Digital Project: Mapping Queer History

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to see what everyone accomplished with their projects and papers this semester!

For my finished digital project, I continued pinning events in queer history up through 2019. You can see my project with the rest of the pins here. I hope whoever decides to look through it has fun and learns something!

Conference Poster

My project didn’t really have a question or an argument, so I’ve compiled important events to show how queer rights and representation have developed over time.

Project Statement:

My project is a digital map of queer events since 1903. 1903 was the Ariston Bathhouse Raid in New York City, and in a way symbolizes the start of the queer power struggle in the industrialized United States. Since this event, the LGBTQ+ community has faced violence, numerous police raids, political and cultural marginalization, and prejudice in every aspect of their lives. However, the queer community has always remained resiliant, resourceful, and optimistic. Every tragedy and hardship this community has faced over the last 100+ years has pushed them to fight for representation, equality, and freedom to express themselves. Queer people have expressed themselves through organizations, magazines, novels, art, protest, and political action to gain recognition for what they have been put through and what they want out of living in America. It is only because of the passion and the sacrifice of this community that we have seen so many strides in gay rights and representation since that night in 1903. However, we still have a very long way to go, as is seen in recent developments in transgender representation and conversely spikes in anti-trans violence. 

It is essential that this is a digital project because I want those viewing it to be able to use the map I made as a launch pad into their own research. I tried to highlight all of the most important events that showcase how and why we are where we are in the development of gay rights and representation, but also give those who don’t know very much about queer history a frame of reference. By linking to the sources I used to write my blurbs about these events, I hope to encourage viewers to click and read more about the events that interest them the most. I also hope to have conveyed positive and negative aspects of this history to show that it isn’t all one way, and that struggles and strides exist in tandem. 

The target audience for those viewing my project are people coming into their queer identity and wanting to learn more about our history. It’s important to recognize where everything we have comes from. My generation didn’t live through the AIDS crisis or the Stonewall Riots. As we continue to strengthen and celebrate LGBTQ+ culture and achievement, we have to understand who came before us that made that possible. We also have to understand that although there have been major strides in the journey toward equality, there is still bigotry and violence. The fight isn’t over yet, and I hope my project exemplifies how willing queer people are to fight for their rights.  


This project has been incredibly informative and rewarding. This topic is something I’ve been very passionate about since I started to get more comfortable with my indentity as a queer woman. This project was specifically inspired by one of my close friends from home who told me that she didn’t even know where to start to get connected with her roots as a budding member of the LGBTQ+ community. I gave her some shows to watch like Rupaul’s Drag Race and Pose on FX, and told her some of the things I already knew about queer history like the Stonewall Riots, but realized I didn’t know very much either. When we learned about digital mapping projects in this class, I was very excited to use that as my platform for documenting queer history in an easily digestible and user friendly way, meant for those just starting to dip their toes in. I wanted to create something that would easily give young LBGTQ+ people a crash course in queer history in the United States and thus help them find out more about themselves. 

This project was challenging in that it was new to me. I’ve never created anything like this before and I definitely underestimated the amount of work that would need to go into creating a map with 35 pins on it. I originally intended to only do 10-15 pins on the map, but as I began to work off the timeline I found on wikipedia, There were too many important dates that I felt really needed to be included. I also would have really liked to make a more interactive map that took you through the points in chronological order, but I didn’t end up finding the ESRI Story Map Journal that allows you to do that until about ⅔ of completing the project with regular StoryMaps. I think this would have really enhanced the project, but as a work in progress, I’m happy with what I ended up completing. 

Overall, I hope that this project is informative and inspires people to find out more about the history of those with their identity, whatever that identity may be. Queer history doesn’t get a lot of attention in traditional history curriculim, but it is a rich and important part of how the world we live in today came to be. I love that I was able to use images to enhance the description of each pin, as art has always been an integral part of LBGTQ+ expression and experience. I hope everyone enjoys and has fun exploring my digital project!

Work Cited

My work cited is incredibly long, so I’ve linked to a google doc that anyone can view. Most of my sources are available to click on and read more about within the description of each pin on the map, but I’ve cited both those and my sources for all of the photos I used in this google doc.

Using Digital Tools to Enhance Scholarship

Hi all! In this post I’ll be discussing both The Programming Historian and Scalar. Starting with Programming Historian, when following the link provided in the syllabus, the website offers their services in English, Spanish, and French. Although the most lessons are offered in English, it’s still really cool that this service is more accessible to multiple demographics. I clicked on the English option and was brought to a page that looks like this:

The Programming Historian offers dozens of lessons for humanists to get comfortable with using digital tools for their research and project development. Not only do they encourage users to view the tutorials to expand their own knowledge and ability, but they also suggest using their service in the classroom, and crowdsource for contributions.

On the “about” page, it states that the project was originally founded in 2008 as a “Network in Canadian History & Environment (NiCHE) ‘Digital Infrastructure’ project.” Twelve years later, they are now a volunteer-driven nonprofit that is committed to rigorous peer review, open source and open access materials, and diversity.

Now getting into the actual service they offer, the lesson search page sorts the lessons by both action and topic.

I chose a low difficulty lesson to try out, entitled “Beginner’s Guide to Twitter Data”. This tutorial uses a freely accessible website from George Washington University that offers hundreds of datasets of tweets, and tells users how to use this website to filter for relevant datasets, and how to download and “hydrate” you dataset. The article then walks through how to analyze the metadata, and how to link the data in Microsoft excel. This last step is thoroughly hashed our using screenshots the process and detailed descriptions. Once they’ve finished explaining how to acquire and download the data, they offer suggestions of uses and application for the data, including a few websites that allow you to create visualizations of data sets.

At the end of each article, they give information about the author(s) and a suggested citation. They encourage the authors to share their work on other platforms, and for readers to share the articles as long as they use the proper citation.

For those who wish to contribute to Programming Historian, there are a variety of instructive articles for how to contribute in different ways, including authoring a new article, reviewing, translating, and editing. These can all be found under the “contribute” tab.

Finally, Programming Historian also offers a blog where they share periodic updates about the project. The blog is also translated into both Spanish and French. Their first newsletter of the year, published on April 1st, talks about how COVID-19 is slowing their work, new members of PH, and new contributors.

This service could be useful to digital humanists at a variety of skill levels and interests. To anyone developing research or digital history projects, Programming Historian may be a great place to explore new skills and services to use to expand and express your ideas. Another website that serves to help scholars express their ideas and research in new and exciting ways is Scalar. According to their website, “Scalar is a free, open source authoring and publishing platform that’s designed to make it easy for authors to write long-form, born-digital scholarship online.” This website offers a space for scholars to develop and publish work that includes a variety of media platforms and interactive interfaces that allow for non-linear viewing. The youtube video featured on the homepage of Scalar offers a comprehensive walk through of their services and mission, and how Scalar offers a unique platform for scholarly work.

The website itself, run by the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, is primarily an informational resource for those interested in authoring something with Scalar. On the about tab of the Scalar section of the website, they mostly walk through all of the different services offered to users. There is also a showcase tab where the feature a few of the projects that have been published with Scalar.

They also offer webinars, both for beginning users and intermediate users of the platform, although there aren’t any coming up. Under the “Get Involved” tab, there are options to share feedback, look into hosting your own workshop, and to join the Scalar team. I tried to select the “join” option to see if I could check out what the actual platform looks like, but unfortunately you need to fill out an additional form to acquire a registration key from the Scalar team. I suppose it makes sense to have some sort of vetting considering the service is for scholarly work.

Overall, both of these services seem extremely useful to those looking expand or create comprehensive and professional digital projects. For students, I think that Programming Historian would be more useful, as it is open access and provides low or no cost resources for achieving complicated digital analysis. Scalar may come in handy down the line for people who are interested in publishing scholarship in an interactive, multimedia platform. Either way, these are both interesting, interactive tools to help bring the humanities online in a user friendly and engaging way. Do any of you think you’ll use this in the future? Could you see any of the articles on Programming Historian helping you in your digital projects for this class or expanding them in the future? What sort of benefits do you see to having a non-linear, interacting platform for scholarly work? I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys think!

Rough Draft: Mapping Queer History

Hi all! I’ve published a rough draft of my mapping project, which should be available to view here. It seems that when you follow that link, it brings you to the most recent pin I’ve put on the map, which is the most recent event in 1990. If you zoom out, you’ll be able to see all 22 pins on the map. I’ve documented events that stood out to me from a timeline I got on wikipedia, and each description on the map leads to a website where I did further research on that event. The descriptions are pretty brief overviews of the event, and I’ve included a picture in as many as possible to make it more visually engaging. The pins are in chronological order from 1903 to 1990 (with the rest up to 2020 coming soon), but I haven’t quite figured out if there is a way to play through the pins so that you are experiencing them with the intended chronology.

Below, I’ve included a screenshot of the full map so far. At first glance, it seems like there aren’t many pins on the map, but this is because many of the major events in queer history happened in the same places. San Francisco, New York City, and surprisingly Washington, D.C. are the places with the most action. If you zoom in, you can see that there are pins throughout those cities. I’ve tried to put the pins not only in the city where the event happened, but in the specific location or general area/neighborhood where the event took place. For example, I’ve put Harvey Milk election and assassination on Castro Street in San Francisco because that is where his camera shop was located. For the first pride parade in New York City, I’ve pinned it in Central Park because they help a “gay-in” there after the parade. I’ve also located landmark court cases at the Supreme Court.

My map of queer history so far.

Besides getting my map up to date, moving toward the final product I want to try to make this more engaging. I like the way the descriptions are coming out, but I’d like to see if I can make the whole experience more colorful and inviting. It’s all a bit drab at this point. If anyone has any helpful pointers on StoryMaps, I would really appreciate it!

This is the description for the first lesbian club, Mona’s 440 Club.

Overall, I’m pretty content with how it’s turning out, and I’m learning a ton along the way. I hope my project can help others learn more about queer history as well! I’m excited to see what you guys think!

Who Wants to Be a Cotton Millionaire?

Don’t we all!

This game from the BBC follows an ambitious business man seeking to make millions by getting into the cotton game in the late 18th century. Although “spinning yarn from raw cotton had been mechanized and brought into water-powered factories…weaving the yarn into cloth remained a ‘domestic’ industry.” Our business man wants to get in on the ground level and start bringing cloth making into the factory. Throughout the game, you help Mr. Business man making decisions on how to establish and operate his factory. The four things you need to help him decide are:

-Where to locate
-Who to employ
-What power to use
-What future investment to make

My first time through did not go very well. The first decision was whether to stay close to home and pursue business in Cumbria, or move closer to the ports in Lancashire. They seemed to have similar advantages, so I thought we should stay close to home. This was the wrong choice, and I lost two bags of money.

The next choice was who to chose for the workforce. Given my knowledge of child labor traveling effortlessly into the 20th century, I figured women and children were the best option.

Next, I was tasked to choose which type of power to pursue in the factory. The options are homeworkers, water, or steam. I figured since everyone else is having a good time with water power, it would be the best option. Again, I was wrong, as all of the good spots on the river were taken and steam really is the wave of the future.

The final choice was whether to invest in better machinery or better working conditions. Since this biz is all about profits, I decided to invest in new machinery. People won’t start asking for decent working conditions for another couple hundred years, so why invest in it? Unfortunately, I was not poised to make this decision thanks to a dreadful lack of savings based on my previous bad decisions.

Alas, I’ve gone bankrupt and ended up in debtor’s prison. There’s no turning things around either, as this is apparently the end of the game. However, with new found knowledge of what needs to be done to become a cotton millionaire, I tried again.

First, I chose Lancashire to be closer to Manchester and other busy ports.

My wealth increased by one money stack.

Then, I once again chose women and children to employ because they are cheap and flexible. To power the mill, I chose fabulous new steam power.

I chose to invest in better machinery again, as better working conditions don’t matter right now. Thankfully, all of my decisions this time around got the factory ready for cotton “boom time”.

After being congratulated on a job well done, we are given a moral dilemma to ponder. “How long will you be able to leave the people filthy whilst you grow fat?” We are also offered an exciting opportunity to learn more about the challenges of industrialization by playing “Muck and Brass”.

Overall, this game is very simple and not particularly informational. There are truly four things you need to do and you either end up in debtors’ prison or are made to feel guilty for doing well. Also, the correct choices are given to you after you mess a step up, so there’s no reason to play this more than twice. I’m not sure what age group this would be good for, but I imagine an elementary social studies class could get some use out of it. I’m curious to see what people think would be the best use for this, or how it could possibly be made more in depth.

Thanks for reading! I hope everyone is happy and healthy!

BLM, Social Media, and Hypertext

(Disclaimer: Sorry this is late!)

In his article, Expanding #ArchivesForBlackLives to Traditional Archival Repositories, Jarrett M. Drake explains the brief history of a community archive, A People’s Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland. This was executed in 2015 in Cleveland by volunteer professional archivists working with Puncture the Silence, and was intended to document and disseminate the stories of people who had been impacted by or witnessed police violence in Cleveland. Given the widespread police presence in Cleveland and recent acquittal of Michael Brelo in 2015, a police officer involved in the shooting death of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, creating this archive was necessary and important. However, this project highlighted brought up the question of whether larger, established libraries and archives should cover police brutality, and more importantly, the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Drake had previously made the argument that traditional archives and libraries should avoid documenting Black Lives Matter altogether for fear of all the ways it could go wrong. But knowing that this was likely unrealistic, he instead gave guidelines for how to do this correctly. He lists two steps libraries and archives have to take to responsibly document Black Lives Matter.

First, they must “confront their complicity in upholding patriarchy, white supremacy, and other structural inequalities.” Drake explains how rooted these spaces are in patriarchal white supremacy, and how their location and language are indicative of this. Archives are typically found on private college campuses, open Monday through Friday during regular business hours, and require you to leave you things at the front desk and go read in a surveilled room. Aside from being physically inaccessible to many, the additional barriers within the space disinvite certain people from coming in and participating. Additionally, these spaces have likely done very little in the past to support black voices, thus making any efforts now seem disingenuous. It is important for libraries and archives to denounce the practices of the past and abolish anything still supporting a system of oppression.

Second, they must “build trust with the people, communities, and organizations around whose lives the movement is centered, a trust they should pursue not under the guise of collection development but under the practice of allyship.” If libraries and archives choose to do exhibits or add materials from this movement, they must consult those from the movement on how best to honor them. It is irresponsible to add to your collection only to expand it and appear to be involved. There has to be genuine interest in telling these stories correctly and collaborating with those impact in order to do so.

Overall, Drake would rather white librarians not try to tell these stories because of all of the opportunities for them to go wrong, but if they do it has to be earnestly and with the help of those leading the movement. As a traditionally white, exclusive space, libraries and archives have to work even harder to document Black Lives Matter correctly and with integrity, which will only happen through collaboration, respect, and listening.

In another article about documenting black movements, Bergis Jules discusses the uses for archiving social media documentation of movements like the Ferguson protests in 2014 and 2015. Although there is history on many black rebellions against police violence and brutality, there isn’t a lot of primary source material from the community that was impacted. It’s hard to find many websites or sources that have first hand accounts or many photographs, especially the further back you get. There is also very little in the way of regular people’s reactions to these events, and the aftermath they caused in communities.

Twitter and other social media platforms offer a unique opportunity to disseminate information, reactions, and photographs easier than ever before. In real time, people can tell the world what’s happening, how they’re feeling, and what it all looks like. The Ferguson protests gained much of their traction because of their ability to reach out to wide networks of organizers to keep the momentum going. The internet has also been one of the biggest mediums of the Black Lives Matter movement to plan events and share their message. Without this, it likely wouldn’t be possible for these movements to gain so much traction and make such an important impact.

There is a bit of caveat to actually setting up digital archives of online documentation because of privacy and working with private companies like twitter to get permission. Despite collecting over 13 million tweets about Ferguson, Jules and his colleague are unable to share them, according to the article. But it is important to work towards finding an ethical way to showcase this digital documentation because it makes the storytelling of an event so much richer, and actually opens people’s eyes to what was happening to those on the front lines.

Now shifting gears, I’m going to discuss Jerome McGann’s article on The Rationale of Hypertext. This article was fairly dense and full of jargon that made it difficult for me to read, but the main idea that I took away from it is that traditional forms of literary analysis and republishing are now going to be happening on the internet, and it will actually make this work far better and easier to produce. Many pieces that have been turned into critical or facsimile editions have not been able to properly incorporate all mediums or perspectives of that piece. The visual and audial components of pieces of music, plays, and even poetry are integral parts of the experience, but traditional codex’s fail to include them properly if at all because of the limitations of book format. Thus, the ability of hypertext to connect and imbed these different components creates a much richer experience for the viewer/reader and allows critical commentary to be included as well.

From the tone of the article, it seems that many people were skeptical about digitizing these works at the time. But as technology has gotten better and hypertext has developed, it’s possible to transcribe all of these works online and make the interaction much better for the audience. McGann gives a few examples of this possibility, including Emily Dickinson’s poems that often included a stamp or other visual component that influences the meaning of the poem. Having this visual available as opposed to simply printing the text of the poem in a book can give the reader a better perspective on the meaning and stay truer to the original form. He also mentions Robert Burns’ ballad “Tam Glen” and how having either just the text of the piece or just someones rendition of the song aren’t necessarily sufficient in expressing the totality of the piece.

McGann believes that hypertext and hyperediting are the future of literary analysis. Being able to include all components of a text and critical analysis, all through hyperlinks on an online platform will improve the user experience of the analysis and make it considerably easier to work on. Instead of using directory methods like an index or glossary in a book, online resources can be searchable, with different tabs directing the user to different parts of the work, and hyperlinks to complementing media. This development successfully simplifies and streamlines the process of creating reprints and critical editions of works, all while making it considerably more available to the general public and other literary analysts.