Race, Ethnicity, and the Midwest through Objects: A History Harvest
History Major (College of Arts & Sciences)
Michelle Moyd (College of Arts & Sciences)
I am the Associate Director of the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society (CRRES). CRRES fosters interdisciplinary research on race and ethnicity through a variety of activities on campus. CRRES is currently working with the Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities (IDAH) to develop a History Harvest called ""Race, Ethnicity, and the Midwest through Objects"". The History Harvest is an ""open, digital archive of historical artifacts gathered from communities across the United States"" (https://historyharvest.unl.edu/). The History Harvest encourages university students and faculty to partner with local communities to ""collect, preserve, and share"" the histories that matter most to them. The methodologies help to break down perceived barriers between scholarly researchers and community members. Community members decide what objects they would like to preserve in digital form, and university students assist in the process of preserving, documenting, and organizing the materials using the History Harvest platform. The end goal is the construction of a digital historical archive that is meaningful to, and usable by, the community involved in the project. At the same time, the items collected and preserved in the History Harvest become an archive for researchers and teachers to use in myriad ways. Our History Harvest project is called ""All Counties, All Countries."" This project would encourage students from different counties in Indiana and students from different countries whose families reside in different counties in Indiana to bring objects related to race, ethnicity, identity, and belonging that we could digitally archive. We will work with the cultural centers on campus, asking them to contact their student constituencies to encourage them to bring objects for the History Harvest. We will pilot the History Harvest in October 2019 during the First Thursdays event. IU community members will be encouraged to bring items for digital preservation and documentation. These might include photographs of objects or scans of photographs provided by community members. In addition to digitally preserving the objects, CRRES staff will collect information from the owners, including short oral histories and details about the objects being preserved.
Technology or Computational Component
A CEW&T research apprentice would assist with digital tasks associated with the History Harvest project. Such tasks might include creating unique identifiers for digital objects; data entry and preparation for upload to databases involved in project; scanning, photography, and other documentation work on site; or assistance with guiding participants through preservation processes on site. This work would prepare the research apprentice for future research projects in various fields and disciplines. For example, an Informatics or data science student could develop data visualization and data structuring projects based on this data in the future. Or, a History student might use the History Harvest to design a follow-on historical research project using the data.