About the Institute

Studies in the digital humanities often assume and/or reinforce certain universal frameworks and biases. However, Black cultural practices demonstrate unique epistemologies regarding the digital. Recently, scholars have written extensively on digital hush harbors, Black Twitter, and hashtag activism like #MuteRKelly, #BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName. How do we define and implement digital Africana Studies demonstrative of the unique black context for digital usage? This Digital Humanities institute offers (1) an introduction to the history of Digital Africana Studies, (2) hands-on-tools for achieving your own digital humanities project in an online community setting, and (3) helpful examples and resources of ongoing work by other scholars. This free three-week online workshop is aimed at creating a collaborative space for digital africana humanities professionals. Selected participants will be invited to submit a journal article describing their completed DHi project as part of a special issue of Fire!!!, the Digital Humanities Journal for the Association for the Study of African American History and Life. 

Call for Applications


Africana DHi is a three week online workshop to be held from May 28- June 11, 2019 in association with the Center for Digital Humanities at the University of Arizona. During the DHi, which is supported by an National Endowment for the Humanities Institutes in Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities grant and the CUNY Graduate Center Digital Humanities Research Initiative, participants will explore interdisciplinary, digital humanities research and teaching with DH scholars, develop core computational research skills through online workshops, and begin developing their own digital humanities projects. When participants complete the workshop they will become part of a growing network of distributed digital humanities research institutes, and their reflections will inform the publication of the Spring 2020 Special Issue of Fire!!!,the peer-reviewed digital journal for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).

Short courses—or “bootcamps”—that last anywhere from one day to two months are an increasingly popular way to offer intensive training in digital tools and skills over a short period of time; however, these courses are resource-intensive to run, require travel and financial support, and are rarely focused on Africana-centered approaches to the digital humanities. Africana DHi joins the growing list of conferences and summer bootcamps designed specifically for teaching methods and digital tools for the study of African Diaspora  histories, cultures, and people. 


Our DHi welcomes technical newbies and longtime digital roadrunners. In the first week the program focuses on exposure to foundational digital research skills and situates such skills in the history of Digital Africana Studies. Through our reading list we ask participates to consider an approach to digital use and the study of black bodies in the digital centered on historical patterns of technology use among African diasporic peoples.  

Our format is flexible, allowing particpants with advanced skills to focus on skill building in data tools in the second week. We provide an introduction to command line and html in the later half of the first week. Yet, our primary focus will be on examining several existing projects and data tools useful in moving participants through the process of collecting, cleaning, and structuring humanities data and sources and finding appropriate tools and platforms to analyze, visualize, share, and publish the data and analysis. 

Prerequisite Skills

We believe that all participants are experts in something, but none are experts in all areas. 

By fostering a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment where humanities research questions, methods, and values are most significant, we work to build a cooperative learning experience. We will use the Slack.com platform to communicate and share, and will focus on building a project using easy-to-access tools like Story Maps, Knight Lab tools, Google Maps.

We seek participants who are post-secondary researchers, professors, independent scholars, library or museum professionals. Applications that propose a specific project will receive first consideration. The workshop will include lessons and materials available on this website, but we will also rely upon each other to share information, skills and knowledge. 

The ultimate goal of Africana DHi is to foster a network of practice in which participants build expertise as they work on their project and through their interactions with each other.  Participants who complete the 3-week program will feel more confident in their knowledge of specific digital skills and in working with developers in defining and developing digital-based projects. 


Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Commitment to fully participating in the three-week digital humanities institute and providing feedback to other participates;
  • Demonstrated interest in and responsibility to Africana-centered “digital humanities community building” (This can be through a regional digital humanities group as a volunteer, as a post-doc in a university library, a visiting scholar at a liberal arts college, a faculty member creating a DH reading group, a curator or archivist at a historical society, library, or other humanities-oriented organization. Position title is not important. What is important is your ability to explain your responsibility or interest in building communities of DH practice in Africana Studies.);
  • An articulation of a digital humanities project idea that you find interesting and would like to pursue or have already begun;
  • An explanation of how you confront and overcome technical difficulties you have experienced in the past.

We are looking for participants who represent diverse DH areas of interest (disciplines, methods, project-types), who work at a wide range of institutional types (universities, community colleges, libraries, archives, museums, historical associations), and who reflect an array of professional roles from graduate students to experienced faculty to librarians, administrators, museum curators, archivists, and more. An interests in Africana-centered digital humanities work is necessary. Ideal participants will be able to demonstrate strong communication and collaboration skills and a willingness to confront and overcome frustration. No previous technical experience is required. Applications will not be evaluated based on familiarity with existing technologies, though we are happy to hear about your aspirations and the skills you would like to develop for future work.

Applications must be received by April 26, 2019. Applicants will be informed of their acceptance by May 6, 2019. 

More information and application materials can be found here:http:/africanadhi.com or by contacting the Institute Organizer, Erika Gault at support@africanadhi.com

The Institute is supported by the Center for Digital Humanities at the University of Arizona, the Africana Studies Program in the College of Humanities at the University of Arizona, the Digital Humanities Research Initiative, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.