Recovery and Digital Humanities

Welcome to Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage’s new blog page!

The Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (aka “Recovery”) has recently been awarded  grants from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. These grants will fund the Recovery’s recent initiative to create the first digital humanities program to focus on US Latina/o Studies.

Things to look for on the blog as Recovery moves forward include: bilingual posts on archival material, digital exhibitions of selected collections, digital humanities projects, collaborations across disciplines and institutions, digital humanities workshops, and more! Make sure to follow us on Twitter at @APPRecovery and like our page on Facebook.

Support Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage! Become a member. Be a donor. Make a difference. You can sign up for Membership by clicking  here.

Membership benefits include:

  • Five electronic books Recovery books
  • Latest Recovery publications
  • 20% discount on Arte Público Press books
  • Conference and special events discounts

Digital Projects at Recovery

Hello, readers!

This week many of the volunteers, interns, and employees at the Recovery Program are working from home. Together we are navigating the current situation brought about by COVID-19 and it has been comforting to be able to stay connected and continue to work on our projects during this time. In this blog post and the next, I would like to share a little about the ongoing projects at the Recovery Program.

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Katerin Zapata, is a liberal studies major studying Spanish, sociology, and creative writing at the University of Houston-main campus. This semester she is working on two digital projects: an online interactive timeline and an online exhibit highlighting the work of LULAC, League of United Latin American Citizens. This is what Zapata has to say about her work in the Recovery Program:

thumbnail_screenshot of research poster

Conference Poster by Katerin Zapata

“My goal is to create interactive, visual tools that showcase the activism and resiliency of the most established Latinx organization, LULAC. LULAC has been working towards the freedom and justice of Hispanics since 1929 and continues to do so today. Hopefully, these tools will inspire others to digitize their own histories or contribute to this work. I interned with the Recovery Program/Arte Público Press last summer before my first year at UH and they called me back this semester and offered me a scholarship. I am learning about the process of research, of digitizing history, and a lot about Hispanic American history. I am growing immensely as a professional but also as an individual. The people at APP are hardworking, encouraging and so kind. Overall, it’s just an inspiring place to be. I am so grateful for this opportunity and I look forward to what the future holds for me at Arte Público and in the digital humanities.”

LULAC TIMELINE

LULAC Timeline by Katerin Zapata

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Lorena Gauthereau is the Digital Programs Manager for the US Latino Digital Humanities program at Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (Recovery). She received her PhD from Rice University in English. Previously, she served as the CLIR-Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Recovery. Theresa Mayfield, M.L.S., is the Local History Librarian for Moore Memorial Public Library in Texas City. Previously, she worked as an intern and then as a volunteer at Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage. Gauthereau and Mayfield created the Alonso S. Perales Correspondence Map.

pera0225_001 (2)While working with the Alonso S. Perales Papers to produce the first online collection for the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Archives, they came across a large stack of empty envelopes. Together, they considered what type of historical data these empty envelopes contained in their own right. Considering Perales’ huge influence as a co-founder of the League of the United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and as one of the most prominent civil rights leaders of the twentieth century, Gauthereau and Mayfield predicted that these envelopes could reveal the extent of his network. They wanted to create a visual representation of his reach during the 1930s-1950s. In order to do so, they worked with Rice University graduate student volunteers Sonia Del Hierro and Sophia Martinez, to scan the envelopes and document metadata such as the sender/receiver location and postmark date. Using Kepler Maps, Gauthereau and Theresa populated the map with this metadata. This map will also link to scanned images of the envelopes included on the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Archives site.

ASP Correspondence Map by Gauthereau & Mayfield

ASP Correspondence Map by Gauthereau & Mayfield

For more digital humanities projects at the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Program, please visit Digital Projects – Arte Público .

Melinda Mejia is an instructor of English and Humanities at Houston Community College. She received her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University at Buffalo – SUNY in 2014. Her current projects include creating an Open Educational Resource in Mexican-American Studies and an article on the concept of translation in Maria Cristina Mena’s writing.

HILT 2020: Latinx Digital Praxis

HILT

Registration is open for Humanities Intensive Learning and Training (HILT) 2020. HILT is a 5-day training institute that includes keynotes, ignite talks, and local cultural heritage excursions for researchers, students, early career scholars and cultural heritage professionals who seek to learn more about Digital Humanities theory, practice, and culture. In addition to the conference’s day-time sessions, participants can enjoy opportunities to explore the city through local dining and special events.

This year, HILT will take place at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska, May 18-22, 2020. Scholarships to help defray costs are available for students and groups of 5 or more, as well as UNL faculty, staff, and students. (These cannot be combined.) To apply, click here.

Instructors

Carolina Villarroel, Ph.D., C.A. Brown Foundation Director of Research, Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage, University of Houston

Gabriela Baeza Ventura, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Spanish, University of Houston

Latinx Digital Praxis: From the Archive to the Digital

Latinx Digital Praxis: From the Archive to the Digital explores analog and digital methodologies to create scholarship and knowledge around the experiences of US Latinx peoples. Participants will be introduced to the process of developing toolkits and resources to explore archival sources of Latinx peoples while taking into account their historical, cultural and political context. Participants will be guided through processes involved in rescuing materials that have been or could fall through the cracks of the institutional apparatus to ask why and how we can rethink these processes in order to incorporate these underrepresented communities and their history within the institutional discourse. We will interrogate the lived experiences of transnational, exile, native, immigrant peoples which are crucial at the time of researching, reading, understanding and writing about them.

Questions that this course will cover include, but are not limited to:

  • How do we approach US Latinx experience?
  • How do we understand the importance of ethnic materials in the US?
  • How do we approach and incorporate languages other than English into DH?
  • How to identify materials for future projects (research, copyright issues, etc.)?
  • How do we create meaningful and respectful data?
  • How do we work with the community owners of the knowledge?
  • How do we create knowledge and scholarship based on these materials?
  • How do we engage our local and immediate communities?

We expect participants will complete this course with knowledge of how to use digital surrogates to expand access and dissemination of underrepresented collections, as well as develop  plans for community-building and partnerships that could help further the mission and scope of the projects. The course uses an interdisciplinary approach that at its very base questions archival politics and praxis. Additionally, participants will learn about strategies necessary to advocate for programming, grant writing, and faculty and student engagement (undergraduate and graduate).No prior technical knowledge is required in this course. Anyone with an interest in Latinx studies and digital humanities is welcome.This course is based on the work of the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage program located at the University of Houston, one of the premier research programs for US Latinx scholarship with a trajectory of more than 27 years of locating, preserving, and making available the written legacy of Latinx in the US since colonial times until 1960.

For more information about HILT, including costs, please visit: http://dhtraining.org/hilt/conferences/hilt-2020/

Inspiration in the Archives: Leonor Villegas de Magnón

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Group of nurses from La Cruz Blanca

I am starting my third week as a volunteer at the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Program and I am happy to say this has already been a rewarding experience. I’ve learned to use Omeka (an open source web-publishing platform for the display of museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions) to contribute to  the program’s digital collections, Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections, and I’m excited to jump into digital mapping soon, all in view of providing new learning tools and techniques for the courses I teach at Houston Community College. But the most rewarding feature so far has been sitting with and exploring archival material belonging to visionary Hispanics/Latin@s. For that reason alone, my time here has been inspiring and exciting and I am grateful for spaces and programs like these dedicated to the preservation and proliferation of the accounts and stories of our people which have too often been left by the wayside.

These last two weeks, I have been perusing the Leonor Villegas de Magnón Collection in order to complete a digital exhibit of this revolutionary woman and as part of my own research for the creation of a Mexican American Studies OER (Open Educational Resource). Born in 1876 in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Leonor Villegas de Magnón embodied a borderlands existence. In her early years, her family often traveled across the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo) as her father did business on both the Mexican and U.S. sides of the border. Two of her three siblings were born in the U.S. and she was educated in multiple U.S. schools as a child. Her perception of the world early on must have been one that saw borders for the man-made, political illusions that they are. In many ways, her life work suggests that she understood the two nations as one, linked by history, proximity, and human connections; she saw the possibility of true solidarity and camaraderie among the inhabitants of these two nations.

While Villegas de Magnón and her family enjoyed the privileges of bourgeoisie life, in part because of the succesful enterprises of her father, by the time of the Mexican Revolution (1910), Magnón was ready to abandon those comforts in view of the nascent revolutionary movement.  Influenced by what she saw as “the noble relationship between her parents and their laborers” (translation of Lomas), by the liberal and democratic ideals of the era, and by her own sense of justice, she was steadfastly committed to the true progress of Mexico defined by the progress of the disadvantaged and by the just treatment and compensation of the Mexican labor class (Clara Lomas, Introducción, xxi).

 

Nicknamed “La Rebelde” at birth, Villegas de Magnón fulfilled her moniker at every step. During the beginning of the Mexican Revolution, she wrote pieces supporting the revolutionary cause and stood firmly against the exploitation of the Mexican people under Porfirio Diaz. Later down the line, she wrote informational articles on the Revolution’s progress and events for La Cronica, El Progreso, and El Radical. But it was her role as nurse and leader of La Cruz Blanca Constitucionalista that anchored her to the cause and through which she became an indispensable figure of the Mexican Revolution. Villegas de Magnón founded La Cruz Blanca Constitucionalista, an organization of nurses formed in 1913 to treat the injured during the bloodiest years of the Mexican Revolution.

In her autobiography, Villegas de Magnón narrates the decisive moment in which she is called to serve as nurse by a “strange force that she does not resist,” thus fulfilling a vision that her mother had once described to her:

La Rebelde despertó de su intranquilo sueño al oír resonar los primeros tiros en ambos Laredos. Movida por una influencia extraña a la que no presto resistencia, se vistió precipitadamente. Con calma escribió en un sobre ya usado que encontró sobre de la mesa: ‘Hijitos cuando se levanten vayan a la casa de su tío, allí espérenme, volveré pronto’. Eran las seis de la mañana, las calles desiertas a esas horas no la desanimaron; se dispuso a ir inmediatamente a auxiliar a los heridos.

El problema que ya estaba trazado en su vida fue resuelto en pocos momentos, en los que ya estaban visualizados por aquella madre que vio a su hija enarbolando una bandera blanca, la hora había sonado y obedecía a su llamado. La Rebelde resuelta a cumplir este patriótico y piadoso deber no vaciló; sin esperar abordó un automóvil que en esos momentos pasaba por su casa al mismo tiempo que llegaba otro con un grupo de señoritas que venían huyendo de Nuevo Laredo para escapar de las balas, diciéndole que toda la población de Nuevo Laredo estaba ya cruzando el puente para el lado americano.

La Rebelde las hizo ver en el acto que era necesario regresar, se bajaron de su coche para abordar el de La Rebelde. (60-61)

Leonor Villegas de Magnón and Aracelito Garcia dredsed in white next to the flag of La Cruz Blanca (White Cross), 1914

Leonor Villegas de Magnón and Aracelito Garcia with flag of La Cruz Blanca, 1914. From Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage’s Leonor Villegas de Magnón Collection

La hora había sonado. It was time. Magnón hears the sounds of battle, the firing of guns,and she does not run from them but runs towards them with an almost impulsive resoluteness. She writes a short note to her children, instructing them to go to their uncle’s and assuring them that she will be back. She takes with her a group of brave women that eventually would become the first group of nurses of La Cruz Blanca Constitucionalista.

So begins this magnificent chapter in Mexican and Mexican American history; more importantly, so begins a chapter in women’s history that is often overlooked. I envision these women, heroes, rushing towards the battle sounds and feel pride and inspiration. And, I am reminded that the story of Hispanics/Latin@s has always been inspiring. It simply needs to be told. 

Stay tuned for a Leonor Villegas de Magnón exhibit at Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections

Villegas, de Magnon, Leonor and Clara Lomas. La Rebelde. Houston, Texas: Arte Público Press. 2004. Print.

Melinda Mejia is an instructor of English and Humanities at Houston Community College. She received her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University at Buffalo – SUNY in 2014. Her current projects include creating an Open Educational Resource in Mexican-American Studies and an article on the concept of translation in Maria Cristina Mena’s writing.

Workshop: Introduction to Using Digital Tools in Recovery Research

laptop on left, open notebook on right

University of Houston Downtown
Thursday, February 20, 2020
Instructors: Gabriela Baeza Ventura, PhD; Carolina Villarroel, PhD, CA and Lorena Gauthereau, PhD

This workshop explores analog and digital methodologies to create scholarship and knowledge around the experiences of US Latinas/os. This workshop will provide an overview of how to use US Latina/o archival material to create digital projects and assignments in order to contest the historical record. Drawing from the rich collections at the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage, we will demonstrate free, easy-to-use software that can be used to create historical timelines, online exhibits of historical photographs/documents and dynamic story maps. We will emphasize methodologies that center US Latina/o experiences and ask participants to consider how the digital space can function as a site of resistance.

Some of the questions that this workshop will include, but are not limited to are the following:

  • How to identify materials for future projects (research, copyright issues, etc.)?
  • How do we create meaningful and respectful data?
  • How do we work with the community owners of the knowledge?
  • How do we create knowledge and scholarship based on these materials?
  • How do we engage local communities?

Participants will take part in a guided activity in which they brainstorm potential digital projects and assignments based on their own research interests. Participants will leave the workshop with knowledge of how to use Recovery’s databases, a list of digital resources, a digital bibliography, a list of free software and draft idea for a potential digital project. No prior technical knowledge is required in this course. Anyone with an interest in US Latina/o studies and digital studies is welcome. Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops. Computers will not be provided.

This course is based on the work of the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage and the US Latino Digital Humanities programs located at the University of Houston.

Sign up for workshop by clicking here.

  • Conference participants $20
  • Non-conference participants $50

Spaces are limited. Deadline to sign up: February 14, 2019.

#GivingTuesday

Two hands holding a small gift wrapped in red and white holiday wrapping paper

If you missed #GivingTuesday, don’t worry–it’s not too late to donate to Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage and Arte Público Press!

Your donations help to support our mission to further children’s literacy, create materials for education at all levels and promote Latino culture as part of the national identity of the United States. Your donation is entirely tax-deductible.

You can donate by visiting the University of Houston College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences (CLASS) donation page at https://giving.uh.edu/class/.

Use the drop down menu under “I would like to make a gift to benefit the following:” to select Arte Público Press and enter a dollar amount. If you would like to further designate this gift specifically for Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (Recovery) or the US Latino Digital Humanities program (USLDH), please do so in the text box.

Join us at Houston Archives Bazaar

HOUSTON, Texas, Archivists of the Houston Area (AHA!) — Join the Archivists of the Houston Area for the second biennial Houston Archives Bazaar on Sunday, November 17 from 10am to 2pm at White Oak Music Hall, 2715 N Main Street, Houston TX 77089. This free, family event is an opportunity for Houston communities to engage with historical collections and resources. Discover local histories, share your stories, and learn to preserve them! Featuring interactive activities and exhibitors from over twenty Houston and Gulf-Coast area archives, at the Houston Archives Bazaar (HAB) visitors will learn about the Bayou City’s diverse and extensive historical resources in the Resource Gallery; have a conversation and connect with knowledgeable archivists at the Ask-An-Archivist station; bring up to five personal items and gain hands-on experience digitizing family photographs, letters, documents, and other treasured personal materials at the Digital Memories Booth; and learn preservation and wet salvage techniques in demonstrations by TX-CERA. Complete your Passport to Houston Archives to win giveaways and more! Visitors are encouraged to bring items to contribute to the Houston Time Capsule, which will be “buried” under a 30-year restriction in the AHA! records at the Woodson Research Center. Visitors are also encouraged to share a story about Houston in the Oral History Storytelling Booth, contributing to the growing collection of HAB oral histories that began in 2017. The Archivists of the Houston Area is a professional organization that exists to increase contact and communication between archivists and those working with records, to provide opportunities for professional development, and to promote archival repositories and activities in the greater Houston, Texas area.

For more information, visit the website at www.houstonarchivesbazaar.org, or contact houstonarchives@gmail.com. See you there!

Special thanks to HAB2019 sponsors:

Repository Level: Woodson Research Center, Rice University; Texas Historical Records Advisory Board; University of Houston Libraries

Collection Level: Houston Community College Office of Records Management Series Level: Society of Southwest Archivists

In-kind: Brazos Bookstore, Copy.com, Hollinger Metal Edge, Preservation Houston, White Oak Music Hall, Arte Público Press/Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage

Opportunities: Grants and Postdoc Fellowship

Thanks to generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage is offering two opportunities: 7 Grants-in-aid and 1 Postdoctoral Fellowship in Digital Humanities.

Grants-in-Aid

The Mellon-funded Grants-in-Aid program is designed to provide a stipend to scholars for research and development of digital scholarship in the form of a digital publication and/or a digital project. The grant covers any expense connected with research that will advance a project to the next stage or to a successful conclusion.

Scholars at different stages of their careers (Academics, librarians, advanced graduate students, independent scholars, etc.) are encouraged to apply for a stipend of up to $7,500 for investigative work. Grantees are expected to budget for a 2-day trip to Houston for in-person training at Recovery. We welcome applications in one of the following areas:

  • Identification, location and recovery of any wide variety of historical documents and/or literary genres, including conventional literary prose and poetry, and such forms as letters, diaries, memoirs, testimonials, periodicals, historical records and written expressions of oral traditions, folklore and popular culture. Any documents that could prove relevant to the goals of the program will also be considered. The emphasis is on works by Mexican/Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Spanish, Central and South American and other Latina/o residents of what has become the United States, from the Colonial period to 1980.
  • We especially encourage projects highlighting US Latina voices.
  • Bibliographic compilations, indexing projects pertaining to any of the above. Compilation of reference works, e.g. bibliographic dictionaries, thematic datasets, linguistic corpus, etc.
  • Study of recovered primary source(s) for potential digital publication, including: text analysis, thematic dataset creation, visualization, etc.

To apply, please submit a letter of interest, project description (2-3 pages), proposed budget (include 2-day visit to Houston), CV and 2 letters of recommendation via email to recovery@uh.edu by December 20, 2019.

Read more about the Grants-in-Aid program on our website by clicking here.

Postdoctoral Fellowship in US Latino Digital Humanities

The application period is now open for a two-year Mellon-funded postdoctoral fellowship in US Latino Digital Humanities (USLDH), a division of Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage program (Recovery) at the University of Houston. The program is looking for a recent (less than 5 years) Ph.D. graduate with background expertise in US Latino Studies. The postdoctoral fellow will help re-vision new strategies for data hosted at Recovery in support of teaching, research and community engagement and help to develop initiatives that will enhance collections and scholarship in the field. USLDH will provide the selected candidate with the necessary training in digital tools, metadata and digitization standards, project and content management systems and platforms. The fellow will be expected to create and publish a significant DH project using Recovery’s archives, assist with instruction, support projects and scholars, serve as a mentor for Research Fellows, lead workshops and collaborate in the creation and implementation of toolkits and other pedagogical tools. The postdoctoral fellow will give one university-wide presentation per year at the University of Houston and will have opportunities to teach courses or be invited as a lecturer at partner departments.

Apply online through the UH Job Portal. View full job posting and apply online at by clicking here.

Deadline: December 20, 2019.


The Importance of Banned Books

Arte Público Press just celebrated Banned Books Week! (Sept. 22-28). In light of this event promoted by the American Library Association and Amnesty International, we want to present three books worth checking out.

Books get banned for a number of reasons. Although it is understandable when it comes to some, most deserve to be read. We live in an age of mass censorship. A time when free speech is hindered and people struggle to get their voices heard. This trend, however, is not something totally new. The voices of minority groups have been silenced, forgotten, and neglected in U.S. history. This has been done through many different means and is still happening through the banning of books. Without them, people may never learn about the history of different minority groups and come to a better understanding of the history that they are tied to.

In historical writing, one of the things that is valued by historians are different interpretations. One true interpretation is not possible as anything claiming to be so would overlook many historical details. This is why having different interpretations is so important. With each, we come to a fuller story of a particular historical event. Some of the types of books that help with this are ones by people who were part of these events.

Book banning perpetuates the long history of silencing different narratives.

Here are three of our very own Arte Público Press books that have been banned at some point.

One of these banned books is F. Arturo Rosales’ Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. This nonfiction text chronicles an important movement in US civil rights history and is based on the four-part PBS docuseries of the same name. In addition to explaining the movement itself, Rosales begins by providing rich historical background and discussing the historical events leading up to the movement, such as the Mexican Revolution. Rosales provides a comprehensive account of the Chicano movement.

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Another Arte Público Press banned book is Message to Aztlán: Selected Writings of Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez. This collection gives personal insight into the Chicana/o movement. Gonzalez was a Boxer, poet and political activist and was responsible for the first Chicano youth conference in March 1969. It’s surprising that such an important historical figure’s work would be banned. Gonzales’ book contains poems, speeches, plays, and correspondence related to the Mexican American experience. By banning this book (and others like it) it could prevent other people who identify as Mexican American from discovering it and strengthening their identity.

Image result for message to aztlan selected writings

Tomás Rivera’s …y no se lo tragó la tierra/…And the Earth Did Not Devour Him also deals with Mexican American civil rights. It is a novel about the struggles Mexican Americans had to go through as migrant farm workers. It is told through the perspective of a boy and it’s one that reaches the heart of the Mexican American community. The banning of this book in particular is very disheartening. It reflects the experiences of many Mexican Americans today in the U.S. More importantly, without ethnic literature such as this, Mexican Americans may not have the opportunity to see themselves reflected in literature.


Emiliano Orozco is a PhD candidate in the History Department at the University of Houston and a Research Fellow with Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage. His research interests include the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands with an emphasis on colonial Nuevo León and early state development.

News Release: USLDH Digital Programs Manager

Dr. Lorena Gauthereau, former CLIR-Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Houston, joins Arte Público Press/Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage as the new Digital Programs Manager. Gauthereau will support research, training and projects in the Digital Humanities and Social Engagement as part of the US Latino Digital Humanities program. A $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has been awarded to the University of Houston to establish a first-of-its-kind US Latino Digital Humanities Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. The program will give scholars expanded access to a vast collection of written materials produced by Latinos and archived by the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage (“Recovery”) program and UH’s Arte Público Press, the nation’s largest publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by Hispanic authors from the United States.

Gauthereau will build on her previous work at Recovery as a Fellow, which includes digital and archival research, data curation, digital humanities training, project management, social engagement and public humanities community events.

Gauthereau received her PhD from Rice University in 2017. Previously, she worked as the Americas Studies Researcher on the Our Americas Archive Partnership at Rice University, a project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS). She joined the UH team at Recovery in August 2017.

U.S. Latino Digital Humanities Program to Launch at UH with Mellon Foundation Grant

A $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has been awarded to the University of Houston to establish a first-of-its-kind U.S. Latino Digital Humanities Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Read the complete news release here: U.S. Latino Digital Humanities Program to Launch at UH with Mellon Foundation Grant

Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (Recovery) has digitized hundreds of thousands of documents once at risk of being lost forever — from books and newspapers to manuscripts and personal papers — and made them available for international distribution.