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African Americans and other underserved communities have lacked access to the most powerful broadband and information technology tools, creating what has been termed a ”digital divide” that separates the information “haves” and “have nots.” For more than ten years scholars in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois have played key roles in the continuing discussion of how digital technologies will impact the broader society and the Black community, and how the field of African American Studies can make use of these technologies. Illinois hosted the first eBlack Studies workshop www.eblackstudies.org and collaborated in the launch of FIRE!!! The Multimedia Journal of Black Studies http://fire-jbs.org, (which will publish the proceedings of this panel).
This panel will overview of the use of digital technologies in African American Studies and report on a new collaboration proposed to the Mellon Foundation. The project will endeavor to incorporate modern digital practices into the publication of Black Studies scholarship and ensure its dissemination to the widest possible audiences. At Illinois, we will build on an innovative academic ecosystem, with collaborators including the University Library, the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences, and the Department of African American Studies. We will also build upon and extend several Mellon-funded initiatives, including the Humanities Without Walls initiative (www.humanitieswithoutwalls.illinois.edu) and digital projects organized by the HBCU Library Alliance (www.hbculibraries.org). Expanding the use of digital publishing in underserved communities is a key objective of the project.
Digital Tools and Black Studies: An Overview - Ronald W Bailey, University of Illinois
Building a Collaboration to Support Digital Publishing: The Case of the University of Illinois - Harriett Green, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Digital Tools and Publishing Opportunities: The Case of Fire!!! The Multimedia Journal in Black Studies - Marilyn Thomas-Houston, University of Florida