Kente and Kinship: Mapping the Engagement of Ghanaian Poets with African Descendants of Slavery in the United States through Poetry
The Kente and Kinship: Mapping the Engagement of Ghanaian Poets with African Descendants of Slavery in the United States through Poetry project based at Cambridge Digital Humanities and funded by the African Poetry Digital Humanities Grant through the Mellon Foundation is hiring three temporary research assistants (RAs) for defined roles in literary analysis, historical analysis and archival research, and cartography and graphic design.
- Applications must include a CV and cover letter. Those invited to interview will be asked to submit previous work
- RAs must be UK based and available to work from December 2023 – November 2024
- RAs will be paid £15.52 per hour for 125-150 hours
- RAs will work a maximum of 10 hours per week
Applications are due on Thursday 7 December 2023. Direct questions should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please click on the relevant tab below for more information about each role:
The relationship between Africa and its diaspora is often centred around two major movements: 1) forces trans-Atlantic enslavement beginning in the early 1600s and 2) refugee and voluntary migration from the mid-1900s to contemporary times. In both periods, concepts of identity and kinship are integral. Historically, colonisers destroyed their captives’ sense of identity and kinship during the slave trade.
Contemporarily, diasporans and Africans have sought to reconstruct their identities in relation to one another while also redefining notions of kinship.Through a geographical lens, this research project aims to explore how Ghanaian poets relate to diaspora and kinship in their poetry, as well as through their own travels. In this work, the term diasporans is scoped narrowly to focus on African Americans in the United States who are descendants of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
The research questions being investigated are:
(1) In these poets’ poems related to diaspora and kinship:
- what places in the United States and Ghana do they reference?
- are certain locations more frequently mentioned in poems than others?
- what diasporans in the United States do their works engage?
(2) In the poets’ biographies and in the historical contexts of the related locations:
- what locations in the United States and Ghana did they visit that allowed them to connect with diasporans
- do certain locations become more or less popular over time?
- are certain locations more frequently visited than others?
- what value do these locations hold for the core themes of diaspora and kinship?
To answer these questions, this research examines how geographic mapping and close reading reveal how Ghanaian poets relate to diasporans and kinship in their poetry. The research methodology includes the collection and digitisation of poetry, close reading of the selected poems, historical analysis, and geographic mapping.
Ultimately, the deliverable for this project will be an interactive map visualising these trans-Atlantic encounters as informed by the poetic works. By utilising geospatial data visualisation techniques, the project will provide and immersive experience for users, pushing the boundaries of typical engagement with African poetry while leveraging mapping technology and other data and enhancing their understanding and experience of the poems.