Mapping Black Imaginaries and Geographies (MAPPING BIG) is a public humanities project designed by Professor Julian Chambliss that is inspired by Critical Afrofuturist and Black Digital Humanities ideology. Mapping BIG projects seek to explore black spaces and ideologies that shape them.

These efforts utilize digital humanities methodology to celebrate how African Americans built community and promote notions of citizenship in the aftermath of Reconstruction. Previous projects have recovered a historic black newspaper and explored community ethos in a black town through a documentary podcast project. This  project explore black spaces and ideologies that shape them by utilizing a digital methodology framework break down barriers of geography and chronology by mapping, visualizing, and cataloging the production of black space.

Image of Booker T. Washington Hall at Hungerford School in Eatonville, Florida

This presentation for the Smithsonian Claiming Space Symposium examines how black town activism in the post-Reconstruction United States represents Afrofuturist practice. This presentation situates black town activism within pattern of black counterpublic practice after Reconstruction that sought to imagine future spaces that sustained black people and created spaces for future progress.

Recovering Black Space: The Negro Yearbook and the Black Experience

Our understanding of African-American places is obscured by institutional erasure rooted in race and economic marginalization linked to black life in the United States. This project seeks to use the unique information contained in those editions of the Negro Year Book in the public domain to highlight the experience of black spaces in the United States. In framing the project this way, we acknowledge emerging pedagogical and scholarly literature around black geographies, which recognize how race and place are linked. The approach highlights the need to engage in seeing and understanding the socio-spatial relationships that define place and questioning the application of power that has systematically erased those black spaces from the record.

Technoculture, Data, and Access

Inspired by the intersections of Black Digital Humanities and Critical Afrofuturism framework, Mapping BIG project within the DHLC actively seek to explore the intersection between technology, culture, and race.

Dr. Julian Chambliss spoke with Jon Gosier about his memoir, Code Switch: A Memoir, in March 2023.  Described as a personal odyssey through his experience with technology in the United States and Africa, their conversation highlights the ways narrative around technology have evolved since the turn of the century.