “a movement to end street harassment powered by a network of local activists around the world.” The video is an edited 2-minute clip of a “conventionally beautiful woman” who walked through NYC for 10 hours and experienced over a 100 incidents of street harassment.

In its first day online, the video had over 10 million views  and, in its first month, over 37 million views and nearly 140,000 comments on YouTube. There are also hundreds of videos, video responses, blogs, and born-digital media articles that mimic, support, mock, and lambast the video, makers, funders, research methods, subjects, politics, agenda.  In short, the video played a key part in the exploding public conversations about street harassment in public and digital spaces.

Watching that public conversation unfold, I became interested in how people took up the video’s format of filming someone walking in public spaces for extended amounts of time to problematize mainstream, non-profit , white, feminist anti-street harassment activism.

For the initial phase of my CHI project this spring,  I use Mapbox Studio as a tool to begin curating, mapping, and rhetorically analyzing a small sample of the videos that employ the “10 Hours of Walking…” format.  Some of those videos include “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman in Hijab,” “10 Hours of Walking in Paris as a Jew,” “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a White Man,” and “10 Hours of Walking in Seattle as an Asian.” I’m particularly interested in ways in which the video creators’ adapt the  “10 Hours of Walking…” meme as a productive way to draw attention to the the complexity of interactions between movement in public spaces and seemingly visible identity markers such as race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexuality. nationality, and ability.

neejerch

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March 16, 2015

Thinking Research & Preservation at the Library of Congress

March 16, 2015 | By | No Comments

photoThis spring break I was lucky enough to visit the Library of Congress in Washington, DC to conduct research on my dissertation, and to specifically look at materials for my CHI project.
At the LOC, I worked my way through thousands of pages of documents from the bicycling industry and nineteenth-century bicycle culture. The LOC has a collection of rare cycling magazines and periodicals from the 1890s which have yet to be digitized. Most of the sources for my project have already been digitized, such as major newspapers, government reports, popular magazines, and women’s rights documents. My major tasks involve reading them, organizing them, and building bridges to connect brief mentions of my topic into a larger narrative. My work at the LOC was quite different. With nothing but stacks of periodicals which filled up many shelves, I spent my week flipping through each volume page by page, looking for any discussion of women cyclists. I read article after article from what then were popular magazines such as The Wheelman’s Gazette, American Cyclist, and Cycling Life. These periodicals were designed and published primarily for male bicyclists, but members of the bicycling industry also read them regularly. While men’s cycling dominated these magazines, reporters did discuss women’s cycling at times, and some magazines even published regular columns specifically by and for women riders. In these columns, women shared bicycling tips, discussed new gear, and extolled the pleasures of riding to those new to the sport. The columnists often highlighted women’s role in the bicycling industry, especially as inventors and work in retail.
Digging through all of these periodicals page by page made me even more appreciative and passionate about digital preservation. Many of these periodicals are damaged and showing great signs of wear. Some are falling apart at the binding, and others are so fragile that LOC staff was unable to let me view them. One periodical was even lost in the stacks, and despite the help of a few librarians, was unable to be found. These materials are increasingly at risk for decay and damage as time passes, and they seem like a perfect candidate for digital preservation so they can be available to future scholars and scholars who cannot access the LOC.