2016-2017 Sherman Graduate Fellows

Once again, we received an excellent pool of applications for the Sherman Centre Graduate Fellowship, indicative of the growth of digital scholarship and the digital humanities at McMaster as well as the interest of emerging scholars in the digital as a tool for their work.  After thoughtful consideration, we selected the three individuals below to receive the $1500 stipend and workspace in the Centre for the coming academic year. We are eager to start working with them and to see the contributions that they will make to the growing community of Sherman researchers.

Mica Jorgenson – History

Photo of SCDS Grad Resident Mica Jorgenson. She is smiling.

This Sherman Centre Fellowship project supplements my doctorate research on the environmental history of nineteenth century global gold rushes. My in-progress dissertation argues that international influences affected Canadian relationships with nature during the industrialisation of the primary resource industry. I use the Porcupine gold rush in northern Ontario as a case study to show how transnational forces can effect local environments. The current project is a flow map of people, goods, and ideas moving around the world between 1848 (the first gold rush in California) and 1909 (Porcupine). Although not an exhaustive list of every gold rush person, object, and idea that crossed the globe in the late nineteenth century it reveals patterns which complicate my archival research. Using a database of moved objects compiled during primary research, the flow map project seeks to identify directional and thematic trends in overseas movements associated with the gold rush. The current project builds on previous mapping projects in which I overlayed historic maps onto modern satellite imagery to show changes in claim boundaries and waterways over time. By treating the gold rushes as linked international events, this work (and my dissertation as a whole) challenges the dominant trend in the historical discipline toward national research constrained by political borders.

Kelsey Leonard – Political Science

Photo of SCDS Graduate Resident Kelsey Leonard. She is smiling in front of a white wall.

This digital scholarship project will develop on an online toolkit, or data portal, that consolidates available data on water security issues affecting Indigenous Nations in the Columbia River Basin (CRB) and Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin (GLSLB). Indigenous Nations are increasingly experiencing the effects of climate change and taking steps to adapt to current and future environmental risks. In response to ecological changes and altered human activities, First Nations in Canada and the United States are creating climate change adaptation programs for water security. The management of water resources by First Nations is inherently transboundary as those nations existed prior to modern border delineations. The digital scholarship project highlights First Nation strategies from the CRB and GLSLB to enhance equitable and responsible management of Indigenous water resources. Highlighting the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of First Nations and advancing innovation pathways through Indigenous mapping using story maps and geospatial data. 

Samantha Stevens-Hall – History

Photograph of SCDS Graduate Resident Samatha Stevens Hall smiling at the camera

The proposed project is a public access online database of primary source and supplementary materials in African intellectual history. The materials incorporated come from my archival work for my dissertation. This database would bring together these scattered sources into one easily accessible online resource. The database will initially have three portfolios of Uganda intellectuals from the period of transition to British colonial rule in Uganda in East Africa. These portfolios will be comprised of short biographies, no more than 500 words, written in an encyclopaedic style and accompanied with a few excerpts from their written works, no more than five pages each. The excerpts will be selected to show the dynamic character and variety in their writing as a means to support the key arguments in my thesis that these men were multidimensional figures engaged in a vibrant culture of knowledge exchange and debate over representations of the past. One challenge for this project will be acquiring copyright for all the excerpts I wish to include. This may prove to be a complicated and time-consuming task as the documents are the property of a mix of private and public owners. I would also like to include a historiographic essay that draws together the primary source materials and offers suggestions for how to use them in teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and beyond.