... 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 showing students how we can collect and preserve these imprints to build dynamic archives of human experiences, and then learn from them to pursue social change.

For Black and African Americans, who have long battled against oppression, digital spaces can provide an opportunity for creative expression and argument that challenge dominant narratives. Situating itself at the intersections of African American history, rhetoric, and digital humanities, this research project considers how black and African Americans combine innovative language practices and digital technology to centralize Black lives, challenge racism, and argue for freedom. As researchers, students will analyze their own everyday, digital worlds to identify and build a collection of online Black discourse that grapples with the question, "What does it mean to be free?" Then, students will learn how to use several coding languages - including XML, HTML, and CSS - to preserve their online collection and create a digital archive. Finally, students will consider ethical web design and publication as they combine their digital archives to launch a full, interactive website that showcases how Black people are advocating for freedom in meaningful ways online. Ultimately, students will foster a critical understanding of archives as sites of power, digital technologies as tools for social justice, and the enduring legacies of Black resistance and rhetorical innovation.

2018 African American Digital Humanities - Digital Archives Stream

Faculty Advisor
Dr. Catherine Knight Steele

Research Educator
Dr. Jessica Lu