“Remixing Rural Texas: Local Texts, Global Contexts” (RRT) is a digital humanities project about race and place, focusing on the decades surrounding desegregation in a rural university town. This blog attempts to capture our struggles and key accomplishments as we work to create digital tools useful for humanities scholars working to understand how historically underrepresented groups garner rhetorical agency. [see RRT products
PI: Shannon Carter, PhD, Associate Professor of English, Texas A&M-Commerce
Current Research Team: Kelly Dent, student (MA, Political Science), Jennifer Jones, student (PhD, English), Sunchai Hacumpai, student (PhD, English), Adam Sparks, student (MA, History)
Andrea Weddle, Director of Special Collections, Texas A&M-Commerce; Mike Smith, Instructional Technology, Texas A&M-Commerce
Fall 2011-Spring 2012: Michael Lewandowski, Instructional Technology, Texas A&M-Commerce (left for a new position in Dallas, Texas)
Spring 2012: Prana Velcherum, student (MS, Computer Science), returned to India for summer
From the grant–
Remixing Rural Texas (RRT) prototype frames critical race narratives in rural, northeast Texas by bringing together archival research methods with three traditions increasingly common in the Digital Humanities: aggregation, remixing, and geomapping tools. RRT is both expository and participatory in nature. Expository aspects feature video documentaries remixed almost entirely from existing local history collections illustrating the convergence of geographical, temporal, political, and economic factors in shifting critical race narratives across local landscapes by foregrounding tensions and conflicts surrounding local texts and contexts with global implications. The participatory role invites and guides community and student participants in collecting, remixing, and likewise framing additional critical race narratives of their own. Level I grant will fund the expository portion of RRT leading to a Level II grant application to support the participatory role to build from prototype.
Statement of Innovation
RRT staff will research and develop an interactive prototype that at once embraces remix culture and foregrounds the rigorous research and citation practices characteristic of traditional humanities scholarship. This innovative approach to the problem of access to primary source materials when investigating isolated communities builds upon and extends current research, and includes use of data source annotation tool developed for prototype, building from open source options like Popcornjs.
Significance and Contributions to Humanities
Digital technologies offer solutions to the problem of access to primary source materials when investigating rural, minority, and other communities historically inaccessible to both archivists and archival researchers, especially those archivists concerned with collecting and sustaining primary source materials on previously underrepresented groups and researchers who study historical agency among these groups and who are interested in encouraging community and student participation in same.