AADHum Projects-in-Progress

At the University of Maryland and throughout the D.C. metropolitan area, our local AADHum community has been hard at work!

Throughout the Spring 2017 Race, Space, and Place series, our participants have been learning, collaborating, and building together. These emergent projects have been enriched by the critical perspectives and new digital skills fostered by AADHum’s reading groups, incubators, and one-on-one consultations.

If your own work is currently in progress and being integrally shaped, informed, or enhanced by your participation in the AADHum initiative, we want to hear about it! To submit your own work, or the work of a colleague, friend, or community member (with their consent), please click here.

Baldwin’s Paris

Creator and Curator: Tyechia L. Thompson, PhD

Baldwin’s Paris is a geospatial literary tool made up of over one hundred placemarks on Google Earth/Google Maps. The placemarks used in “Baldwin’s Paris” are references James Baldwin has made to buildings/monuments, restaurants/cafes, arrondissements/areas/street names, and residences in Paris that appear in his novels, collections of essays and short stories published during his lifetime. Each placemark includes a short paragraph citing where the reference can be found.

According to Thompson, AADHum’s third incubator session, Time and Narrative, introduced her to new tools, “such as CARTO for my mapping projects.” Thompson also attended a special reading group session, Theorizing the Archive, held at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC), which helped her consider ways to merge another emergent project with “Baldwin’s Paris.”

As of April 2017, “Baldwin’s Paris” is open to collaboration and is seeking funding or other forms of support. 

Connect: tyechialynn@gmail.com, @tyechialynn, www.drtyechialynn.com


Creator and Curator: Marya Annette McQuirter, PhD

dc1968 is a curated & crowdsourced dh retrospective of Washington, DC in 1968. The two goals of the project are:

  1. to change the prevailing, media-driven perception about Washington, DC in 1968 by countering the hyper focus on “the riots” after the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  2. engage individuals in the processes of history production, preservation and ideas

The first goal will be achieved by providing accessible, content-rich daily stories in 2018 that amplify corresponding stories in 1968. The second goal will be achieved by providing digital and f2f platforms for individuals to upload their personal stories and ephemera, to assist with research and content creation, and learn how to preserve their materials. Each story will include an image, textual description, audio, video and geolocation.

While dc1968 will produce some original content, it will be most effective as a content aggregator that brings individuals in for quick bursts of content and then pushes them back out to other sites for deeper dives into content. McQuirter is “committed to crowdsourcing the project by setting up a mechanism for individuals to be able to sign up to complete research tasks. Similar to the Smithsonian’s Digital Volunteers who transcribe documents, [she]’d love to have local and global volunteers help slog through online newspapers and other digital (and perhaps analog) resources, write stories, etc.”

In describing her experience with Spring 2017 Race, Space, and Place series, McQuirter said, “the UMD AADHum initiative has contributed immensely to my project. As an independent scholar not attached to a university, it can be a challenge to have access to resources. Attending the incubator sessions and following @UMD_AADHum on Twitter keeps me connected to the latest dh resources.” McQuirter also offered generous praise for AADHum faculty and staff, particularly Dr. Catherine Steele (Project Director), Trevor Munoz (Associate Director of MITH), and Dr. Justin Hosbey (post-doctoral fellow), whom she described as “exemplary in their commitments to collegiality, scholarship and collaboration. I highly recommend the one-on-one sessions.”

As of April 2017, dc1968 is open to collaboration and is seeking funding and/or other forms of support. 

Connect: dc1968project@gmail.com; @maryamcquirter

Huddles of Hurdles? Racial and Economic Barriers to Collective Gathering in 21st Century Women’s Movements

Curator and Creator: Alyson Farzad-Phillips

Over 4,500 Huddles took place around the world throughout the month of February 2017. The Huddle campaign was created by the organizers of the Women’s March, who encouraged feminists to participate in the month-long event as a follow-up to the march. The purpose of a Huddle, defined by the official Women’s March website, was “to gather together in our neighborhoods all over the world to define our next steps, and envision how to transform the energy we saw at Women’s Marches into local and national action.” But were all Huddles created equal… or rather, distributed equally?

This project looks at the distribution of D.C. based Huddles events to determine how access to the collective organizing of feminist minded people played out over space and place in the nation’s capital. By re-creating the interactive map that was originally produced on the Huddle website, Farzad-Phillips aims to analyze not only the women’s movement as it existed in 2017, but also to make a greater statement on the accessibility of social change and the public sphere. The author-created map acts as a rhetorical artifact of this moment in time (February 2017) and provides evidence that the contemporary rise of feminism has already indicated patterns of racial and economic exclusion in the ways that they have collectively organized and gathered.

According to Farzad-Phillips, “this critical communication project would not have happened without the intellectual and collaborative space that the AADHum initiative allowed. The impetus for the project was set up in reaction to the first incubator, while we were being shown examples of geo-spatial maps that tracked black culture. Once the Huddles project came to my mind, I discussed the implementation of my discipline-specific goals with the resources available in the AADHum initiative. Meeting with AADHum staff members not only helped me develop a vocabulary of digital mapping, but they were integral in helping me create the map on CARTO, a public mapping software. Overall, my experience with the AADHum initiative was the catalyst for my scholarship this semester.”

As of April 2017, the “Huddles or Hurdles” project may be open to collaboration, and may be seeking funding or other forms of support.

Connect: abfarzad@gmail.com

Recovering Democracy Archives (RDA)

Creator and Advisor: Dr. Shawn J. Parry-Giles, Department of Communication, University of Maryland

Project Staff: Megan Fitzmaurice, General Administrator; Lauren Hunter, Graduate Assistant

The Recovering Democracy Archives (RDA) project aims to recover lesser-known but important public speeches that have been muted or hidden within the vaults of archival depositories or in obscure anthologies and historical publications. RDA features seldom remembered speeches from U.S. citizens and leaders as well as international orators speaking in the United States. The project is particularly focused on featuring the voices of historically marginalized groups as a means to expand the canon of U.S. public address. These speeches come from civil rights movements, educational movements, environmental movements, GLBT movements, labor movements, religious movements, women’s movements, and other social change and social resistance movements. RDA seeks to recover, authenticate, and digitize these speeches. Ultimately, we aim to make these speeches widely accessible through an open sourced website alongside contextual background and educational resources.

In order to grow and expand the project in new ways, the RDA team met with post-doctoral fellow Justin Hosbey as a part of AADHum’s one-on-one brainstorming sessions. They said, “[Justin] was incredibly helpful and lent his expertise on digital storytelling platforms to help us think through more engaging, interactive ways to present historical information. Because of his advice, we have expanded our vision for the site to include more visual components, such as maps, games, timelines, and images. He also helped us rethink the possibilities of a WordPress site, demonstrating ways to embed a storymap and other interactive educational tools.” An integral member of RDA’s staff has also “attended every reading group and incubator session” during the Spring 2017 Race, Space, and Place series and has reported that RDA has “benefited immensely from the conversations surrounding the ethics and practices of using digital tools as a means to promote the study of marginalized voices.”

As of April 2017, RDA is open to collaboration and is currently seeking funding and/or other forms of support.

Connect: mifitz@umd.edu; @umdfitz