“Characteristics of Negro Expression”: Kenton Rambsy on the Importance of Digital Humanities in the Study of African American Short Stories

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[by Stefanie Torres and Jennifer Colatosi] On February 11, 2015, Hall Center Research Fellow and KU English Ph.D. candidate Kenton Rambsy presented on notable outcomes of his dissertation research in his interdisciplinary graduate research workshop, “Characteristics of Negro Expression: Digital Humanities and African American Short Stories,” at the University of Kansas. Rambsy’s work employs a digital humanities approach through text-mining software to understand African American […]

Considering and Reconsidering Black Studies: A Dialogue Between Jerry Ward and Abdul Alkalimat

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In July, we shared a post by Jerry Ward on the main HBW website regarding Introduction to Afro-American Studies: A People’s College Primer (1973) and African American Studies 2013: A National Web-Based Survey (2013). This post has since invited a response from Abdul Alkalimat, primary author of both documents. The HBW Blog would like to share this dialogue and open it up for further commentary […]

Black Literature and Digital Humanities: The Black Book Interactive Project

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The Project on the History of Black Writing (PHBW) is the oldest, continuously running digital humanities project working exclusively on African American literature.  Founded in 1983 at the University of Mississippi, Oxford, it parallels the evolution of the field itself.  Today, thirty years later, HBW continues to engage in scholarship focusing on the study of African American literature and digital software. Below, follow links that […]

The Black Book Project: Why is it important?

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Since the study/teaching of black literature is very often dictated by what is current or what authors will attract students to a course, most of what we know about black fiction is based on a very small sample of texts.  Our objective is to learn what this larger body of mostly non-canonical texts can tell us that we don’t know and how this knowledge alters […]

The Black Book Project: What kinds of important research questions are we asking?

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Based on our collection of some 2000 novels, most of which are neither widely read nor taught, we see the digital medium as a way to provide new levels of access, consolidate a large amount of data and invite new questions. What patterns exist among book titles, word count and chapter structure of the novels? What are the terms and examples do authors use to […]

The Black Book Interactive Project (BBIP) Overview

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[By Kenton Rambsy] The Black Book Interactive Project (BBIP) focuses on African American novels published from the mid-19th through the early 20th century novels, creating a tool that allows a comparison of thematic and stylistic elements, ideas and language use. Relying on text-mining software, mapping and geo-tagging, we can make striking observations about a large number of texts. Scholars, researchers and students will be able […]