The Digitizing and Localizing Radical History project is motivated by an interest in researching, investigating, and understanding the dynamics of space as it is shared by individuals and groups who are connected and disconnected in a variety of ways. Further, the project is interested in the
ways a digital intervention might organize and display various understandings of space as they compete with each other. It is within this context that the project focuses on activism within the Lansing and East Lansing communities. Whether it is organized labor fighting to resist “right-to-work” legislation or Students for a Democratic Society protesting the Vietnam War, the capital area has had a rich history of left-of-center activist movements. How do we understand the rich history of activist movements in the capital area as they might relate to each other across time within the same spaces? How is it that activism as it is practiced in the present is connected to or divergent from the practices of other groups and individuals in the past? How has the meaning of certain cultural spaces (e.g. capital steps, the Hannah Administration Building, or the “Eastside” of Lansing) changed either across time or in the present as they are shared by a variety of people? All are questions as the center of the project.
The core of the Digitizing & Localizing Radical history is a digital library composed of materials drawn fromt the work of the NorthStar Center, a radical community space and events venue committed to social justice and building a culture of resistance located in Lansing which closed in 2011. The digital library is composed of various organizing tools (e.g. pamphlets, newsletters, flyers, zines, etc.) used by the NorthStar Center prior to its closing. The project is a collaboration with the staff of the NorthStar Center, expressing their desire to make these organizing tools available to a larger audience and create a living legacy of what the organization was in relation to the community.