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Saturday, February 29 • 2:30pm - 3:45pm
Collective Responsibility: Building Community-University Partnerships

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Chair: Julia Holz

Daniel Gorman Jr., “Digitizing Rochester’s Religions: Piloting a Community–University Partnership in the Digital Humanities”
​Launched under the stewardship of Dr. Margarita Guillory, Digitizing Rochester’s Religions aimed to document the entire religious history of Rochester, N.Y. While historians have studied the effects of the Second Great Awakening (1800–30) in western New York, they have not given equal attention to the region’s religious life during the Civil War, industrialization and deindustrialization, and the Civil Rights Movement. The graduate and undergraduate students working on DRR sought to correct this oversight by writing narratives of key religious sites, creating interactive maps, and digitizing primary sources from the community. When Dr. Guillory received an appointment at another university, however, it became my responsibility as the lead graduate student researcher to finish the project. DRR in its final form is a pilot project. By documenting religious life in Rochester’s southwest quadrant, we show how historians might do this work on a larger scale. My presentation will address both the public history and digital history aspects of DRR. In terms of public history, I will discuss how to develop reciprocal relationships with faith communities, how to secure permission for publishing community archives online, and how to balance academic research plans with the needs of community partners. As for digital humanities technology, I will address the process of scanning, formatting, cataloguing, and backing up 130 gigabytes’ worth of primary sources. Finally, I will consider DRR as an example of successful project-based learning, since the students who worked on DRR gained hands-on archival, ethnographic, and digital humanities experience. 
Michael Milner, "Teaching Students to Become Researchers in their Lives and Communities: Pedagogy, Digital Humanities, and Learning from Place"

Teaching Students to Become Researchers in their Lives and Communities: Pedagogy, Digital Humanities, and Learning from Place

This talk uses as its jumping off place my recent work creating a digital mapping project called “The Historical Atlas of Lowell” (at mappinglowell.net). The mapping project provides an easy-to-use platform for students to work with maps that tell open-ended stories and introduce challenging questions about the history of the city of Lowell. For instance, students can investigate the way capital produced in Lowell was re-invested in Boston (not Lowell) throughout the first part of the 19th century. In turn, students must consider issues of uneven development and its ethical problems; they are encouraged to ask if such dynamics are still significant in the 21st century.

The talk focuses more on why I created this project, than on the nuts and bolts of how it was created. I explain the project’s pedagogical goals, which involve using technology to help students produce interdisciplinary knowledge about their communities and, ultimately, about their own lives and situations. The goal of the project is to teach students how to be researchers in their communities and how to present that research to a broad public in interactive, engaging ways. We desperately need such researchers — both professional and lay — in today’s world.

Anna Vallye and Rose Oliveira, "
Mapping Urban Renewal in East New London"
This presentation introduces a new initiative at Connecticut College, sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Humanities Research for the Public Good Grant from The Council of Independent Colleges. Titled Mapping Urban Renewal in New London, CT, our project brings to light the history and impact of urban renewal in an East New London neighborhood adjacent to the College. Urban renewal and highway construction in the 1940s-1960s destroyed much of the historic urban fabric in this area and displaced many residents in this largely minority and underprivileged community. Working with teams of students, using local archives and the testimony of long-time residents, we are reconstructing the planning decisions and events of the time, and tracing transformations in the urban fabric. This project will produce a GIS-based StoryMap website, including documents and oral histories, as well as present a series of public events.

Project Team members will share highlights of the ongoing grant project connecting undergraduate students with the archival and library collections at their institutions and partnering with community nonprofits to bring the students’ work to the public. We will share what we have accomplished so far, present sneak previews of the student work underway, and provide tips and lessons learned for those who want to embark on similar projects.


Daniel Gorman Jr.

University of Rochester

Michael Milner

University of Massachusetts Lowell

Rose Oliveira

Connecticut College

Anna Vallye

Connecticut College

Saturday February 29, 2020 2:30pm - 3:45pm EST
1823 Room

Attendees (7)