Digital Projects

Conference on Latin American History

Digital Projects by Members

Decorations for Mexican fiesta

CLAH is delighted to showcase member projects that are scholarly contributions and can serve as creative teaching resources. Of course, there exist a wealth of catalogs, digital libraries, news amalgamators, and repositories in addition to these kinds of projects. A wonderful example is the “Latin American Digital Primary Resources Database”  for the organization SALAM, with which our member Antonio Sotomayor is associated. And there are terrific online publications such as Nursing Clio, where member Cassia Roth serves as part of the editorial team. While we won’t typically feature these kinds of projects, any endeavor to decide what is a scholarly or teaching project, as opposed to a finding aid or news site, is far from straight forward. As the “archival turn” has shown us, even finding aides are curated affairs rather than the result of some transparent, objective, total project. For this reason, we encourage members using this site to think, talk, and debate what digitalization and scholarship in and on Latin America have to do with one another, especially as these kinds of resources and activities among our members proliferate.  We also include a “For Further Reading” at the bottom of this page message, including work by our past president, to inspire you.  And watch for calls for updated lists in the future!

Member Name: Maria Cabrera Arus:
Project Name: Cuba Material

A digital archive and collection of Cuban material culture (1959-1989, mostly) 

Member Name: Ernesto Bassi
Project title: Hispania GlobalLink: (or as hyperlink: Hispania Global)

This website is the result of a class I taught in Sevilla, Spain, during the course of which I took students to the Archivo General de Indias (AGI) to conduct research with documents that could show the role the Spanish Empire played in the establishment and development of global connections during the eighteenth century.

Member Name: Allison Bigelow
Project Title: Multepal

Multepal, meaning “Joint Rule” in Classic Yucatec Maya, is a thematic research collection for students and scholars of colonial Mesoamerica, with a current focus on a digital critical edition of the Popol Wuj that maps the  characters, places, and technologies referenced in the creation narrative onto a network of topics reflective of a historically-grounded Mayan cosmovision. 

Member Name: Brittany Erwin
Project Title: Bureaucracy on the Ground in Colonial Mexico: the 1765 Visita 

Produced in partnership with the Benson Latin American Collection, this project aims to provide an interactive space for exploring what it meant to govern an empire through measures such as royal inspections, or visitas. 

Member Name: Frederico Freitas
Title: The Making of a Forest: Landscape Change at the Argentina-Brazil Border

This series of interactive maps are a sequel to the ones I launched in 2014.  They show deforestation and reforestation in national parks at the border between Brazil and Argentina, between the 1950s and the 2010s. They use as source aerial imagery unearthed from Brazilian archives and historical satellite pictures, including some from US spy satellites from the 1960s. The visualizations show the impressive environmental change occurring in almost seven decades, when this borderland area went from being a dense of subtropical rainforest to become a sea of small family farms as thousands of settlers moved into the area. They also show the effectiveness of national parks as a protection against deforestation.

Member Name: James Green
Project Title: Opening the Archives: Documenting US-Brazil Relations, 1960s-80s

 Opening the Archives is a joint effort by Brown University and the Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Paraná, Brazil to digitize and index 100,000 U.S. State Department documents on Brazil from 1963-73 and make them available to the public on an open-access website.

Member Name: Robert Karl
Project Title: Interactive Maps of Colombia for Forgotten Peace

These two maps, which accompany the book Forgotten Peace: Reform, Violence, and the Making of Contemporary Colombia, show how the spatial distribution of violence both influenced public policy and created durable ideas about Colombia as a violent country. 

Member Name: Jane Landers
Project Title: Slave Socieites Digital Archive

The Slave Societies Digital Archive (formerly Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies), directed by Jane Landers and hosted at Vanderbilt University, preserves endangered ecclesiastical and secular documents related to Africans and African-descended peoples in slave societies. SSDA holdings include more than 700,000 digital images drawn close to 2,000 unique volumes dating from the sixteenth through twentieth centuries that document the lives of an estimated four to six million individuals. This collection contains the most extensive serial records for the history of Africans in the Atlantic World, and also includes valuable information about the indigenous, European, and Asian populations who lived alongside them.

Member Name: Barbara Mundy
Project Title: Vistas

The Vistas project seeks to bring an understanding of the visual culture of Spanish America to a broad audience by offering a gallery of high-resolution color images, each of them fully annotated, videos and interpretive essays on Vista’s six themes, along with primary documents relating to visual culture.

Member Name: Alida Metcalf
Project Title: imagineRio

imagine Rio illustrates the social and urban evolution of Rio de Janeiro, as it existed and as it was imagined, through the geocoding of historical maps, architectural plans, and views of the city into a highly accurate and time-sensitive map.  

Member Name: Bianca Premo
Project Title: Domains: The Colonial Spanish America Digital Jurisdictions Project

This project maps the competing and collaborative, contiguous and concentric legal authorities in colonial Spanish America. Created by a team of post-docs, doctoral students and faculty from Florida International University’s Department of History, it is an ongoing project that seeks to represent the overlapping layers of legal jurisdiction, which was one of the more multifaceted aspects of people’s relationship to power and place in the colonial past. Appropriate for teaching.

Member Name: Julia Rodriguez
Project Title: History of Science in Latin America and the Caribbean

HOSLAC is a digitized collection of visual primary sources about the history of science, technology and medicine in Latin America and the Caribbean. With over 200 digitized, annotated, and searchable primary sources from pre-Columbian times to the modern day, organized into 30 thematic units, HOSLAC is ideal for teaching and preliminary student research in Latin American history, Atlantic history, the history of science, and the history of medicine.

Member Name: Chelsea Stieber
Project title: RSHHGG Lab

The RSHHGG Lab is an interactive online index of over 90 years of the Revue de la Société Haïtienne d’Histoire, de Géographie et de Géologie, the official publication of Haiti’s oldest intellectual society that is still active today.

Member Name: Margarita Vargas-Betancourt:
Project Title: The Cuban American Dream: A Timeline

A timeline of events that explore the reasons behind the immigration of Cubans to Florida from the 16th to the 21st century, the pressure that such immigration brought to local and state governments, the reactions of Floridian communities to Cuban immigrants, the ways in which Cuban immigrants adapted to their new reality, and the contribution of Cuban immigration to Florida.

Member Name: Charles Rob Venator
Project Name; The Puerto Rico Citizen Archives Project

The Puerto Rico Citizenship Archives Project is a public repository designed to document the legal history of the extension of U.S. citizenship to Puerto Rico

Member Name: Yanna Yannakakis
Project Title: Power of Attorney in Oaxaca, Mexico

“Power of Attorney,” an on-going digital research project, constructs a geography of indigenous legal culture through digital maps and visualizations derived from notarial records known as “letters of attorney” (poderes).

For Further Reading
Stephen Robinson and Lincoln Mullen, “Digital HIstory and Argument White Paper,” Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media

Lara Putnam, The Transnational and the Text-Searchable: Digitized Sources and the Shadows They Cast The American Historical Review, Volume 121, Issue 2, April 2016, Pages 377–402

AHA Statement on Guidelines for the Professional Evaluation of Digital Scholarship by Historians