New HILT course on: Digital Humanities + Latinx Studies

Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage/Arte Públic Press is excited to announce that Drs. Carolina Villarroel and Gabriela Baeza Ventura will be teaching a course at Humanities Intensive Learning and Teaching (HILT) June 3-7, 2019. The course, “Digital Humanities + Latinx Studies: Doing Work that Matters” 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 to rethink these processes in order to incorporate these underrepresented communities and their history within the institutional discourse. Villarroel and Baeza Ventura will guide the class in interrogating 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 the local communities?

Participants are expected to 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 26 years of locating, preserving, and making available the written legacy of Latinx in the US since colonial times until 1960.

HILT will be held at the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Indiana. For more information, please visit the HILT website:

Registration is now open for HILT:


Borderlands of Southern Colorado

El Pueblo History Museum in Colorado is kicking off their Fall Borderlands Lecture Series today, October 4, 2018. Among the 2018 Fall line up is Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Graduate Research Assistant and University of Houston Hispanic Studies doctoral candidate, Sylvia Fernández. She will be presenting “Understanding US-Mexico Borderlands: Newspapers Mapping Geographical Boundaries” with her colleague, Maira Álvarez, on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at 6:00 pm.

Abstract: “Understanding US-Mexico Borderlands: Newspapers Mapping Geographical Boundaries,” Maira Álvarez and Sylvia Fernández (University of Houston) Abstract cross-posted from El Pueblo History Museum website (See original page here.)

National discourses about the border continue to generalize, stereotype and invisibilize the history of communities along the region. But many are unaware that borderland identities have emerged throughout history as a result of the loss of territory, immigrations, exile and deterritorialization. Borderlands Archives Cartography was created to visualize, document and analyze the junction of several cultures and the diverse histories of borderlands “to embrace our past and honor the multiple experiences of our communities.” The project uses a digital map to display a U.S.-Mexico border cartography that records the geographic locations of 19th- and mid-20th-century periodicals in order to conceptualize this region before and after the current division line. BAC’s objective is to understand the complexity of borderlands history, identities and cultures to resist the continuing discourses against this extensive region.


El Pueblo History Museum is located in Pueblo, Colorado. For more information, visit:

Sylvia Fernández: is a Ph.D. Candidate in Hispanic Studies at the University of Houston and a Research Fellow with Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage. Her research interests include U.S. Latina/o Literature with a focus on U.S.-Mexico Border, Women’s, Gender and Sexualities Studies, Archives and Digital Humanities. She is co-creator of Borderlands Archives Cartography.

Maira Álvarez: is a Ph.D. Candidate and currently a Research Assistant for the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Houston. Her research interests include the study of U.S. Latino, U.S.-Mexico Border, and Latin American Literature as well as Women’s Studies, Latinx Art and Digital Humanities. She is co-creator of Borderlands Archives Cartography.

#SouthwesternDH: Regional Collaborations and Local Histories

Black and white vintage map of the United States and Mexico. Upper left hand corner reads: AMERICA SEPTENTRIO NALIS

A couple of weeks ago, my colleagues, Dr. Gabriela Baeza Ventura (Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Houston and Executive Editor at Arte Público Press) and Elizabeth Grumbach (Director of Digital Content and Special Programs for HASTAC @ ASU and Project Manager for the Nexus Digital Research Co-op at Arizona State University) travelled to Utah State University for the 3rd Utah Symposium on Digital Humanities. Together, we presented a panel titled, “Elaborating and Advancing #SouthwesternDH: An Interactive Organizing Panel” (see full abstract and links to the conference website and schedule below). Here are a few notes from the panel discussion.

field of snow, pine trees in background, building obscured by trees in background

Downtown Logan, UT

Why create regional collaborations?

One of the big questions we were asked was, “Why create regional collaborations?” People wanted to know why we set out to collect links to US Latinx and Southwestern DH projects and why we created a crowdsourced Google spreadsheet for people to contribute these links.

The Digital Humanities offers a great opportunity for humanists to collaborate with each other and with librarians, archivists, and information scientists. The field invites interdisciplinary collaboration, whether within the same university or across multiple institutions. Knowing who is doing what makes scholarship less isolating, and it provides you with a network for possible collaboration. Just because you already have a free-standing project or archive doesn’t mean it has to stand in isolation. As an example of a multi-institutional project, I mentioned an IMLS-funded, multi-institutional project I worked on in the past, the Our Americas Archive Partnership. This collaboration created a tool for searching various repositories at once, while also framing the selected collections within a hemispheric perspective. The project brought together collections from Rice University, the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), and Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. José María Luis Mora’s Ernesto de la Torre Villar Library. Another example is Around DH in 80 Days, which highlights 80 DH projects from around the world. Our panel suggests that we should also consider forming collaborative projects that are more regionally specific.

The Colored Conventions’ Black Digital Humanities Projects & Resources list inspired Recovery and HASTAC to create a crowd-sourced spreadsheet to document US Latinx and Southwestern projects. More and more lists of this sort are popping up on the Internet. Doctoral Student, Nikki Stevens even posted a HASTAC blog entry, “A list of DH lists” that—as her title suggests—lists several DH lists.

What’s the link between DH and Public Humanities?

Another discussion that came about during our interactive panel was how regional-specific work lends itself to public history work. Often, humanists tell themselves that local history belongs to the community and that our work ultimately benefits the community. This is not always the case. Too often historical scholarship on local communities—especially communities of color—remains inaccessible outside of the university. Digital Humanities, however, offers an avenue for creating public access to local histories. As Baeza Ventura and Recovery’s Director of Research, Carolina Villarroel, continuously mention in their presentations, when dealing with community histories, it’s important to keep in mind how digitization makes postcustodial archives possible. In other words, libraries, institutions, and scholars do not need to physically own community materials in order to manage records. Instead (as Recovery has been doing from the start), archives and scholars can digitize collections and return them to their rightful owners, then (with permission) share these archives in accessible ways that make sense for the collection. Here lies the opportunity to make local histories accessible to communities they represent.

#SouthwesternDH and #usLdh

The whole point behind having an interactive panel was to think through the importance of collaboration, ways to collaborate, and ways to network scholars together. We hope that this panel, our hashtags (#SouthwesterDH, #usldh), and our crowdsourced list will serve as a way for scholars to start creating fruitful networks; and that these networks will also lead to engaging public humanities projects.

Dr. Baeza Ventura gives an overview of Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage at the Utah Symposium on Digital Humanities (Feb. 23, 2018)

Abstract: Elaborating and Advancing #SouthwesternDH: An Interactive Organizing Panel

Projection screen: slide with text that reads

Gabriela Baeza Ventura, Executive editor of Arte Publico Press
Caronina A. Villarroel, Director of Research at Recovery
Lorena Gauthereau, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow
Jacqueline Wernimont, Nexus ASU and co-Director, HASTAC
Elizabeth Grumbach, Nexus ASU and HASTAC, Director of Digital Content and Special Programs

Our interactive panel is designed to focus on emerging regional alliances and future regional collaborations. Now in its third year, the Utah Symposium on the Digital Humanities has drawn together digital scholars of the southwest and beyond, and our panel proposes to harness this regional energy to enhance existing networks. We will begin with details about the regional and thematic alliance developed by the new University of Houston’s Latina/o Digital Humanities Center and the newly configured ASU Nexus Digital Research Co-op – an alliance that has begun organizing using the #SouthwesternDH hashtag.

Following introductory comments, our panel will facilitate a discussion with our participating audience on the needs of a #SouthwesternDH community, collaboratively document the conversation, and share that document with symposium attendees and beyond.

Other participatory discussions may include methods of sharing resources and goals, models of existing regional and thematic alliances, academic infrastructures that both support and hinder cross-institutional collaboration, and community archives, activism, and collaboration across institutional and physical borders.

Developing regional relationships allows us to elaborate and advance our distinctive southwestern approaches to DH, which includes our shared interests in critical race and gender studies, borderland and border theories, justice within multiple and overlapping sovereign spaces, and hybridized and resistant technology and art practices. In developing a regional coalition our interactive panel engages the symposium theme both theoretically and in embodied representation – we are foregrounding the work of traditionally underrepresented peoples and knowledge systems, including those who are not well represented by traditional “centers” on the eastern and western coasts of North America.

This panel builds on several recent developments in #SouthwesternDH including:

  • The 2017 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant awarded to the University of Houston to establish the first digital humanities center to specialize in US Latinx Studies.
  • The collaboration between the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project (Recovery) and Arte Público Press at the University of Houston to create new opportunities for the digital publication of Latinx scholarship and projects.
  • Arizona State University’s new role as the co-institutional hub for HASTAC, the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory.

We began developing #SouthwesternDH at the 2017 Digital Frontiers conference in Texas. Our hope is that the proposed interactive panel will create a forum in which we can share ideas and scholarship to build on and support efforts already underway in other southwestern locations, including the DH communities at Utah, Utah State, and UNLV, as well as allied groups like those in media archeology at CU Boulder.

See also:

3rd Utah Symposium on Digital Humanities (website).

3rd Utah Symposium on Digital Humanities (conference schedule).

Grumbach, Elizabeth. “#SouthwesternDH at DHU3.” HASTAC. 18 Feb. 2018.

Stevens, Nikki. “A List of DH Lists.” HASTAC. 19 JAN. 2018.

US Latinx and SouthwesternDH projects (crowd-sourced list): (You can also navigate to this list via our menu bar, under Digital Humanities.)

Lorena Gauthereau is a CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow at Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage at the University of Houston. Find her online at