Collaborating Across the Divide: Digital Humanities and the Caribbean, Sept. 21-22, 2017
September 21 - September 22
Digital technology has made the early twenty-first century a critical moment of opportunity by providing access to a wide range of library and archival materials and by offering new means of teaching, analyzing content, and presenting literary scholarship. While digital technologies have the promise of bridging institutional and geographic barriers, they have also continued to reproduce colonial hierarchies and marginalize content from the Caribbean and the Global South. This symposium, “Collaborating Across the Divide: Digital Humanities and the Caribbean,” brings together scholars and artists from the Caribbean and the United States to discuss how to collaborate through digital humanities in ways that decolonize knowledge and empower Caribbean subjects, rather than reaffirm colonial histories of archiving and education. The project will center on the Digital Library of the Caribbean (www.dloc.com), an international partnership. The objective of the symposium is to produce an action plan for making dLOC a hub for pedagogical, scholarly, and artistic collaboration.
Thursday, 21 Sept., 5-6:45pm:
- Introduction by Randi Gill-Sadler, and Presentation: Oonya Kempadoo and Schuyler Esprit
Friday, 22 Sept.:
- 9-10:45am: Panel: Rosamond King and Matthew Smith
- 10:45-11am: Break
- 11am-12:45pm: Panel: Sue Ann Barratt and Schuyler Esprit
- 12:45-2:15pm: Lunch Break
- 2:15-3:15pm: Panel: Thomas Hale and others
- 3:15-3:30pm: Break
- 3:30-5pm, Roundtable:
- 5-5:15pm: Closing remarks
OONYA KEMPADOO is author of Buxton Spice (1997), winner of the Tide Running (2001), and All Decent Animals (2013); winner of the Casa de Las Americas Prize (2002), and consultant in the arts and social development, including work with UNICEF, UNAID. She was Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence and Creative Writing Instructor (2013-2014) at two colleges in Connecticut; and serves advisor to Caribbean literacy non-profit “Hands Across the Sea” and co-founder of the Grenada Community Library & Resource Center in St George’s Grenada. An internationally acclaimed novelist, she is a leader in digital arts and educational collaboration in the Caribbean. Kempadoo has initiated two digital projects to support environmental sustainability in the Caribbean. The first, Naniki, is a speculative fiction, multi-media, eco-social project designed to engage students in the Caribbean and other countries in using digital technology and supporting environmental sustainability. The second, Carisealand, is a digital platform for scholars, artists, and the public for sharing projects on sustainability, designed and built by Create Caribbean Research Institute and it’s students (Dominica State College).
SCHUYLER ESPRIT is a scholar of Caribbean literature and cultural studies. Dr. Esprit holds a PhD in English literature from University of Maryland – College Park. She currently serves as dean of Academic Affairs at Dominica State College as well as director of the Create Caribbean Research Institute. She has pioneered Digital Humanities projects and digital technology training at the K-12 and College level in Dominica as well as collaboratively, linking classes at the Dominica State College and classes at colleges in the United States. She is now completing her book manuscript and its digital companion, both entitled Occasions for Caribbean Reading, a historical exploration of reading culture in the Caribbean.
SUE ANN BARRATT, Institute for Gender & Development Studies, at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine (Trinidad), which is home to several significant digital and public humanities projects, including Caribbean Review of Gender Studies, an open access peer-reviewed journal.
MATTHEW J. SMITH is Professor in History and Head, Department of History and Archaeology, The UWI, Mona. His areas of research include Haitian politics, society, and migration. He is the author of the books Liberty, Fraternity, Exile: Haiti and Jamaica After Emancipation (University of North Carolina Press, 2014), winner of the Haiti Illumination Project Book Prize from the Haitian Studies Association and Red and Black in Haiti: Radicalism, Conflict, and Political Change, 1934-1957 (University of North Carolina Press, 2009) which was a winner of the Gordon K and Sybil Lewis prize for best book in Caribbean History from the Caribbean Studies Association. He had contributed significantly to dLOC’s teacher training program and to its edited collection Haiti: An Island Luminous; his service work utilizes the digital for critical needs, including as Director of UWI-Mona’s Haiti Initiative following the 2010 earthquake providing assistance to Haitian university students and the Haitian national library, his work serving as Director of the UWI’s Social History Project, and as member of the Board of Museums and Archives of the Institute of Jamaica.
ROSAMOND KING (Associate Professor of English, Brooklyn College, CUNY) is a critical and creative writer and artist, whose work focuses on the Caribbean and sexuality. Her book Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination won the 2015 Caribbean Studies Association Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Prize for the best Caribbean Studies Book. She is also a poet, artist, and performer with an extensive record of publications and performances. She is also a leader in digitizing LBGTQ archival materials from the Caribbean for dLOC and has collaboratively developed and taught with Dr. Angelique Nixon, a distributed online collaborative course (DOCC) in the US and Caribbean on sexualities.
THOMAS HALE was one of the founders of the African Literature Association, a field of study that developed in the early 1970s. Two of his early books reflect this initiative: The Teaching of African Literature and Artist and Audience: African Literature as a Shared Experience. He devoted several decades to research and publication on the oral traditions in West Africa, where he recorded epics narrated by griots, professional bards who maintain the cultural heritage of peoples in the Sahel region. He is also a prominent scholar on Aimé Césaire and has recently developed an online annotated bibliography of Césaire: http://lesecritscesaire.libraries.psu.edu/. He served as head of the Department of French and Francophone Studies at the Pennsylvania State University from 2001 to 2008.
Oonya Kempadoo. “Which Medium, Whose Story?”
Each story has its calling in a particular form but don’t we think, imagine and remember in an interdisciplinary and multimedia way? Following the development of my new work, Naniki, the journey from analog to digital and multimedia reveals a navigation of gaps, challenges, leaps and bounds which includes collaborative research and educational tools. It also reflects how the arts/artist and storytelling is valued (or not) today in the Caribbean, particularly in science and sustainability concerns, within aid-dependent resources, a colonial education system and inherited relationships with ‘modernization’.
Schuyler K Esprit. “The Idea of the Institution: Using digital humanities praxis to rethink spaces for learning and community building in the Caribbean”
The presentation will use the short history of Create Caribbean’s mission and platform to illustrate the inherent paradoxes in developing Caribbean institutions. I focus on the ways that renaming and redefining digital humanities has been critical to establishing of the digital humanities center in the Caribbean and to its application across a number of research and policy projects that the center has successfully completed. The term “institution” is loaded in the context of the region’s history but also, more directly, in the emergence of digital humanities as a field of study and work. In many ways, how we perceive the institutions to which we belong or the ones with which we want to collaborate. This presentation will present and respond to some key questions about the relationship between academic, historical and intellectual institutions community organizations or entities and the people who do the work within these structures. Among the questions addressed in the presentation are, “What do we gain or lose by continuing to frame higher education as a primary conduit for progress in Caribbean heritage preservation and Caribbean sustainability? What new forms can collaborations take to create or improve community accountability to the Caribbean people who this work should serve? How do we reshape the spaces for teaching and learning within and across Caribbean communities to facilitate academic and intellectual exploration as well as community and social justice? What role does the “institution” of the “digital” play in resolving or complicating each of these questions? The talk aims to call to the forefront the challenges of the Caribbean intellectual and sociopolitical frameworks that digital humanities praxis attempts to highlight, while simultaneously uncovering the limitations of the praxis in doing this work.
Rosamond King: “Caribbean Digital Collaborations: Lessons Learned”
This presentation will focus on Caribbean International Resource Network’s collaborations to create an open-access graduate course on Caribbean Sexualities and to publish print and on-line collections. King will discuss the challenges and lessons learned from almost ten years of the IRN work across the Caribbean and its diaspora, working with both within and beyond universities.
Matthew Smith: “History Special: A Digital Narrative of the History Department at UWI Mona”
The Department of History and Archaeology at the University of the West Indies, Mona is one of the oldest departments at this seventy year old institution. In 1948 the Irvine Commission which developed the blueprint for the university insisted that Caribbean history be a central focus in its undergraduate training. This was a pioneering move as Caribbean History was then and for several decades after considered marginal to the epic of imperial history. With this mandate, the History department at Mona built a remarkable reputation as the centre for Caribbean history teaching, research, and writing in the 1950s. The founders of the department included the esteemed Guyanese historian, Elsa Goveia, Jamaican Douglas Hall, and St. Lucian Fitroy Augier. Through their guidance the department rose to great prominence over the next three generations. Later students and faculty included the celebrated historians Walter Rodney, Lucille Mathurin Mair and Kamau Brathwaite. Since 2016 the department has been developing a digital humanities project that uses twenty-first century technology to tell the important story of its foundations. The project will be launched in 2018 on the 70th anniversary of the UWI. This presentation will discuss the project, its aims, expected outcomes, and directions.
Thomas Hale. “The Role of Le Progressiste in the Salvage of Aimé Césaire’s Political Career”
Sue Ann Barratt.
For additional information, please contact Laurie Taylor (email@example.com).
- All events in the Smathers Library, room 100.
- All events are free and open to the public.
- Sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere with support from the Rothman Endowment.
- Co-Sponsored by the Creative Campus Program, Center for Latin American Studies, the Interdisciplinary Working Group on Caribbean Arts and Humanities, the Science Fiction Working Group, and Imagining Climate Change, the George A. Smathers Libraries, the Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research, the Department of English, the Department of History, the UF Informatics Institute, France-Florida Research Institute, and the Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Department.
- Program Team Members: Leah Rosenberg, Randi Gill-Sadler, Prea Persaud; Chelsea Dinsmore, Tace Hedrick, Emily Hind, Maria Rogal, Malini Johar Schueller, Maya Stanfield-Mazzi, Dhanashree Thorat, Laurie Taylor
Travel to Gainesville
Parking on campus is extremely difficult. Please see:
- General Information on UF Parking
- Parking map
- UF offers paid parking on campus at the Visitor Welcome Center in the Reitz Union (655 Reitz Union Dr.). Other, external paid parking options are also available:
- Stadium Club, behind 1802 W. University Ave.
- Lot across from Library West, 1542 W. University Ave.
Information on many options is available through the Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau
- Gainesville (GNV) Airport
- Jacksonville and Orlando airports: both are approximately a 1.5-2 hour drive from Gainesville (the Jacksonville airport is closer; the drive from Orlando includes toll roads)
- The Gainesville Regional Transit System will run a normal schedule during the UF THATCamp.
- TransLōc map of where your bus is now