Caribbean Diasporas: Panorama of Carnival Practices is a Digital Humanities initiative by The Diaspora Project aiming to revitalize, reuse and recover primary and secondary sources, as well as artifacts, all related to carnival practices and mobility in the Caribbean. Recent discussions within both popular and scholarly circles have promoted conceptions of human movement or migration with negative valences; migration is understood as deviation, displacement, invasion, an exceptional state or problematic condition that requires remedies or interventions. Our approach counters these assumptions by posing mobility as the norm, demonstrated through the analysis of an array of Caribbean carnival practices.

As of Spring 2019, our site showcases three micro-projects or “routes” to approach carnival practices in the Caribbean, all using materials from various sources: the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC), University of Puerto Rico–Río Piedras’ El Mundo and Puerto Rican Collections, and the privately owned Lowell Fiet Photo Collection. These initial micro-projects were developed following what we conceive as a digital residencies model. Participants in this initial phase were Caribbean scholars invited to explore the collections mentioned above in order to articulate ways to reuse these materials as curated content, showcasing Caribbean carnival practices. In fact, the long-term goal of this site is to promote the participation in these digital residencies by teachers, students, researchers, and artists/practitioners, who can provide a dialogic experience on Caribbean carnival practices. In other words, as they explore and use the archived materials, they will also add their own experiences, providing new materials to the site while generating creative, collaborative products or projects. Through this production model, we are conceptualizing our site as an incubator for Digital Humanities projects related to migration and carnival in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Diaspora Project has had a long-standing collaboration with the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC), which have resulted in capacity-building experiences in digitizing best practices, digital curation, and digital production in open access environments. dLOC provides technical support for training, technical needs, metadata, and offline digital preservation repositories. This partnership has been essential for the preservation and dissemination of The Caribbean Diaspora Project’s digital collections. Additionally, The Caribbean Diaspora Project acknowledges the support of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant for an early planning stage of the Caribbean Diaspora project. Accordingly, acknowledgments are due to the Puerto Rican Foundation for the Humanities (FPH) who has been a long-standing sponsor, supporting our Project in the development of workshops focused on the importance of digitization and/in community archives.

Moreover, the project has an advisory board composed of humanities scholars with expertise in relevant areas of digital humanities and/or Caribbean studies. The board will be consulted as potential users for the initial assessment on user interface design and interactivity. The advisory board’s recommendations will be sought for future design considerations, future project / DH center development, and promotion and dissemination of information about the site and its resources. The following members have committed to serve on the advisory board for the project period: Jossiana Arroyo-Martínez (Chair/Professor of Latin American and Caribbean Literatures and Cultures, Depts. Spanish and Portuguese, African and African Diaspora Studies University of Texas at Austin), Dr. Ian A. Bethell-Bennett (Assistant Professor, School of English Studies, Liberal & Fine Arts Unit, University of The Bahamas), Dr. Joel Blanco (Adjunct Professor and Researcher in Digital Archives and Content Curator, Escuela Nacional de Conservación, Restauración y Museografía “Manuel del Castillo Negrete,” Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Ciudad México, México), Dr. Elizabeth Maddock Dillon (Chair/Professor, Department of English, Co-Director of NULab for Texts, Maps and Networks, and Co-founder and Director of Early Caribbean Digital Archive, Northeastern University), Dr. Jorge Duany (Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Cuban Research Institute, Florida International University), and Dr. Jennifer Guiliano (Assistant Professor of History and School of Liberal Arts University of Indiana-Purdue University Indianapolis).

For more information, please contact:

Mirerza González-Vélez —  mirerza.gonzalez1@upr.edu

Nadjah Ríos Villarini — nadjah.rios@upr.edu

The Caribbean Diaspora Project — caribbean.diaspora@upr.edu