Name of Idea/Concept/Identity Group

Abstract (250 word summary of entry)

Root or Origin of the word (First use, when did it gain popularity? Terms predating it)


Biographical Group/Organization Entry


Abstract (250 word summary of entry)
Group’s name (acronym)
Date founded and where
Date disbanded (if this applies)
Area of Focus/ Type of Group
 Social Reform, Feminist, Black Conscious/ Power, Community,  Anti-Apartheid , Education
Who are the group members?
 Who founded the group, how or why was it created, was it large or small membership, what was its original purpose?
Contributions (Chronological Order)
 movements, protest, boycotts, legal actions
Historical Significance
Bottom Line, How did they advance their cause, What makes them special?
Significant Moments, Events, Works, Positions that affected the group(List w/ Bullets ?)
Further Reading (other media including websites)
Notes: Should the biographical entry be block of text or list with headings?
Links to related other people, places, words or social movements
Interesting Facts
Central Theme running throughout for focus

Geographical (Place) Entry


Abstract (250 word summary of entry)
Name of Place (Pronunciation)
Root of the word
Breakdown of the word in history
Different Events that have effected its meaning
Geographic Location of Area (Boundaries)
Demographics (Size, Population, Rural, Urban)
Facts about Residents (Culture, Religion, Education)
Current Economy
Current Governance
 Past economy or governance, how it was created, purposes, related legal actions or policies.
Significance in History
Social Significance
Famous Residents
Further Reading (other media including websites)
Interesting Facts
Focus on women’s issues or socio-economic issues
Who rules? “Who Really Rules?”

Biographical Entry


Abstract (250 word summary of entry)
Person’s Full Name
Nicknames/ AKA
Date and Place of Birth
Date and Place of Death
Area of Achievement
 Social Reformer, Feminist Activist, Political Activist, Community Leader, Anti-Apartheid Activist, Educator 
Origins/Early Life
This includes: Place they were raised, family life, higher education, life changing events in childhood and/or first job.
Contributions/ Life’s Work (Chronological Order)
Historical Significance
Bottom Line, How did they advance their cause, What makes them special?
Significant Moments, Events, Works, Positions in their Life (List w/ Bullets ?)
Further Reading (other media including websites)
Notes: Should the biographical entry be block of text or list with headings?
Similar People entry
Links to related other people, places, words or social movements
Interesting Facts
Central Theme running throughout for focus

Summer Assignments


1. Must complete 7 entries (each must contain a 250 word abstract) following rubric/template designed by Selena (see BB)
2. Bibliography 50 + sources using Zotero
3. Choose 10 key sources and annotate – DO NOT duplicate annotations from anyone else’s list (Check Zotero)
4. Make DAILY entries to the blog
5. Discuss and develop format for Wiki – consult Selena

Robyn – focus on movements & issues
a. Black Power in the USA
b. African National Congress
c. Steve Biko & wife
d. Apartheid
e. Organizations/Groups including

Stephanie – focus on students, teachers, education
a. Organizations/Groups including: Student Christian Movement, others?
b. Teachers – Black & White
c. Bantu Education leading-up to the Uprising on 16 June (do not include Uprising)
d. Soweto Education system – Yesterday & Today
e. Laws & Acts related to education

Gabi -- Develop 7 entries related to heritage, heritage industry, etc. in South Africa

Hypercities Review

Hypercities is a program that uses Google Earth to allow you to overlay historical maps on specific geographic locations. These maps vary in information, age, and size. Some are fairly recent, while others are old. Some are maps of only a small portion of the city, while others give information on the entire city. I think that is the first problem hypercities has. First of all, the maps are not recent enough. Many of the most recent are from the 1990's. The purpose of Hypercities is to allow you to look into the past of a city and also learn about the present. The past information is there, but the present informtion is nonexisitent. Another issue with the maps, is that  there seems to be no legend or key for the maps. For example, I was looking at an income map for New York City from 1990. The incomes where marked by color, but I could not find a legend telling me what those colors meant. The only information readily available for the map was not helpful. Other than look at past information pertaining to the cities, you are supposed to be able to communicate with others in that city, and find information about places from the past and present. For example, I should be able to search for an orginization, like the YMCA in NYC.  I was able to look at information about the organization, including who runs it and what its purpose is. I am also able to see the building they operate in. Theoritically I can then take an older map and ovelay it to find out what was there before the YMCA or see how the demographics of that area have change. It might be that the site hasn't fully downloaded. Ultimately the website says your supposed to be able to "surf a city, browse through streets, get lost in buildings, and meet people." I think Hypercities is a great website, a little confusing to use and still a little underdeveloped. It is still a great concept and a great way to access and store digital history.

Stephanie's Proposal cont.

2)      How might we compare and contrast the BCM through a transnational framework?  What are the implications on our understanding of those intersections between Pan-Africanist ideology and the BCM?

3)      How did school age girls become civically engaged in and through the BCM? How did they defy their gender roles?

4)      What kinds of media and forms of cultural production were used to spread the BCM among student activists in South Africa and the U.S.?


As a junior who is an Africana Studies major at Hamilton College, I have devoted my time to understanding and furthering my knowledge of the Diaspora.  My intended research will increase my knowledge about Black social movements, specifically the BCM, as I learn about the anti-apartheid movement and increase my knowledge of the Diaspora even further.  My intentions upon graduation are either to attend graduate school for Peace Studies or Law school for Labor Law, with an emphasis on race.  My intended research will also allow me to work with Dr. Nieves this upcoming summer.  More than just a professor, Dr. Nieves has also acted as a mentor to me, helping me to develop my writing and researching skills to their full potential as I prepare for my senior project. 



“Black Like the Depths of My Africa:”

Transnational Black Consciousness and Student Activists in Apartheid South Africa 



As an applicant for the Emerson Grant for the summer of 2009, I propose to study the Black Consciousness Movement (which will be referred to as BCM throughout the proposal) in the United States, examining how it played a role in South Africa’s anti-Apartheid Movement.

The impact of the BCM on the Student Uprisings of 1976 in South Africa has largely gone unnoticed.  As defined by historian David Hirschmann, “Black Consciousness is in essence the realisation by the black man of the need to rally together with his brothers around the cause of their operation- the blackness of their skin- … in order to rid themselves of the shackles that bind them to perpetual servitude.”[1]  Current misunderstandings of the BCM have contributed to the erasure of the experiences of school aged girls across the movement, especially as they relate to South Africa.  The political writings of the BCM leadership and members of the broader activist networks during this period show that the movement began in the United States but then moved rapidly to South Africa as well as across the African continent.  The ideology was not new; rather “black resistance exploded once again, and this time it was to prove a sustained and broad-based movement” and “a large measure of credit … for the resuscitation of black opposition must go to the Black Consciousness Movement.”[2]  In my research I will study the BCM in relation to the anti-Apartheid movement, and also the interactions of school age girls with the BCM.  I will examine the development of the BCM as a form of political ideology in South Africa starting from the late 1960s and 1970s until Apartheid was abolished.

            I will analyze newspaper articles from both South Africa and the United States, in addition to other sources from across the globe. These newspaper sources will serve as the primary basis of comparison between the work of the BCM at the time, as articulated by activists like Steve Biko, and will also help us understand its impact on other South Africans.  Howarth’s framework suggests the importance of the BCM and how “[its] ideology involved the production and fixation of ‘blackness’ as a master or empty signifier … which functioned to institute and organize a new racial political frontier in South African society, around which the various practices and objects of the BCM were structured.” [3] As I pursue my study of school age girls, I will examine the role they played as women translating black consciousness ideology into their own form of political action, keeping in my mind that women’s experiences are often inadequately historicized.  I intend to begin by analyzing testimonies from women who were actively engaged in the movement.  Next, I will focus on how influential these women were to the development of transnational networks between the BCM in South Africa and in the U.S. among various student activist networks.  My research will help frame scholarship beyond Howarth’s argument that “the BCM was instrumental in organizing an active political challenge to the various manifestations of apartheid hegemony,”[4] taking it in new directions.  The research ultimately explores the ways in which the BCM affected the future nation-building efforts of South Africa, against and in conjunction with the apartheid movement and the parallel social movements occurring in the United States during this era.


The proposed research project considers:


1)      How did the BCM impact Black identity formation on Black Americans and Black South Africans? How did the BCM differ in the United States and in South Africa?

2)      How might

Selena's Digital History Essay

    Digital History is the use of technology and computers to store, archive, and distribute historical information on the web.  Instead of storing information in books, encyclopedias, journals, essays or CD-ROM’S, historical information can be made digital. Digital History encapsulates the same advantages and disadvantages that have arisen with the use of the Internet.
    Firstly, one disadvantage to Digital History – much like anything else on the Web – is the issue of authenticity and availability.  Much of the information found on web pages and sites can be incorrect or misleading.  Yet, it is often difficult to take notice of incorrect information or police it.  This is especially true for historical web sites, which can be started by almost anyone with a computer.  People with little knowledge of history can distribute false information digitally to the masses.  Therefore, one must be particularly careful when looking at digital history and taking information found on historical sites at face value.
    In terms of availability, many websites online require an account for access and many of these accounts come with a fee.  For the average person, the cost to view a digital scholarly history journal may be too much of an expense.  Oftentimes the only feasible way to view these sites is to belong to an academic institution that will pay the fee.  Yet, this has the effect of creating an elitist digital community that prevents the spread of scholarship to people from all walks of life.
    Fortunately, the advantages of digital history seem to outweigh the former disadvantages.  For example, the information held in an entire college library can be digitally stored on computers.  Also, once this information is made digital it can be accessed by people from all over the world.  Information previously unavailable or books that would take weeks to receive can appear on a computer screen within seconds.
    Another great advantage of digital history is the ability to take historical data and transfer it into another medium.  History can be studied and preserved through videos, audio recordings, photographs, and text.  Historians have greater access to more varied form of historical media, with this media reaching more people than once thought possible.
    Because digital history has the ability to reach more people it allows us access to different perspectives.  An historical event can be viewed or interpreted differently by historians, or some websites may offer material that was previously outside interpretation.  Often, sites hold forums, message boards, or other forms of communication with other Internet users.  Interactivity and communication will allow people to share their thoughts and knowledge about historical events, as well as open up positive, insightful dialogue.
    History-based sites or databases can become tools for teaching.  They allow students access to materials for class, or provide teachers ideas about lessons.   In addition to creating an environment where historians can debate their peers, a site may simply permit a history buff to learn more about his or her subject.  Coupled with the ability for open dialogue, communication, and the ability to access great amounts of information, digital history creates a virtual global classroom.


Gabi's Proposal

    Heritage Sites & Spaces of Commemoration: Cultural Memory Making in the “New” South Africa
      For marginalized peoples, the evidence, preservation, and diverse understandings of their often

conflicted and broken histories take many forms. For the most part, these forms, be them deteriorating

physical spaces, inadequately preserved collections, or disparately placed written and oral accounts in the

historical record contain the substance necessary to start the processes of heritage tracing, healing, and

reconciliation of the past. Subsequently, there is no question that societies at large, especially marginalized

groups, who have often lost their public voice throughout the process of erasure of historical “truth,” ought

to have access to “…heritage sites and public spaces of commemoration [which] provide another

[necessary] therapeutic arena.”  The use of heritage sites and material culture in contemporary cultural

productions within the larger process of re-constructing both individual and collective memory of an

institutionally discriminatory or traumatic past for those groups at the margins of society have been at the

center of much social justice scholarship recently.  In the case of the “new” South Africa, a nation whose

citizens at the margins of society are reconciling their colonial past and critically seeking retribution and

justice in the post apartheid era through multiple forms of heritage sites, namely museums of historical

preservation, cultural production and memory studies scholarship proves vital to research on the need for,

successes of, and inadequacies in such institutions as they currently stand.

    Currently, in heritage preservation sites and museums across South Africa the discriminatory

effects of the history of apartheid and marginalization of the economically disenfranchised black majority

population are reflected in their imbalanced portrayals of a socially unjust past. Scholar C. Kurt Dewhurst

writes, “Heritage resources that had meaning for or served the majority of South Africans- the non white

populations- were marginalized.”  In fact, many of the institutions dedicated to “commemorating” the

national past of this multiracial society are actually “heritage sites primarily oriented towards the

consumer (such as tourists, school groups and similar sorts of visitors).”  Therefore, many of these

cultural institutions produce income and wealth for their own sustainability through the patronage of

Western tourists at the expense of the already marginally historicized experiences of black South

Africans. Conversely, this unfortunate reality of the historical preservation process necessitates the

building, sustenance, and legitimization of memory-making historical sites that accurately reflect the

experiences of the victims of socially unjust apartheid practices.

     Thus, the primary objectives of the proposed summer research include: an in depth analysis of

first-hand accounts of racial violence, economic disenfranchisement, and perceptions of memory versus

actual representation of apartheid currently at these institutions and ultimately, to draw upon cultural

production scholarship to propose new, innovative, and beneficiary ways in which cultural heritage sites

propel the reconciliation process, contribute economically to local black townships, and “begin to foster a

set of political values and attitudes favoring human  rights through civic engagement for all South

Africans.”  Furthermore, the research project will address the complexities of how we even begin to piece

together disparate historical documents and narrations. For example, in the healing and reconciliation

process, what is truth? Who validates one truth over another? Should historical preservation sites be made

to appeal to Western tourists?
     As a sophomore at Hamilton, I am interested in the numerous and critical ways in which the

history of marginalized peoples become part of popular memory and the larger historical record. An

Africana Studies and History double major, I intend to use the summer research as the basis for a senior

thesis with my advisor, Dr. Nieves, based on how Afro-Dominicans engage in their own heritage

practices. Dr. Nieves researches, produces scholarship about, and teaches history in innovative and

inegrational ways that mirror the ways in which I intend to do research as a senior and hopefully in

graduate school after Hamilton. This grant is an incredible opportunity to broadly understand the ways in

which black South Africans reconcile racial injustices through engaging with historical sites of memory.


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