Beginning in January 2018, AADHum partnered with the University of Maryland’s First-Year Innovation & Research (FIRE) program, which seeks to provide first-year, undergraduate students an authentic research experience, broad mentorship, and institutional connections that impact academic success, personal resilience, and professional development.
AADHum will enrich the FIRE program with a research stream entitled AADHum: Digital Archives. Led by Postdoctoral Associate Jessica Lu, this course will allow UMD undergraduates an opportunity to explore and develop research at the intersections of African American history, culture, and digital humanities.
Interested undergraduates can learn more about joining FIRE here.
Faculty Leader: Dr. Catherine Knight Steele
Research Educator: Dr. Jessica H. Lu
“… liberatory archives are not things so much as they are processes. Understanding them, then, is not a ‘what’ question as much as a ‘how’ question.” —Jarrett M. Drake
We live, work, and play online. With every click, “like,” tweet, Instagram, snap, and post, we’re creating and leaving behind a digital imprint that reaches far beyond our own personal networks. This stream builds on the core work of the African American Digital Humanities Initiative (AADHum) by exposing students to practices for creating and for conducting research in archives, providing them the skills to build their own digital archive, and cultivating the critical sensibilities to explore how online practices can have lasting consequences for social change.
For black and African Americans, whose voices have historically been silenced in traditional institutional archives, digital spaces can provide an opportunity for creative expression and argument that challenges dominant narratives. Situating itself at the intersections of African American history, rhetoric, and digital humanities, this research project considers how black and African Americans create and engage in digital spaces that resist oppression, centralize blackness, and argue for freedom. Students will first become critical analysts of public discourse and its preservation in traditional archives. Then, students will be challenged to contribute to the larger project by creating their own digital archives and collecting, organizing, and analyzing textual data from historical and contemporary sources. Students will gain experience in methods such as transcribing, text encoding, bibliographic metadata, mapping, network analysis, database management, and web design, as they build and publish the interactive archive. Ultimately, students will foster a critical understanding of archives as sites of power and the ways in which black protest can spark, take shape, and persevere online.