#FridayDHSpotlight: The Claremont Activism Archive

In today’s #FridayDHSpotlight, we highlight a summer project by Lizzy Carleton, Scripps College ’21, advised by Associate Professor of Music Anne Harley.



Taking Root: Developing the Black Studies Center at the Claremont Colleges (1969-1979) highlights the foundation of the Black Studies Center and the Mexican-American Studies Center at The Claremont Colleges. Lizzy created this project during the summer of 2019 thanks to generous funding by the Hearst Summer Fellowship Award. Her project grew out of her participation contributing to the exhibit Seeds of Change: Defining Black Space at the Claremont Colleges 1968-70, a part of The Claremont Activism Archive.  In Lizzy’s exhibit, you will find an oral history interview with Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran, Pomona College class of 1969 alumna and current Pomona  trustee, selections from her personal archives, and newly digitized resources from Special Collections at The Claremont Colleges Library.

Black Studies Center, “Black Studies, Black Students, Black Admission: The Claremont Colleges,” Claremont Colleges Activism Archive, accessed December 13, 2019, https://claremontactivism.omeka.net/items/show/88.

Black Studies Center, “Black Studies, Black Students, Black Admission: The Claremont Colleges,” Claremont Colleges Activism Archive, accessed December 13, 2019, https://claremontactivism.omeka.net/items/show/88.

#FridayDHSpotlight: Playing it Queer by Natasha Vhugen

Students from across the consortium are usually introduced to digital humanities in the context of class assignments, but we’re always eager to support independent projects by students who want to experiment with digital techniques and public facing platforms in their own research. In today’s #FridayDHSpotlight, Natasha Vhugen, Scripps College ’21, reflects on her experience doing just that this past summer on a project advised by Associate Professor of Music Anne Harley.



I spent this past summer creating Playing it Queer, a Digital Humanities Archive (DHA) comprised of interviews with artists across a wide variety of mediums and specialties that identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. I worked to document their stories and create a collective memory of the incredibly important work these artists have been doing and to serve as a living, growing documentation and representation of the wide range of queer identities and forms of expression in art.


Playing It Queer Screenshot

Playing It Queer Screenshot


The aim of the project was to create a DHA that would exist as a resource for those interested to be able to see the work being done by these artists. DHAs are a relatively new form of archiving, working to keep digital records of important projects within the humanities. The Claremont Colleges Library has an ever-growing DHA of our own, serving as a home for information collected and projects done by students who wanted to explore, among other things, the histories of various communities and create ethnographies to honor the work being done. My project will be archived alongside the others, serving as a resource for anyone who wants to see the important work being done by these artists and explore the endless possibilities for queer expression and normalization in art.


Doing this project was a very illuminating and educational experience for me. Growing up in Seattle, I was involved in the art world from a young age simply by virtue of it being all around me in a creative and arts-focused city. I also grew up very aware of queerness and that it should be celebrated, as Seattle has always been an LGBTQ+ friendly place. Identity, especially identity that is difficult to navigate and often marks people as “other,” was something I was taught to be aware of and openminded towards. When I grew older and began to identify as queer myself, I began to feel more connected to queer people throughout history and in the world now, and I knew I wanted to pay homage to the work being done to normalize queerness and to make this world a more tolerant and respectful place.


This project was incredible for me. Almost every artist I spoke with was so enthusiastic and excited about sharing their experience, and I felt honored to be able to capture it for them. There is such a wide range of experiences that queer people experience, but what I discovered is that the members of the community have such great respect for other queer people they meet, even if they have nothing in common. There is a long history of strength and love within the queer community, and that history is being communicated through the art done by these artists.


I hope to see Playing it Queer continue in the future. As the summer was winding down, I had to tell some artists that had reached out to me that I could not speak with them, as I did not have the time to do their stories justice. I am hoping to be able to sit down with them in the future and grow this archive to the best of my abilities. I am also interested in making some sort of zine or other small creative publication that can showcase the visuals I received from some artists alongside quotes from their interviews that really stood out. I want Playing it Queer to serve as a powerful representation of the work these artists are doing, and to show anyone who sees it that queerness is a thing to be celebrated and communicated to the world through any and all creative means.



For more information about Playing it Queer, please contact the DH@CC Team.

Daniela Hinojosa Sada: Update from Hovig Tchalian’s “Fake News” Lab

Several students and faculty from the Claremont Graduate University (CGU) and Pomona College (PO) have collectively come together to form the Digital Innovation & Text Analysis “Fake News” Lab, a lab with the goal to find a method to evaluate truth claims, public statements, and the trustworthiness of news stories. While similar research in the past has looked at superficial features such as article headlines and article sources as reference points for a text’s trustworthiness, this lab is looking at linguistic (semantic and syntactic) features which could be more holistically indicative of a text’s trustworthiness. The project is an extension of a similar early-stage research project from a year prior, but this lab has the goal of further developing and improving upon the dataset and method of evaluation of trustworthiness that resulted the previous project’s work.

The lab meets weekly and provides students with an opportunity to work under the guidance of an experienced faculty member, Professor Hovig Tchalian, a professor of management whose research focus is language and innovation. He also teaches an introductory data analysis course and uses text analysis techniques to study social discourse. The lab is managed by a project manager, Kristina Khederlarian (CGU PhD student in computational analytics and international relations). The rest of the research team is made up of Anthony Lyons (CGU PhD student in information systems), Amin Nash (CGU Master’s student in English critical theory and analysis), Brady DeMeritt (Pomona ‘19 majoring in computer science and linguistics & cognitive science), Daniela Hinojosa Sada (PO ‘19 majoring in linguistics), Alex Ker (PO ‘22 majoring in philosophy and computer science), and Jack Weber (PO ‘22 majoring in Computer Science and Economics).

Comprising people with diverse backgrounds, the team’s skill sets range from politics and simulation modeling to linguistics and computer science. The project, which is funded by a Project Research Grant from the Digital Humanities Initiative at The Claremont Colleges (DH@CC), has given students a chance to do extensive research by not only having them find and collect usable data sources, but by also having them process that data and use advanced digital techniques such as those of natural language processing and machine learning to analyze the data to create a trustworthiness prediction model. The lab has so far worked to collect data and process that data into linguistic features, and the next step is to use machine learning to identify relevant correlations between the data’s features and trustworthiness levels. There are hopes to in the future not only incorporate this research into team member’s dissertations and theses, but to also further analyze the role that a fake news proliferator’s intent, whether backed by malevolence or ignorance, plays in the manifestation of the linguistic features in fake news.

© 2019 Digital Humanities at The Claremont Colleges.
Unless otherwise indicated, all materials licensed by the CC 4.0 BY-NC License.

DH@CC has been made possible through a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.