General:'Thick,' Indigenized, and Issue-specific Analysis


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User Story Creator Identification

This is optional. Provide if you are comfortable doing so.

Name: Kate Higginson

Email: kate [at] kateh [dot] ca

Tell us something about your level of study and the type of institutional appointment you hold. 
Choose any of the terms below that apply to you:
* undergrad
* grad
* part-time instructor
* pre-tenure faculty member
* tenured faculty member
* archivist-librarian
* independent scholar
* creative practitioner
* interested citizen

Role: SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow

Institution: Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art & Culture

Field of Study/Creative Endeavor: Canadian and Aboriginal Story, Writing & Visual Culture


Please write a paragraph about your persona as a researcher: your position, your discipline, your general research interests, 
and the extent to which you use computers in your research. 
You may wish to mention particular tools that you use with some regularity.

My academic interests include early and contemporary Canadian and Aboriginal literatures; representations of captivity in colonial contact zones (primarily in Turtle Island/North America and Australia); issues of repatriation; visual culture (especially photography); historiography; and aspects of gender, race, and aboriginality in general. My introduction to collaborative humanities computing came a number of years ago as a GRA at Guelph for the Orlando Project.


Please provide a short description of the larger project from which this story emerges.

My doctoral dissertation, “Caught Up: Indigenous Re/presentations of Colonial Captivity,” examined the repression of, recovery of, and Indigenous response to, representations of pathogenic colonial practices of capturing and confining Indigenous peoples in the lands claimed by Canada, the United States, and Australia. My current project turns to a different aspect of Indigenous self-representation: the curative cultural practice of what I am calling “creative repatriation” or the conceptual (non-literal) relocation—through diverse artistic means, self-definition, and/or reference to Indigenous epistemologies—of First Nations items or subjects from (neo)colonial settings back to(wards) their communities of origin. The project aims to augment understandings of art’s value as a vehicle of self-definition, cultural recuperation and decolonization.


In lieu of a single story, I’ll list here a few quite specific research scenarios and challenges I would be keen to see us consider as CWRC develops:

  • Thick Literary Histories: I’m interested in tools that facilitate thick or multi-factored analyses of a particular place at a particular moment in time (something Orlando’s chronological and location tags make possible in many ways). To take an example from my past research, I wanted to get a sense of how local Cree accounts (often preserved in oral or familial histories, or in local newspapers) diverged from more widely-circulated settler histories of Mistahi Maskwa or Chief Big Bear’s involvement in the conflict at Frog Lake during the Métis Resistance of 1885 and to consider these accounts in light of the economic, racial and colonial histories at play in the west and for Mistahi Maskwa’s nation at this moment in time. [I noticed on the wiki that Heather Zwicker made a related note of her interest in tools that allow us to map or visualize or interact with multiple narratives of a particular place: thank you, Heather, for the links you shared!]
  • Aboriginal Oral Stories: This may be beyond CWRC’s scope, but I’m also interested in how the crucial oral nature of much Aboriginal literature or story might be addressed in this type of technological context: working within the bounds of acceptable reproduction, might we consider the inclusion or linking to of sound or video recordings of both older Aboriginal stories (held, for instance, in certain anthropology museum collections) and of more recent literary readings or performance art pieces (like those archived online at Vancouver’s Grunt gallery for instance)?
  • Indigenous Nation’s Names: As a minor note to the above, I’d mention the long-sanding issue of naming or labeling Aboriginal nations within Canadian cultural scholarship. Both out of respect for current Indigenous preferences and protocol around self-naming and for accuracy (to avoid replicating historical misidentifications or misuses of certain labels), there is a need to be aware of how Indigenous content is tagged or identified and of how the Aboriginal nation in question presently prefers to represent or identify itself.
  • Issue-based Analysis: Having traced, as part of my doctoral work, accounts or representations of cross-cultural captivity and confinement in many works that had not ever been classified or discussed as ‘captivity narratives’ per se, I’m interested in how tagging for issues or themes could be used to facilitate the analysis of older works through new or alternate critical lenses. {related question: Can CWRC devise ways to add critical value to existing digitized collections (be they primary e-text databases, museum catalogue records, or biographical encyclopedia entries)? Might literary works in the Early Canadiana Online database, for example, be tagged or otherwise annotated (critically and thematically) by scholars familiar with them?}

How broadly do the practices described in this story apply to others in same field, in related fields, etc?
* broadly applicable
* shared by some
* shared by few or none

Scope: broadly applicable

Does your story describe current research activities that you think CWRC will enhance (present), 
or future research possibilities that you can only dream of now? (future)

Timeline: present & future

Please provide some keywords that will allow us to group or cluster related stories--or aspects of stories. 
Use as many of the ones listed below as relevant or provide your own.
* Aggregate
* Annotate
* Consider
* Discover
* Interact
* Publish
* Archive/Preserve
* Share
* Visualize
* Map
* Historicize
* Edit
* Network
* Collaborate
* Integrated History of Women's Writing in Canada
* Orlando

Keywords: annotate, share, map, historicize, visualize, multi-media, indigenize

Are there parts of the story that relate to other CWRC stories? 
Please provide title(s) and link to the relevant story page.

Related Stories: Heather Zwicker's emphasis on tools for place-based analysis and multi-media capacities:

Are there tools that do some of the sorts of things you'd like to see in CWRC? 
If so, what are they?

Related Tools: