Institute Faculty

profile_ZaheerAliZaheer Ali (Summer ’16)
Oral Historian, Brooklyn Historical Society, Ph.D. Candidate, Columbia University

“‘Some of this Good Earth that We Can Call Our Own:’ Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam, and the Quest for Rural Lands and Urban Spaces”

Mr. Zaheer Ali’s session will examine the Great Migration—particularly the massive social and cultural changes it produced—and the ways that it shaped Malcolm X’s and the Nation of Islam’s (NOI) geographies.  In particular, we will explore Malcolm X’s and the NOI’s quest for land ownership, even while they made significant strides at occupying and re-appropriating urban spaces for worship, commerce, and political organizing.  Set in different terrains, both the quest for rural land and urban spaces were important African-American spatial practices that emphasized the connection between space and freedom, land and independence.

profile_MoyaBaileyDr. Moya Bailey (Summer ’16)
(Ph.D., Emory)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Digital Humanities, Northeastern University
Dr. Bailey is the founder and co-conspirator of Quirky Black Girls, a network for strange and different Black girls and now serves at the digital alchemist for the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network.“What Counts as DH?” Dr. Bailey’s session will explore the diversity of digital projects inside and outside of African American studies, with specific attention paid to multi-media projects that are often over looked as belonging to DH.  She will help participants think through their own projects and explore the DH dimensions of their existing projects.

profile_DavidBodenhamerDr. David Bodenhamer (Summer ’16)
(Ph.D., Indiana University)
Executive Director, Polis Center; and Professor, History; Indiana University-Purdue University

“From Historical GIS to Spatial Humanities: An Overview” 
Dr. Bodenhamer’s presentation will trace the development of geo-spatial applications in the humanities from historical GIS to the spatial humanities.  What contributions have spatial technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) made to the humanities—and what problems have they raised for humanists and social scientists?  This presentation explores how scholars are reaching beyond GIS to more robust, multimodal platforms better suited to the nature of humanities questions.  In a new multidisciplinary field, known increasingly as spatial humanities, researchers are moving toward deep mapping, a form of spatial representation that embraces the analytical power of GIS but expands it to include memory, emotion, and immersive experiences that GIS alone cannot accommodate.

Dr. Bryan Carter (Summer ’16)
(Ph.D., University of Missouri, Columbia)
Associate Professor, Africana Studies, University of Arizona, Tucson

Bryan Carter received his Ph.D. at the University of Missouri-Columbia and is currently an Associate Professor in Africana Studies, at the University of Arizona specializing in African American literature of the 20th Century with a primary focus on the Harlem Renaissance. His research also focuses on Digital Humanities/Africana Studies . He has published numerous articles on his doctoral project, Virtual Harlem and has presented it at locations around the world. His research really centers on how the use of traditional and advanced interactive technologies changes the dynamic within the learning space space.

“The Harlem Renaissance and Complex Spatial Relationships”
Dr. Carter’s session will explore the complex spatial relationships between individuals and groups during the Harlem Renaissance era.  The session will also demonstrate a number of digital tools and provide hands-on instruction for using technology to introduce and teach difficult topics in the classroom.  Dr. Carter will also introduce emergent technologies and discuss how these tools may help students express their understanding of sensitive topics.

profile_KimberlyEllisDr. Kimberly Ellis (Summer ’16)
Writer, entertainer, entrepreneur, scholar (of American and Africana Studies), and activist

“The Bombastic Spatial Brilliance of Black Twitter: Black Studies and Black Lives Matter”Dr. Ellis’s session will explore the the digital and spatial dimensions of “Black Twitter” and how it has manifested in the era of Barack Obama’s presidency to produce a new, expressive, intergenerational phenomenon that embraces intellectual challenges, online activism and the hilarity of Black culture.

profile_StephanieYEvansDr. Stephanie Y. Evans (Summer ’16)
(Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Professor, Africana Women’s Studies, Clark Atlanta University
Dr. Evans is a scholar of African American women and is the project director and founder of the digital project, Swag Diplomacy.“Connecting Diaspora Narratives: Research and Pedagogical Lessons Learned from Mapping Black Passports and Africana Memoirs”Dr. Evans’s session will outline two digital humanities projects that highlight hundreds of African American memoirs and autobiographies.  Both projects explore techniques of mapping technologies, specifically sharing experiences with the Viewshare program developed by Library of Congress.  The first project, Swag Diplomacy, plots global locations of over 200 African American travel narratives.  These stories were featured in Black Passports: Travel Memoirs as a Tool for Youth Empowerment.  The second project, Africana Memoirs, maps data from an online library of over 500 women’s memoirs from the African diaspora.  This site shows rich possibilities of massaging data sets to produce information for different foci.  Participants in this workshop will discuss how to broaden research about Black life stories, will share techniques about mapping data in creative ways, and will learn how digital resources can enhance pedagogical practices (from service-learning to study abroad).
Dr. P. Gabrielle Foreman (Summer ’16)
(Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley)
Ned B. Allen Professor of English, Professor of History and Black Studies Faculty Director, the Colored Conventions Project, University of Delaware.

P. Gabrielle Foreman is a teacher and scholar of African American studies and nineteenth-century literary history who is hard at work on her current monograph, The Art of DisMemory: Historicizing Slavery in Poetry, Performance and Material Culture which fleshes out the relationship between skeletal and buried histories, the politics of memory and recovery, and the ephemerality that constitutes the Black archive and performance. As a human dedicated to community partnerships and research collaboration across disciplines and institutions, she co-founded Action for Social Change and Youth Empowerment, AScHAYE, which placed young people on the boards of social change organizations. She has co-edited the Penguin edition of Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig, and created performance pieces based on her research with poets, choreographers and composers. She is the faculty director of the Colored Conventions Project ( Founded in her graduate class in 2012, its working group now includes more than 20 graduate student leaders, undergraduate researchers, and library professionals. Through its national teaching partners, more than 1,200 students across the country have engaged in original research based on the CCP curriculum. The papers presented at the first (ever) symposium on the Colored Conventions, hosted in 2014, will appear in the volume Colored Conventions in the Nineteenth Century and the Digital Age, which she is co-editing with Sarah Patterson and Jim Casey, project co-founders and CCP’s co-coordinators. Gabrielle is the Ned B. Allen Professor of English with appointments in History and Black Studies at the University of Delaware.“Restoring the Social Justice Narrative to the Colored Conventions Movement”Dr. Forman’s session will introduce questions, concepts and outcomes central to its online restoration of the Colored Conventions Movement, 1830-1900.  Working with literature and data connected to this understudied phenomenon in Black political organizing, the project discusses the ways its interdisciplinary team produces narrative-centric exhibits and interactive spatial visualizations for multiple learning communities.  This session will especially chart CCP’s interest in tackling key questions on its journey to creating DH content for those interested in social justice pedagogies and collaborative knowledge production.

profile_KimGallonDr. Kim Gallon (Summer ’16 & Spring ’17)
Assistant Professor of History, Purdue University.

Dr. Gallon is a project director for two digital humanities projects: Black Press Research Collective and the Black Press Born-Digital project.Dr. Gallon will co-coordinate and oversee the Institute at Purdue with co-director, Dr. Angel David Nieves along with asking participants to critically consider and discuss the implications of spatial humanities for recovering Black people’s humanity in Africa and the African diaspora.

profile_AmyHillierDr. Amy Hillier
(Summer ’16)
(Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania)
Associate Professor and Faculty Co-Director, Cartographic Modeling Lab, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Hiller is a geospatial technology expert.“The Ward: The Spatial Humanization of the Philadelphia Negro’s Seventh Ward”Dr. Hillier’s session will focus on the integration of digital technology, including GIS mapping, in The Ward: Race and Class in Du Bois’ Seventh Ward   A ten-year-old digital humanities project, The Ward seeks to continue the unfinished business W.E.B. Du Bois started with his 1899 book, The Philadelphia Negro, of promoting the full humanity of all people.  Dr. Hillier will describe challenges relating to data collection, integration, and mapping, project funding and sustainability, as well as the broader goals of engaging high school youth and others in a dialog about race and racism today.  While the focus of the session will be on the historical dimensions of the project, Dr. Hillier will also discuss her utilization of GIS mapping and spatial analysis for contemporary public health projects relating to access to healthful food, “food deserts,” and exposure to outdoor advertising.  Together, these projects illustrate how digital technology can link issues of race and space in the past and present.

profile_NicoleKongDr. Ningning Nicole Kong (Summer ’16)
(Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University)
Assistant Professor and GIS Librarian, Purdue University

Dr. Kong is a geospatial technology expert.Dr. Kong will work with the Institute to apply spatial thinking skills and geospatial technology in African American study.  She will lecture and design hands-on activities for the participants to learn about the concept of spatial information and how it can be applied in their study areas.

profile_ScottNesbitDr. Scott Nesbit (Summer ’16 & Spring ’17)
(Ph.D., University of Virginia)
Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities, University of Georgia’s College of Environment and Design

Dr. Nesbit is a scholar of digital humanities and historian of spaces of the American South.“Charting the Spatial  Relationships Between the Study of American Slavery and Digital History”  Dr. Nesbit’s session will explore the symbiotic relationship between the study of American slavery and the emergence of digital history.  It will explore the trajectories and affordances of six projects: the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, the DocSouth North American Slave Narratives Collection, the Valley of the Shadow, Visualizing Emancipation, and American Panorama: The Forced Migration of Enslaved People.  The session will especially ask about the aims and development of these digital history projects with an eye toward learning from their successes and challenges.

profile_AngelDavidNievesDr. Angel David Nieves (Summer ’16 & Spring ’17)
Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Digital Humanities, Hamilton College.

Dr. Nieves co-directs Hamilton’s Digital Humanities Initiative and is the digital project leader for Soweto Historical GIS Project (SHGIS), among other projects on the spatial history of South Africa’s former all-Black townships.

Dr. Nieves is working to develop a draft proposal of the book and online digital publication resulting from the Institute.  Dr. Nieves will oversee the follow-up workshop/meeting at Hamilton College in Spring 2017.

profile_KentonRambsyDr. Kenton Rambsy (Summer ’16)
Assistant Professor of English; University Texas-Arlington

“Locating Southern Geographical Landscapes via Text Mining in Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright’s Short Fiction”

Dr. Rambsy’s session will emphasize the opportunities of utilizing digital tools to quantify the many data points that comprise the elements of southern geography in Zora Neale Hurston’s and Richard Wright’s short fiction—an important feature of their overall works.  He will highlight the benefits of utilizing text-mining in African American literary studies and how digital tools can aid the identification of notable trends and distinct features among black writers by region, and historical period.

profile_HollisRobbinsDr. Hollis Robbins (Summer ’16)
Director, Center for Africana Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Chair, Humanities Dept., Peabody Institute

Dr. Robbins will discuss with Institute participants the prospect of engagement with space- and place-based data visualizations simultaneously with traditional research formats.  Drawing on new discoveries of poetry in periodicals from the Black Periodical Literature Project and on new research on Hannah Crafts’s The Bondwoman’s Narrative, she will discuss how thinking spatially during the research process can shape the telling of history (including literary history) and create new landscapes for spatial humanities.  She will pose questions regarding the spatial and temporal influence of Nat Turner’s rebellion, mapped onto fictionalized geographies of Crafts’s slave narrative.  She will also ask participants to consider spatial limits in the Periodical Literature Archive, posing questions about the utility of particular poetic forms that fit, spatially.

profile_AmandaViscontiDr. Amanda Visconti (Summer ’16)
Assistant Professor & Digital Humanities Specialist, Purdue University

Dr. Visconti will assist participants in the scholarly technical aspects of building a digital humanities project.  Possible topics for consultation include getting started learning specific technologies, web design and development, usability and user testing, and social media outreach and documentation.  She also has particular experience in digital dissertations (e.g. determining scope, getting permission, evaluating a non-traditional dissertation) and multimodal publication.  She will be available to mentor participants and answer questions during breakout times, and can also lead group discussions to help participants reflect and gain feedback on their developing research designs.

Support Staff

African American Studies Research Center and History dept. staff and undergraduate student assistants from Purdue and Hamilton will work in this capacity