Digital Liberal Arts Projects

Black Intersections

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Black Intersections is a partnership with Penn State’s Department of African American Studies, WPSU and DPS. The interactive digital platform is a resource and collaboration hub for scholars, activists and teachers at the intersection of black experiences of violence and black freedom struggles across the Americas, an extension of the “Racial Disposability and Cultures of Resistance” Sawyer Seminar.

Coming soon!

Educational Activism Archive

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The Penn State Educational Activism Archive aims to complicate and expand our historical knowledge of student and faculty activism at Penn State University. Launched in May of 2019, the site features artifacts from the Eberly Family Special Collections Archive. The site employs a wide definition of “activism,” including efforts to change the university through institutional pressure, letter-writing, petitions, sit-ins, speeches, picketing, and formal protest. Spanning movements regarding race, gender, sexuality, labor, and peace, the archive includes items capturing a century of social transformation.

This archive was created with the help of Project STAND (Student Activism Now Documented), an online clearinghouse for researchers engaged in the study of student dissent. In line with Project STAND’s mission, students selected and analyzed artifacts with an eye to questions of historical representation. In one sense, they sought artifacts that reflected efforts of marginalized populations at Penn State. In some cases, they identified artifacts that demonstrated how the structures of power and authority at the university served to keep those voices in the margins.

Designed by the Office of Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship, the Educational Activism Archive forms part of an initiative to promote Digital Humanities work among undergraduate students in the Penn State College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. They aim to teach students skills in digital content production while helping to make PSU’s research available to a wider community of scholars.

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Americans in the Middle East in the Nineteenth Century

sample image from project websiteThis project explores and curates a variety of primary sources from historical databases, newspaper archives, published works, and other sources to study the experiences of Americans living and working in the Middle East during the long nineteenth century. Our focus is on the roles and perspectives of those Americans who participated in the “Great Transformation”: American diplomats, American entrepreneurs and company men, Americans who served as government advisors and military instructors, American protestant missionaries and educators, American jurists, American doctors, American artists and writers, and American tourists. In the process of learning about developments in the region, we reveal how Americans thought about and engaged with the Middle East, and we evaluate their influence and objectives from multiple perspectives. Through this work, we describe changes in the Middle East in the nineteenth century associated with modernization and globalization. Rather than focusing on the dynamics of state relations in this period, as the Ottoman Empire, Egypt, and Persia became places of interest to competing European powers, we investigate some of the specific ways in which the interactions between individual “foreigners” and locals shaped a variety of changes.

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Witness to Change: The Penn State Experience

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A time of turmoil highlighted by a president with approval ratings hovering in the low- to mid-30s, American troops fighting unpopular conflicts, and women’s rights and civil rights being the main topics of many conversations, and protests, 1968 was also marked by technological advances and other innovations that transformed the way Americans live, work and play. College campuses across the nation, including Penn State, found themselves at the epicenter of the country’s social, cultural, and economic evolution — which sometimes took the form of revolution.

The College of the Liberal Arts, Department of History, and DPS teamed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of 1968 through the “Moments of Change: Remembering ’68” project. This experimental, college-wide effort created an undergraduate theme for the academic year, featuring panel discussions, movies, lectures and various other programs that explored, considered, reflected on, and celebrated the global, national, and local milestones of that year. “Moments of Change” endeavored to give all individuals in the Penn State community  a better understanding of, and greater appreciation for, how events that took place in 1968 have helped shape America since then.

The Witness to Change web archive collects the digital materials produced for and during the Remembering ’68 project. It houses video interviews, documentaries, and archives of digitized editions of the Daily Collegian, as well as oral history interviews conducted by students of the World of 1968 interdisciplinary course.

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Museum of Pennsylvania Jewish History

sample image from project websiteThe Museum of Pennsylvania Jewish History collects photographs, documents, interviews and writings developed by students in JST/HIST115, The American Jewish Experience, at Penn State University. Students in this course have the opportunity to conduct hands-on historical research into Pennsylvania Jewish history. During spring break, the students fan out around the state to visit historical sites, archives, and people with information about Pennsylvania’s Jewish past.

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