AADHum Scholars

The African American History, Culture and Digital Humanities (AADHum) Initiative at the University of Maryland is pleased to extend its AADHum Scholars Program for the 2018–2019 academic year, with thanks to generous support from the College of Arts and Humanities.

Last year, working with AADHum and MITH staff, the inaugural class of AADHum Scholars contributed to the AADhum blog, participated in Digital Humanities Incubators and presented during AADHum’s workshop series to receive detailed feedback on their black digital humanities projects. Scholars also presented their work at AADHum’s national conference, Intentionally Digital, Intentionally Black.

Our new cohort of AADHum Scholars will receive individualized assistance from AADHum and MITH staff to support the digital development of their scholarship including: syllabus transformation, in-progress digital project, or developing a digital component to a dissertation, article or book chapter. Scholars will also deepen their understanding of the role that design, ethics, DH tools, collaboration, and project management play in moving their Black digital projects forward. They will also present their ongoing work in an AADHum Intensives session during the Spring 2019 semester, for the chance to receive up to $5,000–$6,500 to support summer research.

Meet the 2018-2019 AADHum Scholars

Want to support and learn more about the Scholars’ work?
Engage with them during the Spring 2019 Intensives series!

Kimberly Bain is a Ph.D. Candidate in English and Interdisciplinary Humanistic Study at Princeton University. Kimberly’s most pressing intellectual interests have consolidated around questions of the history, theory, and philosophy of: diaspora, race, gender, postcolonialism, enslavement, flesh, environmental racism, resistance, embodiment, and subjection and subjecthood. Her dissertation, entitled “On Black Breath: A Theory and Praxis,” takes seriously the charge of “I can’t breathe” and considers breath as more than the mere metaphor—rather, as also a somatic and sociopolitical phenomenon that has resonances in the wake of enslavement to the contemporary moment. At Princeton, Kimberly is affiliated with the American Studies Program and African-American Studies Department. More information about her current work can be found at kimbain.com.

Victor Bramble is 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.

When not teaching or researching, Victor loves to cook and is an avid over-analyzer of film and television.

Dr. Imani M. Cheers (@ImaniMCheers) is an award-winning digital storyteller, director, producer and filmmaker. As a professor of practice, Dr. Cheers uses a variety of mediums including video, photography, television and film to document and discuss issues impacting and involving people of the African Diaspora. Her scholarly focus is on the intersection of women/girls, technology, health, conflict, agriculture and the effects of climate change in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Cheers is also an expert on diversity in Hollywood, specifically the representation of Black women in television and film. Dr. Cheers is the co-creator and managing editor of Newsroom U, an innovative, immersive multimedia journalism initiative for high school and college students. She is also the executive director for the Global Media Project, an international storytelling program.

Before joining SMPA, Dr. Cheers was director of educational resources and a multimedia producer for the PBS NewsHour, a producer/writer at Howard University Television and a multimedia producer at Newsweek.com. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, DAWN (Diaspora African Women’s Network) and a 2013 New Media Fellow with the International Reporting Project. Dr. Cheers is also a regular contributor for CCTV America and CTN Canada, offering insight into American race relations and popular culture.

Jordan Ealey (@jaealey) is a scholar and playwright, hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. As a second-year MA student in Theatre and Performance Studies, her research interests are in Black Feminism, Black Theatre and Performance (with a focus in Black Musical Theatre), and Black Girlhood Studies. Her current thesis project takes an in-depth look at Kirsten Childs’s musical, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, as well as generates a genealogy of Black women-authored musicals. In addition to her traditional academic scholarship, Jordan is also a playwright. Her plays have been developed and/or produced at Horizon Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center, and Rorschach Theatre.

Stan Maxson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of Maryland, College Park. He specializes in nineteenth-century African American history and is especially interested in studying the transition from slavery to freedom, space and place in the post-civil war South, and the role of domestic relationships in constructing citizenship. His dissertation, “The Ties that Bind: African American Social Networks and Claims-Making in Postbellum Tennessee,” explores the multiple meanings of postwar Black mobility in the late nineteenth century. He is eager to work with AADHum to use digital humanities tools to bring together rich, but scattered, geographic information found in the Civil War pension files of Black veterans and their families in order to examine how pension applications brought people together across space and time in tangible ways.

Before beginning his Ph.D work at the University of Maryland, Stan received an M.A. in History from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Currently, Stan teaches a historical research methods seminar in the Department of History and eagerly encourages students to consider how the digital humanities can benefit public facing academic research. Stan maintains a strong commitment to public history by working toward a graduate certificate in Museum Scholarship and Material from the Department of American Studies and through his work as a 2018-2019 Graduate Teaching Fellow at the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center.

Rhondda Robinson Thomas (@prof07) is the Calhoun Lemon Professor of Literature at Clemson University where she teaches early African American literature and American literature in the Department of English. She completed her PhD in English at the University of Maryland. Her research interests include racial identities, migration, and auto/biography. Thomas has published Claiming Exodus: A Cultural History of Afro-Atlantic Identity, 1770-1903 and co-edited The South Carolina Roots of African American Thought. She contributed the “Locating Slave Narratives” chapter to the Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative and is the acquisitions co-editor for the African American Literature series at the Clemson University Press. Thomas is also the faculty director of the “Call My Name: African Americans in Clemson University History” multimodal research project for which she was awarded a 2018-19 Whiting Foundation Public Engagement Fellowship, a gift from the Dr. James and Edith Bostic, Jr., through the Clemson University Foundation, and grants from NEH Creating Humanities Communities, SC Humanities, and Clemson’s Office of the Provost. She recently accepted invitations to write a book for the Humanities and Public Life Series at the University of Iowa Press and an essay for a special issue on biographic mediation for the Biography journal about the Call My Name project.

To learn more about last year’s inaugural class of AADHum Scholars, please click here.