From its inception, Africana/Black Studies have undertaken the question of space and African people’s ability to traverse and negotiate their right to occupy spaces in Western societies. Historically, Black bodies have been viewed as devaluing public space. Indeed, both geographic and social spatial differentiation has been predicated on racial difference in societies dominated by Western values.
In geopolitical terms, Africana/Black Studies scholars have studied everyday mobilities, which include the flow of people, networks, objects, and ideas backward and forward across the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, space in Africana/Black Studies is less static; mobility must be considered as central to inquiries into the relationship between African descended-communities in the Diaspora and on the African continent. Black peoples’ ability, then, to move across space is a cornerstone for understanding their complex social locations and conditions.
This course is dedicated to making participants conversant in spatial humanities and will focus on what it can specifically tell us about Blackness and space. To this end, it is intended to provide participants with the capacity to work with technical and domain experts on spatial humanities projects within Africana/Black Studies and other related fields.
The participants will examine and consider spatial theory, methods and technologies, which will answer two central research questions:
- What interstices do spatial humanities fill in Africana/Black Studies?
- What spatial theories best capture the relationship between Blackness and space in Africana Studies and how might they be visualized through spatial technologies?
The course will also show participants how three-dimensional mapping and graphical rendering of statistical and demographic data can produce innovative, analytical means for examining both Black history and culture as well as providing depth and perspective to scholars’ teaching.
This course has three main objectives:
- To teach participants how to think spatially and develop visual literacies through the category of Blackness and transnational lenses.
- To teach participants to understand and critique geospatial technologies
- To introduce participants to technological tools that can aid them in developing, evaluating and contributing to Black spatial humanities projects.
In sum, the course is an effort to prepare participants working in a variety of disciplines to develop spatial narratives and maps, which consider the intersections between Blackness, space and representation.
A note from your instructor:
Welcome to Black Spatial Humanities!
This course is dedicated to introducing participants to the spatial humanities and will focus on what they can specifically tell us about the relationship between blackness, place and space. To this end, the course is intended to provide participants with the capacity to work with technical and domain experts on spatial humanities projects within Africana/Black Studies and other related fields.
The morning sessions of the course will be devoted to discussions on the theoretical, historical and practical relationships between blackness, place and space. The afternoon sessions will focus on exploring digital tools and technologies that will help you get started on visualizing spatial data.
Because this is a 4-day course, the class will be quick and may feel a bit overwhelming. I have set up a Canvas site to make the course easier to navigate. You will receive an invitation to join it on May 30th. When you are able to access the Canvas site, please spend some time reviewing the modules and resources prior to our first meeting on Monday, June 3rd. The readings and videos I have posted in each module are not required. However, I do recommend that you skim the readings and view the videos prior to the designated session as I will use them to guide activities and discussions.
Finally, please bring a laptop with you to the course. The course will be held in 1116 University Library, which does not include desktop computers.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.