Digital Diasporas

About Timothy Hackman

Librarian for English & Linguistics, University of Maryland Libraries. Member of LES since 2006.

Last week, three of my colleagues and I presented a workshop as part of a conference held here at UMD called Digital Diasporas: Digital Humanities and African American/African Diaspora Studies. We were invited by conference organizers in the English Department to present a three-hour workshop on “Navigating Digital Resources in African American/African Diaspora Studies,” which we divided up into three main sections: Research Strategies (general info on how to find books, articles and primary documents, databases and web searching tools); Professional Resources (universities, research centers and libraries, professional organizations, and teaching resources); and Digital Resources on Selected Topics. For this last section we chose four representative subject areas: Slavery, The Harlem Renaissance, Women Writers of the Diaspora, and Films and Filmmakers of the Diaspora. The webpage we created is located here: http://www.lib.umd.edu/MCK/Diaspora/index.html.

While resources for Slavery (and, for some extent, the Harlem Renaissance) were plentiful, I have to admit being rather frustrated in my search for high-quality web resources on Women Writers of the Diaspora. There’s the Schomburg’s African American Women Writers of the 19th Century, of course, and Voices from the Gaps, and a handful of resources like the Zora Neale Hurston Plays at the Library of Congress. But beyond that, pickings were mighty slim.

So what are your favorites? Do you have any recommendations for web sites that we missed in this subject area? (Or, for that matter, in any of the other subject areas–slavery, Harlem Renaissance, films & filmmakers?) Maybe you have a project at your institution that would fit with the theme of the workshop? Take a look at the workshop web site and leave your comments on the blog–we’ll happily add your site or project!

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