Grant Proposal : From the Colonial to the Digital Archive: Caribbean Literature and History


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Grant Proposal : From the Colonial to the Digital Archive: Caribbean Literature and History
Series Title:
Latin American Studies Course Development Grant Proposal
Physical Description:
Grant proposal
Rosenberg, Leah
Department of English, University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, FL
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Caribbean Area   ( lcsh )


Grant proposal to support an interdisciplinary course on historical research methods and literary analysis that examines how Caribbean literary writers have engaged with the colonial archival record of three defining events and institutions in Caribbean history: slavery, indenture, and the great migration of West Indians to Latin America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Applicable rights reserved.
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Latin American Studies Course Development Grants Application Form The proposal should be no more than two pages including the budget. Syllabi are optional. I. Faculty Information Proposed Course Title: From the Colonial to the Digital Archive: Caribbean Literature and History Department: English Faculty Name: Leah Rosenberg Title: Associate Professor Email: Phone: 352 281 1248 (cell) 294 2848 (office) II. Department Approval By signing this form, I approve the implementation of the proposed course during the 2011-12 academic year. A / _/) Dept. Chair Name: Kenneth Kidd Signature: _./d(,IV'\'c;ff..'(}:fJJ,..J Email: Phone: (352) 294-2801 Ill. Course Information Provide the following information about the proposed course on a separate sheet of paper: o Describe the content, countries, regions, and/or issues to be covered by the course. o Explain the course's expected student learning outcomes. o Estimate the number and type (graduate or undergraduate) of students likely to enroll. o Describe how the proposed course will complement or fit in with the curriculum of the department or college. o Identify any international collaboration (institutional or faculty) required for creation of the course. IV. Course Development Activities List major activities and dates for development of the course, including when the course will be offered. V. Budget Explain how the grant funds are to be used. Submit by November 2 to: Aimee Green PO Box 115530 Grinter Hall 319 or


Collaboration required for creation of the cours e _________________________________________ In the fall of 2013, t his course will be taught simultaneously as a graduate seminar at UF by Leah Rosenberg and at as capstone seminar at Amherst College by Rhonda Cobham Sander professor of English and Black Studies. In developing the course, Rosenberg and Cobham Sander are working with Laurie Taylor (Digital Humanities Librarian), Margarita Vargas Betancourt (Caribbean Basin Librarian), and Judith Roberts (Instructional Design & Training) at the UF libraries and Missy Roser, Head of Research and Instruction at the Frost Library, Amherst College Collaboration the U.K. National Archives and with libraries in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana may also be necessary. Course Description ______________________________ ____________________________________ __ This is a n interdisciplinary course on historical research methods and literary analysis that examines how Caribbean literary writers have engaged with the colonial archival record of three defining events and instituti on s in Caribbean history: slavery, indenture and the great migration of West Indians to Latin America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries S lavery, indenture, and empire s haped the lives of Caribbean people the records and thus our vision of the past. The gaps and biases of the colonial archive are of particular importance in the Caribbean historiography because the majority of people were enslaved or indentured and therefore had little or no power to represen t themselves. They are of particular importance to Caribbean literature because writers and scholars from Alejo Carpentier to Edouard Glissant and including even V.S. Naipaul have seen it as the edress the biases of the colonial record of the past. Th is course is motivated by the fact that digital archives and databases are now making available a wide variety of Caribbean literature and archival material s from plantation records and newspapers t o photographs and slave narratives previously housed only in a very few libraries and archives For the first time, students are easily able to place literary texts in relation to the colonial records and histories with which their authors engaged. Further digital technology is now providing new means of analyzing and of presenting archival materials to illuminate their significance to scholars, students, and the general public. The course content is divided into three units: Slave Narratives and contempor ary Literature. Students will read Caribbean slave narratives, focusing on The History of Mary Prince and study s cholarly debates about how to interpret slave narrative s focusing on questions of agency, genre, and sexuality They will also study A Higher Ground and Cambridge contemporary fiction about slavery by Carly Phillips and the archival materials, memoir s, slave narratives on which he draws extensively. Indenture in the Caribbean a Passage from India to the Caribbean an analysis and compilation of the commission reports and other documentation concerning the death and possible rape of an indentured woman during her passage between India and Guyana. Misery introduces the history of indenture and high incidence of sexual exploitation while documenting how difficult i t is to discover the experience of indentured women from colonial records. Students will then read The Swinging Bridge that narratives the story of a contemporary Indo Trinidadian and Canadian woman who returns to Trinidad and seeks to discover the history of her great grandmother, who arrived in Trinidad as an indentured worker. They will then identify and explicate archi val m aterials relevant to both texts, producing annotated guides. Building the Panama Canal and West Indian Migration to Latin America Students will read fictional works by West Indian writers about West Indians who worked on the Panama Canal, focusing on Susan Proudleigh Tropic Death Students will then compare these accounts with the U.S. contemporary accounts of the canal and contextualize those using archival materials such as newspaper coverage, m emoirs, letters, and photograph collections. This serves as introduction to the larger migration of West Indians to Latin America. Students will identify, contextualize, and annotate archival materials which will be produced as a digital exhibition on West Indian literature and the Panama Canal. Countries addressed__________________________________________________________ ___________


This course focuses on G uyana, Antigua, Jamaica, Trinidad, and Panama, and addresses also the U.S., U.K., Haiti, India, West Africa, and Canada. Student Learning Outcomes __________________________________________________________ ____ For each of the three units, s tudents will identify archival materials and produce an annotated digital guide or curated digital to illuminate their historical and cultural significance to scholarly and general public. Two projects will be collaborative, involving a small group of students from the two campuses. The third will be individua l. Successful projects will be included in the D igital Library of the Caribbean, and we aim to develop the individual final projects into a curated digital exhibit on West Indian literature and the building of the Panama Canal to coincide with the centenar To prepare students for the research and creative digital projects, the instructors will work with librarians at UF and Amherst College to teach students traditional research methods in literature and history, using sc holarly databases digital archives and traditional library collections. Students will learn how to apply primary historical research to literary analysis and to annotate and contextualize archival materials They will also learn to use digital technologie s in their analysis and to present their research including a digital writing platform, such as Scalar, as well as more common digital tools (e.g. blogs, Journals, VoiceThread) to present historical and spatial narratives. Finally they will be taught how to digitize documents. Curriculum_Goals________________________________________________________________ _____ This course will strengthen UF and undergraduate level and is designed to appeal to students also in history and area studies. In fall 2013, I will teach the class as a graduate seminar ( @ 10 students) with th e goal of integrating the first two units into Panama Canal into LIT 4192 in Spring 2015 ( which will address cultural and historical connections bet ween the Caribbean and the U.S ). The broader goals are 1) to develop a model for collaborative, hybrid classes that can be taught at multiple institutions so that UF students can collaborate with scholars and students; 2) to produce digital teaching materi als on subjects of broad interest in Caribbean, African Diaspora, and Latin American studies that can be incorporated in to a number of different courses taught at different institutions and at different levels and to make these available open access throug h dLOC Course Development Activities ______________________________________________ ____________ We have begun bi weekly conference calls to develop the course. The fall is devoted to conceptualizing the course and identifying the main literary texts for the syllabus and the archival materials that will need to be digitized; we are also contact ing the guest speakers. The spring will be devoted to developing the assignments and determining the appropriate technology as well as to getting the permissions and digitizing new archival materials. The summer will be devoted to finalizing the syllabus and developing its web presence in Sakai or an other format Budget __________________________________________________________ ________ ______________ Honoraria for Sky pe presentations by and discussions with $1 0 00. novelist Ramabai Espinet and the historian Verene Shepherd, whose work forms the foundation for the unit on indenture $500 each. Funding to digitize archival materials pertinent to indentured Indian communities in Trinidad and Guyana for students to contextualize Misery and The Swinging Bridge We are working on identifying and getting permission for specific c olonial reports, novels, correspondence and Enquiry Reports in the British Public Records Office and issues of Trinidadian and Guyanese local periodicals We are seeking other funding sources as well for this project. Cost is approximately $1 per page but may be higher depending on permissions and format $2000 *We have chosen this focus because there are currently few archival materials on indenture in the Caribbean while there is a growing body of materials concerning slavery and the Panama Canal