Freedom Narratives of the Atlantic Slave Trade

To apply for this project, please submit your resume and cover letter via an Expression of Interest Form.
Faculty Member's Name Paul E. Lovejoy
Faculty Member's Email Address*
Faculty Member's Primary Academic unit: Department of History
Project Title Freedom Narratives of the Atlantic Slave Trade
Description of Research Project
The Freedom Narratives Project, funded by SSHRC, involves the development of an open source, relational database and website ( of biographical data on individuals born in West Africa during the era of trans-Atlantic slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. The Project involves the collection of data on individuals and the preparation of data for entry into spread sheets and ultimately for ingesting into the website. After a PDF of all primary sources materials has been isolated and a brief summary is composed of what is known about each individual, information is then entered on spread sheets according to the metadata fields that have been designed. The spread sheets then form the basis of information sent to the Matrix Center for Digital Humanities and Social Science at Michigan State University, which has designed the back end of the website according to its Kora platform.
Undergraduate Student Responsibilities
The student will survey published materials on expressive cultures and the African diaspora. This would also require updating the existing bibliography for the project and creating or uploading PDF versions of all materials into a database. In addition, the student would assist in the implementation of the project website (, including the ingestion of data, videos, images, and recordings of materials that are already available in the collections of collaborators. The student would also write a paper or report for the project team that outlines what research has been done, based on an analysis of the materials that have been assembled. It is possible that such a paper/report would be submitted to the undergraduate conference hosted by the Tubman Institute.
Qualifications Required
The student should have experience in bibliographic work, research in surfing the web and exploring library resources, and computer skills in working with the development of websites. The student needs to be able to work with visual editing software and have experience in creating visual database. Knowledge of French, Portuguese or Spanish is desirable. Experience in various dimensions of cultural production is required. The student should have knowledge of cultural studies, communication theory, and preferably knowledge of the African diaspora.