Digital Archives, Mapping, and Community Building with CUNY

ITP student Gisely Colon Lopez (PhD in Urban Education) developed the following independent study project

Faculty advisor: Michael Mandiberg

For my ITP project, I was interested in developing a practical project that I could use with the courses I teach to integrate digital archives, digital mapping, and community building. Since I teach at CUNY, I decided to explore way to activate the CUNY Digital History Archive so students learn CUNY history and also be able to map historical aspects of the university with the hopes that it would transform their experience as a student. The intention is to engage students with the physical locations of their CUNY campuses through spatial technologies as a method of transcending decades of history and connecting to their own realities as current students of the universities. We begin by exploring how to use digital mapping tools, often mapping our favorite food vendor locations related to Puerto Rican and Latino communities. Once students are comfortable with placing markers onto our digital course map, we engage with the CUNY Digital History Archive and map items that stood out to us. Towards the end of the semester, students engage in an ethnographic exploration of a neighborhood of their choice to demonstrate knowledge from the course. After exploring different digital mapping tools, we use Open Street Map and uMap as our digital mapping platforms.

Tags: mapping, ethnic studies, project based pedagogy