• Not JUST Data

    Monday, Feb 22, 2021
    When Ruha Benjamin was 14, she moved from South Carolina to the South Pacific with her parents, educators tasked with curriculum development and teacher training in Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands. To keep the family entertained, her father brought boxes of VHS tapes filled with “Star Trek” episodes.
  • Inside the JUST DATA Lab with Trina Swanson '20

    Tuesday, Jul 28, 2020
    For Trina Swanson ’20 and her colleagues at the JUST DATA Lab, data is a means more than an end. Founded by Professor Ruha Benjamin (African American Studies), a member of the Center for Digital Humanities (CDH) Executive Board, the JUST DATA Lab aims both to analyze data within its historical and social contexts and to deploy it to advance justice and equality.
  • Inaugural Lunder Institute for American Art Research Fellows

    Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019

    Beginning in September 2019, the Lunder Institute for American Art will host annually a Distinguished Scholar and a group of Research Fellows at varying stages of their careers to pursue original scholarship around a topic of particular concern to the field of American art. As the Lunder Institute Distinguished Scholar and Director of Research, Tanya Sheehan (William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Art, Colby College) is overseeing the inaugural program in 2019–20, which will focus on work by African American artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

  • White Supremacy and Artificial Intelligence

    Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019
    In her new book Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code, Ruha Benjamin breaks down the “New Jim Code,” technology design that promises a utopian future but serves racial hierarchies and racial bias. When people change how they speak or act in order to conform to dominant norms, we call it “code-switching.” And, like other types of codes, the practice of code-switching is power-laden. Justine Cassell, a professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, creates educational programs for children and found that avatars using African American Vernacular English lead Black children “to achieve better results in teaching scientific concepts than when the computer spoke in standard English.” But when it came to tutoring the children for class presentations, she explained that, “We wanted it [the avatar] to practice with them in ‘proper English.’ Standard American English is still the code of power, so we needed to develop an agent that would train them in code-switching.” This reminds us that whoever defines the standard expression exercises power over everyone else, who is forced to fit in or else risks getting pushed out. But what is the alternative?
  • Princeton Ethiopian Miracles of Mary Project Receives CDH Research Partnership Grant

    Tuesday, Jun 25, 2019

    Stories have been told for almost two millennia about the Virgin Mary and the miracles she has performed for the faithful who call upon her name. One of the most important collections of such folktales is the body of almost 700 Ethiopian Marian miracles, written from the 1300s through the 1900s, in the ancient African language of Gəˁəz (also known as classical Ethiopic).

  • Donald Goines and the Birth of Black Pulp Fiction

    Thursday, May 23, 2019
    Donald Joseph Goines was born on December 15, 1936, in Chicago. Father Joseph and mother Myrtle were hardworking migrants from the South who had managed to open up their own cleaning store. Around 1940 the family, which included older sister Marie, relocated to Detroit and resumed the cleaning business. It was in the Motor City that, ac­cording to biographer Eddie B. Allen Jr., Goines started down a dark path.


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