Jean’s blog post (1): review on Black Press Research Collective

Blog post on Black Press Research Collective

Archival Necessity

Black Press Research Collective (BPRC) aims to promote a digital scholarship centered on the subject matters of Black Diaspora and pan-Africanism through a digitization, analysis, and distribution of black newspapers (and at times, magazines) published by African descendants. BPRC believes, drawing on Colin A. Palmer’s notion of African Diasporas, African descendants are bound together in opposition to racial oppression in various periods and settings across the globe including the African continent. Also, modelled on The Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC)’s research service, BPRC, documenting global black press, seeks to generate new methodologies appropriate to this concept of Black Diaspora and a construction of pan-African communities, which evade or challenge the approaches in more traditional research methodology. In so doing, BPRC is intended to encourage new generations of scholars in the study of black newspapers and their significance in African Diasporic communities.

Audiences & Designs

BPRC’s audiences are primarily academic (and journalistic) scholars that are interested in global black press with their previous understanding of the concept and history of Black Diaspora. Also, BPRC provides digitized and analyzed resources for educators in this area of study. The level of knowledge and information (centered on the scholarship and publication of black press) appears directed toward a specialized audience rather than a general audience. The section of “Data Visualization and Multimedia” also is designed for academic educators (rather than students or unprofessional researchers). The section of “Resources” (which includes the information of conferences, call for papers, fellowship, and relevant organizations) is also specifically addressing the interests of specialized scholars and academics.

The Creator & Their Relationship to Materials?

BPRC’s founder/director is Kim Gallon, an Assistant Professor of History at Purdue University. At this time, the founder appears being in full charge of updating this archive though I’m not sure whether there are more members involved in consideration of the archive’s collective purposes in line with the modes of African Diasporas and pan-Africanism. It’s still unclear how the materials are gathered and distributed collaboratively. (The materials seemed accumulated, categorized, and displayed through Gallon’s scholarly investments.)

Technologies & Skills

BPRC looks like a conventional blog (without interactive function or anything multimodally complex.) I think, to create and operate this kind of archive (which mainly provides the written information with a bit of supplementary analysis of material using the methods in Digital Humanities), one needs to know HTML and Data Visualization tools.   

Learning from the BPRC (for future projects)

BPRC’s focus on global black press (tied to the historical conditions of African Diasporas) is admirably meaningful and ambitious, and its pursuit of new methodologies (for dispersed subjects and specificities) sounds adequate for a digital scholarship in that area of study. However, I’m not sure how much this project is materialized as a collaborative project of using researchers and resources from everywhere (in various languages) across the globe. I haven’t got in touch with the creator/director of the archive, but I’m curious to know the strategies of outreach for this archive as it appears that the archive couldn’t solicit decentralized contributions from other interested researchers and scholars.