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Intensives provide a space for a single researcher or small research team to engage directly with members of the AADHum community and MITH team in an open, flexible format meant to foster learning, discussion, and progress. AADHum Intensives further distill the most powerful elements of AADHum’s hallmark activities (workshopsreading groups and incubators) to facilitate the creation of excellent digital humanities work: presentation, as each researcher delivers a brief talk contextualizing the development of their digital project; dialogue, as participants engage with the researcher, with the goal of providing purposeful feedback and fostering discussion of two key theoretical or disciplinary readings that ground their project; and skill building, as AADHum and MITH staff support each researcher to develop or refine a key technical skill relevant to their project.

During the Spring 2019 semester, Intensives will feature members of the 2019 AADHum Scholars cohort and focus on supporting them in the advancement of their digital projects in African American history and culture. Though these Intensives do not provide broad theoretical or digital skills training, they are open to the public. We enthusiastically welcome all interested parties who want to learn more about the Scholars’ projects and/or participate in the ongoing development of their work. Please come prepared to engage in a discussion-driven, seminar-style event.

This Intensives session, “Tracing the Architecture of “the Welfare Queen” in L.A.,” features Victor Bramble, a Ph.D. student in the department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. They received their Bachelor’s degree in the departments of Ethnic Studies and Modern Culture & Media from Brown University. At Maryland, they are a Flagship Fellow and Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholar. Their dissertation research traces the development of decentralized government computing systems through the labor history of low-level public employees since the 1970s. While these employees were tasked to manage the “disorder” of poor and working-class communities of color through computing, Victor’s research demonstrates that neither the people, nor the technology, were so easy to control. Instead, we can see, through this history, that marginalized communities fundamentally influenced the design and development of government computing systems in their struggle to build lives for themselves against and outside the terms of their criminalization. They are co-protagonists of computing and governmental history, rather than mere targets of state surveillance or technological control.