NEH Digital Humanities Workshop


Last week, I participated in a digital humanities workshop put together by my colleagues at NCCU Dr. Rachelle Gold and Dr. Kathryn Wymer and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Two PhD students from Duke, Pratishta Bhattarai and Warren Lattimore, conducted trainings during the five day workshop. We were schooled on how to use software like Voyant and Storymaps along with digitized historical NCCU documents to make the english classroom more interactive. I ran an interview conducted by an NCCU student with Maya Angelou through Voyant and compared it with an interview conducted by Oprah. Voyant finds the most commonly used words, sentence length, vocabulary density, and other analytical data within text documents. What you end up with is called a corpus. My corpus is below: 

Another part of the workshop was visiting the archive in the NCCU library. There were so many treasures here which archivist and historian Andre Vann walked us through. Some of them included a menu from the early 20th century which NCCU students could use to order food. There was also an architectural model of the NC Mutual building which I grew up going to because my dad's business was on the top floor. One of the workshop attendees, Anne McCarthy, found her master's thesis within the annals. I also spotted an original copy of a newspaper article detailing John Brown's hanging after the raid at Harper's Ferry.

I'm working on a new novel project this summer based on my NYU thesis film. I was somewhat hesitant to step away from writing to commit 40 hours to this workshop. But I learned a lot in the end and got to meet my wonderful colleagues who, for the past two years, I've only had brief interactions with in the hallways. I was also able to write during lunch breaks and after the workshop on most days, except for at the end when I was a little tired. But I caught up over the weekend! And I'm going to get paid! It was totally worth it! Thanks Rachelle for the invite to participate in the workshop. I'm starting to feel like a bonafide scholar.