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Bernard C. Moore

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January 29, 2016

The Process of Digitization

January 29, 2016 | By | No Comments

My past couple of posts have been more on the political and ethical side of digitizing materials for the Namibia Digital Repository. This post will approach the project from the other side: the process of digitization. For those who are conducting historical research, digitizing materials is a necessity if we are going to ever finish these dissertations in an organized and structured manner. So even for those who aren’t pursuing a digitization project for their CHI Fellowship, this blog post may help you in other ways.

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Tos_Ram

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December 26, 2015

Expanding The Xicano Cookbook

December 26, 2015 | By | No Comments

For my CHI project this year, I will be continuing work on my project The Xicano Cookbook, a digital essay documenting Xicano culture in the Great Lakes region. With a special emphasis on food practice, visual art, and oral history, it articulates the ways in which Xicanos have survived and thrived on Anishinaabe land in the midst of ongoing colonialism. The project is guided by decolonial theory and the ingenuity of everyday Indigenous resistance. Thus, it mixes academic theory with the recorded words and artwork of Great Lakes Xicanos to deliver stories about the cultural survival of a de-tribalized, Indigenous people.

Xicano Cookbook Image

I will draw from a bootstrap theme in order to re-conceptualize the framework of my cookbook project. One of problems with my StoryMaps project is that it’s just a bit clunky, so one of my goals is to simplify the design in order to making navigating the site easier for users. The landing page for my website will center the image of the calavera and title of the project, followed by a short description about how the website relates to Chicana/o Studies.

Tabs at the top of the page will be how users are able to navigate through the different “nodes” I have written. I will continue to use SoundCloud to integrate audio clips into the various nodes. A header with the calavera image and title project will be kept at the top of the page as users scroll down on the information, as will the tabs. An “about” section will include brief information about the CHI initiative, Anishinabek culture, and my approach to this project. A works cited tab will also be visible in order to provide a list of scholarship that I draw from, in addition to including links to other related food projects that exist online—for example, to Decolonize Your Diet.

In many ways, this project is being created for a scholarly audience and will contribute to the fields of Chicana/o Studies, Cultural Rhetoric, and Food Studies. At the same time, in making the Xicano Cookbook multi-modal, I think it will also appeal to non-scholarly audiences interested in visual arts and storytelling.The Xicano Cookbook currently displays two oral histories given by Xicano artists from Michigan. These histories give listeners a sense of the issues that Xicanos face culturally and socially and how they use food practices and art to address those issues. Interviews with several more Great Lakes Xicanos are currently archived in an offline repository and will be added to the site over time.

There are currently 6 different works of art displayed and discussed on the website. The project’s primary function is to speak in depth about the works, providing historical and cultural context and theorizing their political functions, as opposed to acting as a full-fledged digital archive or repository for these images. This is why I have chosen to describe the project a more of a digital or multi-modal essay, rather than using one of the aforementioned terms.

Sara Bijani

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December 9, 2015

Archiving Oral Culture

December 9, 2015 | By | No Comments

I’ve been taking my comprehensive exams over the course of this semester, which provides a strange and exhausting opportunity to really step back and think about the state of my field of research, as well as the ways that field has historically been presented to students and scholars from outside of the field. The overlap between reading for these exams and planning a project for the CHI fellowship has provided me with some interesting perspectives on the problems of teaching recent American history, as well as some useful perspective on the potential value of new archival resources in the classroom, particularly around audio and visual content. The traditional print sources that historians favor make up an increasingly small part of the cultural archive available to those of us who study the very recent past, and I’m excited to have this opportunity to try my hand at building a more accessible means of accessing these multilayered sources. Oral histories, in particular, interest me. “True” oral histories—collaboratively constructed narrations of a person’s life history—provide a deeply dimensional and rich resource for historians, provided that they are treated as something more than a flat and flawed transcription of an audio file. Unfortunately, the practical exigencies of real time work with audio files leads most historians to lean heavily on these transcripts. Text files are searchable, making them efficient to catalogue and reference in research. Audio files are unwieldy and extremely difficult to effectively “skim,” making them unpopular with any scholar on a deadline. The “Oral History Metadata Synchronizer” software—primarily developed by Doug Boyd and the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries—offers a potential solution to the practical problems of academic research with oral histories.

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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 | No Comments

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!