Research and Digital Humanities

Rethinking Immigration in 1930s Burma

An example of my interactive ArcGIS map in use, providing the 1931 demographic data for each district of colonial Burma (Courtesy: Esri, ArcGIS Online).

Digital humanities methodology, including ArcGIS and data analysis, provided a crucial complement to my dissertation research. Using data from the 1931 British census of Burma, supplemented by indigenous primary sources including the newspaper New Burma, I have mapped and charted out the demographics of Burma in the 1930s in order to better understand the realities that lied behind competing leftist and rightist anti-colonial projects. I have created a visualization of this data, and the crucial interpretations they provide to my work, using Esri’s StoryMaps software.

Women Writers Project

In the spring term of 2019, I joined the Women Writers Project at Northeastern’s digital humanities center, the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks. The project’s goal is to bring a large corpus of texts written by pre-Victorian women writers out of the archive and to make them accessible to a wide audience of teachers, students, scholars, and the general reader. While assisting the project in digitizing the texts and standardizing them into the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) format, I also performed research on the intersections of gender, race, and Orientalist thinking in Anglo-American women’s writing in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In the product of my research, “‘Treasures More Permanent Than the Commercial:’ Orientalism & The Civilizing Mission in Women Writers Online,” I found that women contributed as much as men in building ideas about the civilizing mission and in constructing gender roles in the British and American imperial projects of the time.

“View of the Imperial Court at Ummerapoora [Amarapura], and the Ceremony of Introduction”, drawn by Singey Bey, engraved by T. Medland. From the 1799 edition of An account of an embassy to the kingdom of Ava, sent by the Governor-General of India, in the year 1795 by Michael Symes. Public domain; Wikimedia Commons.

Birth of Boston

In the summers of 2018 and 2019, I served as a research assistant and founding member of the Birth of Boston project at the NULab under the supervision of Professor Christopher Parsons. This undertaking seeks to construct a more complex and inclusive understanding of early Boston by working closely with the Massachusetts Historical Society, using materials from their collections to investigate how historical narratives and data can be located geographically. My colleague Molly Nebiolo and I created a prototype interactive map of Boston in 1648 that allows users to click on land parcels to learn about each inhabitant that lived there. The map includes information on names, birth and death dates, occupations, family members, and events associated with the residents of each parcel. In so doing, the project has laid the groundwork for researchers to explore the stories of people of color and indigenous people, who had as fundamental a role in shaping the development of early Boston as famous English figures like John Winthrop or John Cotton did.

An example of the data gathered from the Massachusetts Historical Society archives.

Breaking History Podcast

Breaking History Podcast is a forum where graduate students and scholars of history can share their research with their peers and with the general public. A production of the Northeastern University History Graduate Student Association, it was founded in 2016 by then-PhD-candidates James Robinson, Matthew Bowser, James Parker, Bridget Keown, and Thanasis Kinias.

You can find every episode on our Soundcloud.

The podcast includes interviews with renowned scholars in the Northeastern History Department and beyond. One of our most important projects was a three part interview with Dr. Kemal Teruc, who provided an oral history of his lived experience during the CIA-sponsored coup of General Suharto in Indonesia and the resulting anti-Communist massacres in 1965-1966.

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