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Spaces of a Hilltop: A Case Study A Case Study of Community / Academic Interaction Aaron Knochel and Dickie Selfe In an upcoming article in Kairos, Aaron and I describe a two-year project in the Hilltop area of Columbus, Ohio. This case study documents an ongoing digital storytelling project located in the Hilltop community of Columbus, Ohio. Inevitably, in projects like this, a productive tension develops between academic institutions and local communities. We describe an approach or heuristic that attempts to address that tension over time. Our goal is to better understand ethical and effective practices of engaging community members in digital storytelling. In order to do this we attend to two sources: first and foremost the community members themselves and, secondly, a series of social theorists who helped us develop a theoretical framework from which to act. Our current draft of the article, a visual interface, and many community videos can be found at http://artisteducator.net/kairos/index.html Contact: Dickie Selfe @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Center for Service Learning and Community-Based Research Laurie Grobman’s extensive work with community publishing has led to the creation of the Center for Service Learning and Community-Based Research and, most recently, a new journal for (Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research). Various projects: Jewish Reading and Berks, a photographic history of Berks County’s Jewish community, was published by Arcadia Publishing for the “Images in America Series.” The book was produced by 12 students in my Spring 2011 upper-level interdisciplinary course. The book is available at http://www.arcadiapublishing.com/9780738576008/Jewish-Readingand-Berks-County. Proceeds to benefit Jewish Federation of Reading and the Laboratory for Public Scholarship and Democracy at Penn State Berks. More than 25 students at Penn State Berks partnered with the Jewish Cultural Center/Jewish Federation of Reading and with hundreds of members of the local Jewish community to document and preserve some of the community’s history. The collaboration between classes and the public resulted in a 150+ page printed book titled A History of the Jewish Community in Reading and Berks County. Two classes of students wrote articles or other features in the book. Students from American Studies, Communication Arts and Sciences, Global Studies and Professional Writing took an
interdisciplinary upper-level course that focused on the writing of local Jewish histories. In addition, six students in English 202H, Honors Writing in the Humanities, wrote life histories of Holocaust survivors with connections to Berks by watching several videotapes of survivors housed at the Albright College Library in Reading. This course helped students understand the context and meaning of testimonies by examining the Holocaust through several humanities perspectives including history, oral history, museum studies, literature, and film. The book was funded by the Howard O. and Jean Beaver Endowment for Community Service with some support from the Jewish Federation of Reading. 11 students in English 471, Rhetorical Traditions, Spring 2010 completed four 10-15minute documentaries of local African American history. The topics, decided upon by Frank Gilyard of the Central Pennsylvania African American Museum in Reading, include 1) the Reading and Berks former stops on the Underground Railroad; 2) African American military veterans and personnel from Berks, and 3) the Central Pennsylvania African American Museum in Reading, and 4) African American women in Berks. Each documentary is narrated by a member of the local African American community. The films were presented to the college and invited community members in December 2010. The films are now housed at the Central Pennsylvania African American Museum and should soon be available on the museum’s website. Working in partnership with Centro Hispano, 18 students interpreted, documented, and preserved the histories of the local Latino community(ies). The 132-page book, Hispanics/Latinos in Reading and Berks: A Portrait of a Community was printed with funding from The Howard O. and Jean Beaver Endowment for Community Service and Penn State Berks and is being distributed throughout Berks County. The articles in the books, all written by students, include the following topics: Art and Artists, Community Activism, Criminal Justice System, Cultural Traditions, Discrimination, Education, Entrepreneurship, Founding Families, Health and Medicine, Immigration, Labor, Language Issues/Literacy, Military Service, Music, Politics, Relations between Latino groups, Religion, Seniors and Aging, Sports, and Women. The book was unveiled at the Hispanic Center Annual Gala in May 2010. Three student writers attended the gala and were recognized for their work, and they were thrilled to have their photo taken with the late State Senator Michael O’Pake. In English 15, Rhetoric and Composition and English 135, Alternative Voices in American Literature in 2009, students wrote life history narratives of 16 Latino/a community members from Reading and Berks. 1500 copies of the 42-page booklet, Hispanic Histories in Reading and Berks: A Glimpse into the Community, were distributed throughout Reading and Berks by Centro Hispano Daniel Torres, Inc. of Reading and Berks. In two general education classes in 2007-08, students conducted and wrote life narratives of African American Berks residents. The Future’s Past: Life Narratives of Seventeen African American Residents of Berks County, PA, a 50-page booklet, was distributed at the local NAACP annual banquet on November 14, 2008. Working in partnership with the Reading branch of the NAACP, students wrote a 126page volume of short essays and compilations of facts called Woven with Words: A Collection of African American History in Berks County, Pennsylvania and a corresponding website (<http://www.readingnaacp.org/book.html>). A panel with three
students in the project presented their research at the 2006 Annual Pennsylvania Conference on African American History, and two articles by students in the project were published in The Berks Historical Review, the quarterly magazine of the Historical Society of Berks County. For additional information, see http://www.bk.psu.edu/Academics/31728.htm Contact: Laurie Grobman @ email@example.com
Converging Literacies Center (CLiC) Shannon Carter has developed a variety of relevant, locally-driven projects through CLiC, a research initiative designed to study and support the literate lives of local citizens and students. Thus far, CLiC has helped develop an extensive repository of oral histories and archival materials the region’s historically underrepresented groups. Primary focus has been rhetorical constructions of race and racism in region, especially with respect to local resistance and activist rhetoric in the last half of the previous century. Concrete examples of relevant projects emerging from this and related work include the following: In 2011, CLiC produced its first documentary (“The Other Side of the Tracks”), which was selected for screening at both the Dallas Black Film Festival (February 2011) and the San Diego Black Film Festival (2012). In 2011-2012, CLiC was awarded an NEH ODH grant for Remixing Rural Texas, a digital humanities project featuring critical race narratives emerging from Carter’s research on race and racism in region.
The mission of the Converging Literacies Center (CLiC) is to promote a better understanding of how texts and related literacy practices may develop, sustain, or even erode civic engagement across local publics, especially among historically underrepresented groups and across rural, southern, working-class contexts like the region in which Texas A&M-Commerce is situated. Current initiatives engaging university-community partnerships include Writing Democracy Across Northeast Texas, an interdisciplinary and multi-year study providing research and creative opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in collaboration with faculty, local advocacy groups, libraries, museums, and historical associations. Concrete results of CLiC's Writing Democracy Across Northeast Texas initiative include the projects described above and outlined further in the CLiC White Paper. CLiC provides research and creative opportunities for faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students across the disciplines, largely through projects that support and engage the surrounding community in public scholarship. CLiC graduate students have worked with CLiC faculty to leverage existing campus resources to support research and relevant outreach. See CLiC White Paper @ http://convergingliteraciescenter.wordpress.com/about-clic/
Contact: Shannon Carter @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Pathways to Freedom In Fall 2011 LIU Brooklyn and two other nearby colleges started a three-year project with the Brooklyn Historical Society through a Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) grant. With the aim of improving academic persistence and success, the collaborative project, Students and Faculty in the Archives: History Museums, Colleges, and Critical Thinking (SAFA), invites entering college students to conduct primary research in underutilized Society archives that chronicle Long Island and Brooklyn history back to the 17th century. At LIU Brooklyn, the project dovetails with a new learning community initiative that will annually involve 60 entering students in first-year-composition, a required interdisciplinary course called Core Seminar, and a year-long-History survey in a themed cohort called “Pathways to Freedom.” Students learn about 18th century slavery in Brooklyn, 19th century struggles for freedom, and ongoing 20th century struggles to complete the unfinished revolution of the Reconstruction era. After inventing a fictional oral history in the first semester based on research on 18th and 19th century archival records of slavery and the struggle to abolish it, students go on in the second semester to investigate the Jim Crow era and the Great Migration as the basis for a culminating project in which they will conduct oral histories of Brooklyn civil rights activists. Through this project, we have initiated the Brooklyn Civil Rights oral history collection. Twelve interviews are scheduled in spring 2012, with a goal at the end of three years of a total of 40-45, all of which will be deposited in the Brooklyn Historical Society oral history collection and in the LIU Library. If funded, we will also develop a mobile application that will map the oral histories in time and space using remix and GIS mapping technologies along with QR codes, augmented reality, and crowd sourcing. Oral history narrators in spring 2012 include Ahmed Abdullah (Musician), Dorothy Burnham (Southern Negro Youth Congress; lifelong peace and civil rights activist), Gene Glickman (Long Island CORE, Musician), Yvonne Harmon (Brooklyn CORE), Yvonne Hilton (SNCC), Esther Cooper Jackson (Southern Negro Youth Congress; editor, Freedomways Quarterly), Phyllis James (Lutheran Minister), Rioghan Kirchner (Brooklyn CORE), Muriel Tillinghast (SNCC), Eleanor Stein (Brooklyn CORE, SDS), Bob Thomason (Prospect Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association), and Jitu Weusi (Brooklyn CORE, Black United Front, The East). Contact: Deborah Mutnick @ email@example.com Collaborating with the Self-Advocacy Network of New York In Spring 2011, I taught my third undergraduate service-learning course in the Writing Program at Syracuse University (Advanced Professional Writing) where students collaborated with the Self-Advocacy Network of Central New York on the production of advocacy letters, speeches, organizational reports, grants, a website/blog, a newsletter, and a public service announcement. The Self-Advocacy Network of Central New York, founded in 1986, is “a group organized by
people with disabilities to keep the rights we have worked so hard to obtain and to continue striving for more...” (http://thechp.syr.edu/sacny.htm). The group (comprised of people with the medical diagnoses of traumatic brain injury, autism, developmental disability; cerebral palsy, blindness etc.), first and foremost, values speaking up for oneself; the Network values oral and written competency; it “works for and by the people" to construct positive encounters within numerous communities, and to “end discrimination against people who happen to have disabilities.” The action of the Network is accomplished through active participation: letter-writing campaigns, strategic physical and verbal encounters, monthly group meetings, conferences, political engagement in Albany and elsewhere, protests, meetings with policy-makers, volunteering, fundraising for others, and other forms of advocacy for self and other. Contact: Zosha Stuckey @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Red Dirt Women: A Video/Oral History of Activists in Oklahoma’s Campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment The purpose of this project is to document the history of the campaign to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in Oklahoma, 1972-1982. The first stage of the project is to conduct oral/video histories of participants. These will be transcribed and archived in the Western History Collection at the University of Oklahoma and the Women’s Studies Library at the University of Oklahoma for use by scholars, students and the public. Of course, participants can limit access to all or parts of the interviews either in video or transcript form. The second stage of the project, will be to seek publication of selected interviews, edited by Dr. Skeeters of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at the University of Oklahoma. This history is a significant part of the history of the United States and Oklahoma, of women, and especially of the modern women’s movement in the U.S. and Oklahoma. The hypothesis is that while Oklahoma is often viewed as a very conservative state, the women’s movement was vibrant and engaged women from across the state in a grassroots ERA campaign. Interviews with participants will not only supplement archival knowledge but contribute new information. Skeeters, Martha C. University of Oklahoma, History/ Women’s and Gender Studies Veterans Corner, a nonprofit organization in Goldsby, Oklahoma Veterans Corner, a nonprofit organization in Goldsby, Oklahoma, assists military veterans with their disability claims. The volunteers help vets fill out forms and navigate the VA system. Dale Graham, who founded Veterans Corner, felt that the stories volunteers were
hearing should be shared with a wider audience, so a volunteer (Kami Day) has been interviewing veterans and transcribing the interviews, and this year the stories will be compiled as Stories from Veterans Corner. It will include narratives from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the war in Afghanistan. It will also include stories from those who served in peacetime and from the partners (all wives so far) of veterans.
The University of New Mexico Writing Across Communities Initiative: The University of New Mexico Writing Across Communities Initiative centers around educational principles and cultural practices that promote the generative (creative and lifesustaining) ecological relationships of language and literacy to the maintenance and wellbeing of human communities. We seek to guide curriculum development, stimulate resource sharing, cultivate networking, and promote research in language practices and literacy education throughout the state (and nation) to support local departments, colleges, and universities working to serve the vulnerable communities within their spheres of influence. For more info on UNM's Writing Across Communities Initiative - past, present and future - visit us at http://www.unm.edu/~wac/. Contact: Brian Henderson @ email@example.com The Albuquerque Community Writing Center: The Albuquerque Community Writing Center (ABQCWC), a UNM Writing Across Communities initiative, is a writing center without walls, a mobile drop-in service for all members of the Albuquerque community. A hybrid entity, ABQCWC combines the concept of the academically-situated writing center with the tactical efficacy and organic fluidity of a community-centered nonprofit organization. ABQCWC’s mission is to provide self-motivated people of all abilities, educational backgrounds, socio-economic standing and professional affiliation with the tools, training and encouragement they require to fulfill their practical, civic, personal and social needs through writing. For more info on the ABQCWC, visit us at http://abqcwc.wordpress.com/. Contact: Brian Henderson @ firstname.lastname@example.org