Claire Elise Heckel
- Faculty Member
- University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Reading against the Catalog: Reconstructing object histories in the Plains Indian collections at the AMNH
This project draws on detailed studies of objects in the Plains Indian collections at the American Museum of Natural History, conducted over two years (2016-2018) during a post-doctoral fellowship in the Museum’s Anthropology Division. Informed by approaches to material culture in the field of prehistoric archaeology, it positions objects as primary documents in the reconstruction of complex social histories on the Plains between 1890 and 1920 and challenges both the conventional classificatory schema of ethnological museum collections and the historical narratives that accompany them. Data sharing of the detailed results of attribute analysis conducted on each object facilitates remote collaboration with specialists from source communities. The ultimate product is a book-length monograph co-authored with source-community collaborators.
Expanding the Digital Library on American Slavery through Local, Community-Engaged Digital Humanities Research
Collaborative, community-engaged research is an invaluable tool for healing and transformation in the face of traumatic histories like that of slavery in the American South. Leveraging the infrastructure and expertise of the Digital Library on American Slavery (DLAS), the goal of this project is to expand ongoing digital archival research to three additional public universities in North Carolina through a set of interrelated research projects that engage and empower local communities while fostering collaboration among scholars at diverse stages of their professional development. As scholars at these three institutions engage in local research projects, regular convenings will present opportunities for collaboration around the themes of theory and praxis in community-engaged scholarship.