UF Faculty Department College
Leah Rosenberg English College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Partner Faculty Department Partner Institution
, Evelyn O’Callaghan
Debra Providence
Department of Literatures in English University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados (UWI)
Caribbean Migration in History and Literature
Project Description:

This interdisciplinary introduction to digital humanities and the use of historical research in literary analysis examines the archival record and the literary representation of  two often overlooked labor migrations that profoundly influenced the shape and timing of the emergence of modern Caribbean literary culture: The immigration of Chinese and Indian indentured laborers into the Caribbean between 1838 and 1917, and the emigration and return of the Afro-Caribbean workers who went to Panama to build the canal between 1904–1914. The course makes extensive use of the Digital Library of the Caribbean (www.dloc.com), an open-access digital archive, whose technical hub is at UF. Course materials, including student contributions to dLOC, are available here: https://dloc.com/digital/panamasilver.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Gain experience in collaborative work practices, working in teams to produce digital scholarship, e.g. a linked mapping and research project presented in a scalar book.
  • Gain competence in digital humanities tools useful for literary and historical digital scholarship, including Google Maps and multimedia authoring software (Scalar).
  • To introduce students to the technology used in digital archiving (producing metadata, exhibit labels, finding guides) and explore challenges posed by digital archiving (how can we not reproduce the colonial structure of existing historical archival materials?).
  • Gain experience working with traditional archival materials, historical photographs, maps, letters, newspapers, and manuscripts.
Participating Countries:
Number of Participants:
UF Course Code & Name:
LIT 6236 - Panama Silver, Asian Gold: Reimagining Diasporas, Archives, and the Humanities
Project Duration:
16 weeks
Activity Type(s):
Student-to-Student Dialogue
Student-to-Student Project
Virtual Guest Speaker
Time allotted to each activity:
Synchronous Activities: 9 hours
Asynchronous Activities: 9 hours
Technology Tools:
Videoconference: Vidyo, Zoom
Messaging Applications: WhatsApp
Learning Management Systems (LMS): Canvas
Other: Google Maps, Scalar, PB Works
Sequence of Activities:

All three campuses met together for nine-hour joint sessions via videoconferences (Vidyo) in the course of the semester. These included an introduction of students, faculty, and librarians working with the class; training sessions on Scalar, google maps, and other DH with librarians;  lectures by faculty at different institutions on particular texts and to introduce particular assignments; class time allotted to group work across campuses;  guest lectures from writers (Olive Senior, Victor Chang);  and student presentations of their assignments. Over the course of the semester, students completed four smaller research and mapping projects focused building skills for identifying and analyzing particular types of archival documents that would build their knowledge and skills for their final project that would bring together literary analysis, archival research, and DH.  Two assignments were group projects, one due mid semester, on mapping and the final research project, a scalar book that presented research on both migrations.  Students were divided into groups with students from each campus based on their research interests, so that students could build connections with one another over the course of the semester to strengthen the collaboration necessary for the two join projects and to supplement the more limited contact via the full-class video conferences.   All students posted all work research assignments and posted these to a wiki that formed an informal archive of sources that all students could make use of as they worked on their final project.