Black Publics in the Humanities:

Critical and Collaborative DH Projects

(This course ran in 2017. For future courses, see

Table of Contents

  1. Course Description
  2. Pre-Course Readings
  3. Slides
  4. Documents
  5. Datasets
  6. Add’l Black DH Projects & Resources
  7. Permissions

Course Description

Instructors: Sarah Patterson and Jim Casey, University of Delaware

June 5-9, 2017 | Photo of class participants

Forming reciprocal partnerships between academia and publics realizes a primary goal of calls for social justice in Digital Humanities practices and projects. In this discussion-centric course, we will explore the possibilities for developing collaborative and public-facing digital projects invested in social justice. As a path to cultural criticism, we ask: how might we adapt digital practices in the humanities to bring students and public communities into our scholarship on Black American experiences and other underrepresented identities and texts in DH? What are some of the challenges of working through the politics of marginalization and with scattered archives, and how might we design multi-faceted projects that engage those topics in meaningful ways?

This course will cover the intersections of project management, digital pedagogy and data visualization. We will hone strategies for weaving together inclusive community partnerships with undergraduate research through crowdsourcing, exhibits, and digital collections. Taking a hands-on approach, we will become acquainted with the processes of data. How do datasets make arguments? How can we collaborate with librarians and information professionals to unpack the resonances of power, authority, and violence in humanities data?

Using the Colored Conventions Project and other small- to medium-sized DH projects as examples, students will have the opportunity to create and workshop blueprints for their own projects. By the end of the week, participants will have a working understanding of an array of approaches to project design and implementation, including data viz., metadata, curriculum, and more.

Open to all levels of interest, course topics will include:

  • Growing diverse project teams, writing policies and fundraising.
  • Developing curricula for coalitions of teaching and learning.
  • Designing with open-source & accessible tools.
  • Visualizing and analyzing marginalized histories through texts, tabulations, maps, and networks.

Course readings made available through a shared Google folder in the weeks before HILT begins.

Pre-Course Readings

Miriam Posner, “How Did They Make That?” (video)

Kim Gallon, “Making a Case for the Black Digital Humanities”

John Dunham Peters, “Proliferation and Obsolescence of the Historical Record in the Digital Era”

Carol Rudisell, “Liberating History: Reflections on Rights, Rituals and the Colored Conventions Project”

Katie Rawson and Trevor Munoz, “Against Cleaning”

Ian O’Bryne, “Wakefulness and Digitally Engaged Publics”

Matthew Delmont, “Does It Count?” Scholarly Communication and African American Digital History”



HILT 2017 – Course Daily Schedule


A grant-writing guide for public historians, by Sonya Lovine.

List of Grants & Funding Opportunities

Public Humanities

Imagining Personas & Publics for a Digital Humanities Project

Data Visualization

Tools & Resources for Data Viz  (view slightly older pdf)

Evaluating DH Tools

Building and Working with a Dataset


Various materials from the Colored Conventions Project. Public presentations forthcoming.

North American Slave Narratives (csv file) from DocSouthData.

Entries for “Blacks as Authors” (csv file) from the American Antiquarian Society’s catalog.

Archive of ~1500 tweets during #HILT2017 

Add’l Black DH Projects & Resources

View a crowdsourced list of Black Digital Humanities Projects & Resources


These course materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.