We are excited to announce that Assistant Professor of Psychology Nakia Hamlett and Professor of Psychology Jefferson Singer joined the Digital Scholarship Fellows program this semester to continue work on their Just Futures New London project. The three-year project is part of the multi-institutional Crafting Democratic Futures: Situating Colleges and Universities in Community-based Reparations Solutions (University of Michigan) grant project, which is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Just Futures Initiative. Hamlett and Singer’s project team includes partners in the library, including the Digital Scholarship & Curriculum Center and Linda Lear Special Collections Librarian Jenifer Ishee, as well as students at New London High School and Connecticut College, and many community partners in New London.
In summer 2021, Hamlett and Singer recruited and trained New London High School students to conduct oral history interviews with city elders who shared their personal stories of racial identity, with a focus on housing discrimination in New London. Another round of interviews is planned for summer 2022. The project looks at narrative identity on two complementary levels: (1) the personal life-stories, memories, and scripts that grow from the individual’s unique experiences; and (2) the internalized story of how racism has been explained and narrated to the individual, in order to understand not only how these narratives are internalized, but also the patterns of transmission from one individual to another within families and the larger sociocultural context of one’s life (i.e., school, peer relationships, political affiliations). The project team hopes to gain a better understanding of the race-related themes as they impact identity and personality (e.g., belonging, struggle, negativity, oppression, loss, suffering), as well as traumatic stress. Further, Hamlett, Singer, and team seek to learn first-hand from New London community members what is needed to right historical wrongs and create equity for current and future generations. Ultimately, they hope to serve as allies in communicating participants’ stories in ways that can contribute to more informed school curricula and reparative civic action.
The Digital Scholarship Fellows program is supporting the hiring of two Connecticut College student project assistants: Linh Nguyen ‘23, who is developing a website for the project, and Alana Reiss ‘22, who will use NVivo software to conduct data coding and analysis of the interview audio transcriptions. Additionally, Digital Scholarship Assistant Lydia Klein ‘22 worked on the project this fall to determine the most efficient protocol for transcribing the audio files from interviews conducted earlier this year.
If you are interested in conducting oral history interviews as part of a research project or class assignment, the Digital Scholarship & Curriculum Center offers experience, software, recording equipment, and training to support your project. Please contact Lyndsay Bratton (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.