CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for African American and African Studies, University of Maryland

CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for African American and African Studies, University of Maryland

Digital Scholarship in African American History and Culture at the University of Maryland

At the University of Maryland, the Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for African American and African Studies will enter an intellectual and professional community with longstanding and deep investments in digital scholarship related to African American history and culture. The successful candidate will work with a team comprised of members from The African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities (AADHum) initiative based at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) and the University of Maryland Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives.

AADHum tackles a significant, persistent challenge in higher education: promoting a Black Studies framework that centers Black life in humanistic inquiry amid transformation by digital technologies, while also constructing pathways to inclusive excellence across the humanities. A grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2015 enabled the AADHum team to lay the foundations necessary to meet these challenges by developing an integrated model of scholarship, training, and community engagement in African American cultural and historical studies within the digital humanities space. Through a thriving program of research, instruction, professional development, and institutional change, AADHum has played an instrumental role in growing the nascent field of Black digital humanities. Extended by a second major grant, the current iteration of AADHum (through 2022) extends the initiative’s scholarly network, refines and exports its technical and professional frameworks, and expands the career pipeline in Black digital humanities. AADHum’s ambition, ultimately, is to model excellence and innovation for students, scholars, and humanities scholarship in higher education and cultural heritage throughout the United States.

Housed at the University Libraries, Project STAND is a radical grassroots archival consortia project between colleges and universities around the country to create a centralized digital space highlighting analog and digital collections of student activism in marginalized communities. Project STAND aims to foster ethical documentation of contemporary and past social justice movements in underdocumented student populations. STAND also advocates for collections by collaborating with educators to provide pedagogical support, create digital resources, host workshops and forums for information professionals, academics, technologists, and humanists interested in building communities with student organizers and their allies, leading to sustainable relationships, and inclusive physical and digital spaces of accountability, diversity, and equity.

 

University of Maryland, College Park

Founded in 1856, University of Maryland, College Park is the state’s flagship institution. Our 1,250-acre College Park campus is just minutes away from Washington, D.C., and the nexus of the nation’s legislative, executive, and judicial centers of power. This unique proximity to business and technology leaders, federal departments and agencies, and a myriad of research entities, embassies, think tanks, cultural centers, and non-profit organizations is simply unparalleled. Synergistic opportunities for our faculty and students abound and are virtually limitless in the nation’s capital and surrounding areas. The University is committed to attracting and retaining outstanding and diverse faculty and staff that will enhance our stature of preeminence in our three missions of teaching, scholarship, and full engagement in our community, the state of Maryland, and in the world.

 

Project Overview

The University of Maryland is grappling with the reality that racialized violence persists well after the first Black students integrated the institution in the 1950s. Co-organized by the African American History, Culture and Digital Humanities (AADHum) initiative and the University of Maryland Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives, the UMD Restorative Justice Project responds to Black Studies scholar Christina Sharpe’s query: “how do we memorialize an event that is still ongoing?” In responding to this query, this project also commits to a methodology that centers restoration for those most impacted by racialized violence.”

An extension of the work of AADHum and of Project STAND, this new project is developing a digital work whose episodic structure integrates with and extends on-the-ground historical and contemporary events centered in a restorative justice paradigm. Through curation of primary sources from institutional and community archives and oral histories, each episode of this ongoing work establishes a continuum of racialized violence and also makes the same investment in establishing a continuum of resistance. HIstorian Vincent Harding refers to this phenomenon as  “a great black river” that ebbs and flows, but nonetheless is in constant opposition to white supremacy. Curating this data offers the opportunity for analysis, meaning making, and a grasp–even if tentative–on negotiating an ongoing history.

The UMD Libraries Restorative Justice Project team seeks  an eager self-starter for a two-year term, full-time Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for African American and African Studies. This position is a joint appointment between the African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities (AADHum) initiative and the University of Maryland Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives. AADHum offers the fellow technical skill development in the context of Black Digital Humanities. The University of Maryland Libraries’ Special Collection and University Archives offers exposure to a radical grassroots archival consortia project between colleges and universities around the country working together to create a centralized digital space highlighting analog and digital collections of student activism in marginalized communities.

Serving as the Postdoctoral Fellow’s primary responsibility will be to support building the first episode of a larger digital work. Launching in Spring 2021, the first episode will include: 1) an interactive map locating sites of violence and resistance on and near UMD’s campus, 2) a historiographic essay that situates UMD’s narrative in a national context, and 3) a curated space of speculative memorials for sites identified on the map. Opportunities for teaching, as well as development and facilitation of professional events, are available in the second year of the fellowship.

 

Key Responsibilities

  • Work with the project team to curate data that connects University of Maryland’s segregationist history and contemporary sites of racialized violence
  • Identify institutional and non-institutional sources that can assist in building a dynamic Black digital humanities project
  • Conduct collections assessment
  • Contribute to processing and description of relevant collections
  • Assist in researching and recording oral histories to complement institutional records
  • Organize a panel related to the project for an upcoming AADHum conference

Required Education and Experience

Must have completed a doctoral program in African and/or African American Studies, American Studies, History, English, or related fields in the Humanities in the past five years or before beginning the fellowship.

Required Qualifications

  • Active research agenda in African American Studies, broadly defined
  • Experience with archival research or oral history methodologies
  • Demonstrated understanding of records management or data curation
  • Excellent communication skills

Preferred Qualifications

  • Proficiency in archival processing and metadata creation
  • Demonstrated knowledge of best practices in Black DH
  • Familiarity with common web technologies such as HTML and CSS or experience with a major content management system, such as WordPress.

Compensation

  • The salary is set at $67,500 annually plus benefits

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

The University of Maryland has long embraced diversity as a core value and counts a diverse educational community among its great strengths. The College of Arts and Humanities has committed:

  • To ensure policies and structures are in place at all levels of the University to support transformational leadership, recruitment, and inclusion efforts, and to institutionalize campus diversity goals. We will provide the leadership and infrastructure needed to create a more diverse and inclusive population in the College of Arts and Humanities.
  • To foster a positive climate that promotes student success and encourages faculty and staff members to flourish. We will create a College climate in which diversity, inclusion and equity are valued and realized at both the College and Unit levels throughout the College of Arts and Humanities.
  • To promote a vision across the University that fully appreciates diversity as a core value and educational benefit to be studied, cultivated, and embraced as a vital component of personal development and growth. We will diversify academic programs by making diversity and inclusion intentional in teaching and learning across the curriculum of the College of Arts and Humanities

The University of Maryland, College Park, is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, and complies with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Maryland is committed to creating and maintaining an educational, working, and living environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. University policy prohibits discrimination on grounds protected under Federal and Maryland law and Board of Regents policies. University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class.