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2023 Latin American & Caribbean Digital Humanities Symposium: LAC DH Symposium

About the Symposium

The University of Florida and the University of North Florida will host their first Latin America & Caribbean Digital Humanities Symposium at the George A. Smathers Libraries in Gainesville, FL on Friday, March 3, 2023. The symposium will be held in Smathers Library Room 100

Tag us on social media, #lacdh2023


Registration is now closed. Deadline to register was February 23. 



This is an in-person event. For anyone interested in participating remotely, please consider submitting a proposal for possible inclusion in the FLDH Webinar Series.



Please feel free to email one of the following symposium organizers:


Schedule for March 3, 2023. Please see tabs for presentation abstracts. 

Time Sessions
8:30a - 9a Introduction
9a - 9:30a Lightning Round Session + Q&A
9:30a - 10:50a Talks Session #1 + Q&A
10:50a - 11a Break
11a - 12p Keynote Speaker
12p - 1:30p Lunch
1:30p - 3p Poster Session 
3p - 3:15p Break
3:15p - 4:15p Talks Session #2 + Q&A
4:15p - 4:30p Closing

Lightning Round (5 minutes each): 

  • The Forgotten Canopy: Digital Approaches to Latin American and Caribbean Scholarly PublicationsAmanda Elena Brito

Using the five-minute lightning round format, I will be summarizing the Florida State immersive scholarship program’s ongoing digital Caribbean projects and proposing new approaches to traditional conference frameworks. I will be highlighting The Forgotten Canopy: Ecology, Ephemeral Architecture, and Imperialism in the Caribbean, South American, and Transatlantic Worlds— a hybrid symposium organized in collaboration with University of California, Los Angeles. Working in tandem with Dr. Paul Niell and the art history department, the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship—and by extension the immersive scholarship team—produced a digital guidebook that served as an immersive companion to the conference’s first workshop. Centered around UCLA’s botanical garden, this workshop provided a unique opportunity to experiment with embedding tools such as satellite mapping and QR codes into our publication for the purposes of locating and identifying plants central to the conference. This employment of digital scholarship as a form of scholarly output has opened pathways for non-traditional methods of inquiry that we believe can be implemented by other universities. In using Manifold, a free, open-source publication platform, our guidebook is also responsive to the needs and interests of scholars working in under-served disciplines and areas such as Latin America and the Caribbean. This introduces conversations about equity, accessibility, and the capacity of digital publications to produce new, innovative scholarly communications on a far faster turnaround than traditional academic methods.


  • Study abroad to Panama and Digital Humanities, Eugenia Charoni

In study abroad programs, there is limited time for assignments of deep research, long responses and daily, long commitment. Academic readings about the history and culture of the places we visit and study, follow up in-person and online discussions, debates, oral presentations and final projects about an aspect that triggered students’ interest are good alternatives that keep students engaged, academically, intellectually, culturally, socially and mentally. This presentation shares ideas about how eBooks and Digital Storytelling can be fun, technological yet educational tools to document students’ experience and knowledge not only during a study abroad program but also for the years to come!  


  • En mi casa quiero señas: Photovoice as language advocacy, Anne Pfister 

This lightning round is motivated by a desire to renovate ethnographic production by broadening what has traditionally been a narrow conceptualization of who creates, analyzes, and presents ethnographic research. As social science researchers are increasingly interested in ways to make ethnographic research more ‘inclusive’, participatory methods can help anthropologists dissolve the limitations of more ‘traditional’ ethnographic methods, while being attentive to context and community-specific strengths and needs - including language and language modality. I use examples from a collaborative photovoice project with deaf youth in Mexico City, Mexico to illustrate how participants can bring in themes and research questions the researcher may not have considered or encountered using more positivistic research design and/or ‘traditional’ ethnographic research methods.  


  • Escribanos Cubanos Coloniales y sus Signos, Martha Kapelewski

The project is in its beginning stages. While working on the 19th Century Cuban Colonial Documents collection I stumbled upon some official documents.  I became interested in the signatures and by chance, I came upon a book in our collection titled El Libro de los Escribanos Cubanos de los siglos XVI – XVII y XVIII by Cesar Garcia del Pino and Alicia Melis Cappa.  The thought occurred to me that it would be an interesting project to see if I can find original documents  escribanos mentioned in the book with actual documents in our collection.  Garcia del Pino and Melis Cappa begin their book with the following thought: “Los signos son tan viejos como el hombre quien desde la infancia de la humanidad, en la edad de Piedra, los creó y utilizó con sentido mágico, como lo demuestran las pinturas halladas en las cuevas de Altamira en España y Lascaux en Francia….con el decursar del tiempo, los signos fueron modificándose y ampliando su esfera de acción hasta constituir un sello individual-entre otros muchos usos-empleados por los escribanos, quienes daban tanto valor a aquellas figuras como a sus propias firmas….” In general, I find scribes and their signs fascinating. Whether my research yields results or not, my idea is to create a digital document highlighting the research project, our resources in the collection, and it will include a brief  history of escribanos and their personalized “signos”, attached to their “signatures”. 

Talks (15 minutes each): 

Session 1 

  • Creating a Digital Encyclopedia of Glitch Cinema in America, Andrea A. Gaytán Cuesta 

The term glitch, according to Rosa Menkmann, refers to “states of aggression, unaccepted sounds, disturbances.” Undesirable and inconvenient, the glitch allows the machine to do a performative act in the work of art, by showing its own imperfections. In Latin America, from the late 1990s until now, we have participated in what Mónica Delgado calls a “culture of glitch.”  Most of our film consumption, from Argentina to Mexico, has been through an informal market that began with pirated Betamax, VHS, DVDs and finally, illegal downloads that were “faulty” or of lesser quality. During this time, glitch has evolved from being an unintentional imperfection to be both an aesthetic concept and a deliberate technique that allows creators of experimental movies and short documentaries to manipulate film for rhetorical purposes, usually as a form of social and political critique, drawing from decolonial discourse. 

In this presentation I will explore the creation of the Digital Encyclopedia of Glitch Cinema in Latin America.  As an interactive, bilingual (Spanish/English) website, it  will serve multiple purposes; 1)as an archive of glitch cinema and art, 2) a space to connect filmmakers, artists, theorists, critics and general audiences, and 3)a place for experimentation, creation, diffusion and pedagogy about the experimental cinema of Latin America, a widely provocative and contemporary form of art, disrupting traditional structures. 


  • Silver La Boca: Reconstructing a Community’s History with StoryMaps, John Nemmers & Betsy Behmis 

The curators of the Panama Canal Museum Collection will present on a project using ArcGIS StoryMaps to digitally reconstruct a town that no longer exists. Starting in 1914, the town of La Boca in the former U.S. Canal Zone (now the Republic of Panama) was primarily populated by people of Caribbean descent who were the laborers who migrated to construct and work on the Canal. In 1957, after more than four decades, the U.S. government relocated the Canal employees and their families to other towns in the Canal Zone and razed the town of La Boca. Many former residents deeply regretted that their community was broken apart and that they lost the schools, churches, and recreational facilities they had grown up with. One resident, Enid Hall, sought to record her memories about La Boca and she wrote notes about the families who lived in each building, the names of teachers, and so on. Using Ms. Hall’s notes as a springboard, the project attempts to recreate the town of La Boca as an interactive map that provides access to historical photographs and information found in census records, school yearbooks, and other resources. The curators will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using StoryMaps, as well as community reaction after a sneak peak of the ongoing project in Fall 2022. 


  • Critical Edition: Assignment for First-Year Writing Students, Sandra Sotelo-Miller 

Pedagogical research into cooperative learning and student participation in creating a public facing products, supports strong learning outcomes. This presentation focuses on the implementation of a group project in a first-year writing course, where students produced a digital critical edition centering contemporary Latin American film. The project’s goals were for students to learn team-building and group dynamic skills in addition to film research and analysis. Using SCALAR -a free, multimedia digital platform- students created a digital book which explored an overarching theme that connected four films. Each student wrote a critical analysis focusing on one film and then collaborated on an introduction, created various pathways through the book via “tags”, and included a Works Cited page. Since assigning this project, I noticed a strong interest students have in being more exposed to and learning about Latin American film but not knowing where to begin. Taking inspiration from the Antologia Abierta de Literatura Hispana edited by Dr. Julie Ward, I want to expand this project to create a Open Anthology of Latin American Film. This project hopes to contribute to the Open Education movement by having students create open educational resources that would benefit others studying Latin American film and also in using films that are available at the Duke University library, which would benefit the wider university community who had access to it. Through this lightning round I hope to gain insight into other free, digital platforms I could use as well as information on Open Educational Resource platforms where an anthology like this could be housed.  


  • Revitalizing the Digital Library of the Caribbean, Perry Collins, Stephanie Chancy, Tania M. Rios Marrero, Katherine Nguyen, & Katharine Lemessy 

As members of the project team for the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC, at the University of Florida, we facilitate activities related to the Revitalizing dLOC Initiative (2022-2026), a Mellon Foundation-supported project that seeks to build, strengthen and sustain the dLOC organization and community. 

The dLOC is a collaborative international digital library with over 80 partner institutions who contribute historical and cultural heritage materials for preservation and open access. More than a digital repository alone, dLOC serves both as a hub for teaching and research initiatives and as a network in support of partners, scholars, educators and broader publics. The Revitalizing dLOC Initiative will build upon over 20 years of sustained community engagement. The grant project features an OER stipend program, the formation of a Rights Advisory Network, a deep-dive needs assessment with four partner institutions per year, virtual workshops, and the release of ten topical handbooks in multiple languages.  

We plan to provide an overview of the Revitalizing dLOC Initiative for the Symposium, including ways participants can engage with this work. The presentation will include a brief introduction to the aforementioned project objectives as well as more detailed discussion of the dLOC OER stipend program, which seeks to support open educational practices in Caribbean studies. Over the course of the grant period, the OER program will publish up to 30 openly-licensed, digital teaching resources that contextualize and make use of dLOC collections.

Talks (15 minutes each): 

Session 2 

  • Publishing Caribbean Literary Heritage, Perry Collins and Katherine Nguyen

Caribbean Literary Heritage (CLH), a five-year initiative funded by the Leverhulme Trust, seeks to extend scholarly and public knowledge of twentieth- and twenty-first century writers of the Caribbean and Caribbean Diaspora. Working with LibraryPress@UF and the Digital Library of the Caribbean, since 2020 CLH has developed a digital publication as a suite of long-term deliverables for the project.  

This presentation will highlight two components of the project where library publishing staff, including graduate and undergraduate students, took on a major role: (1) a WordPress-based feature of biographies and resources on “forgotten” or lesser known authors; and (2) an Omeka S-based database of Caribbean writers and associated papers in archives and special collections globally.  

Alongside highlighting the value of this work for education and research, the presentation will also consider how libraries play a role in more formal publication of digital projects. What skills do libraries bring to the table to strengthen and sustain such work? How do “traditional” publisher responsibilities such as editing and peer review play out in a project such as this one? Presenters will include UF LibraryPress@UF Editor-in-Chief as well as two students who substantively contributed to CLH. 


  • Recetas for Digital Humanities, Melissa Jerome & Sarah Tew 

Recetas de las Américas is a bilingual web project where users can view, browse, filter, and print recipes published between 1954 and 1960 in the Miami newspaper, Diario las Américas. Recetas is a case study in using a static site generator, Oxygen XML editor, and basic web technologies to organize and publish historical collections in a bilingual website. This bilingual presentation will discuss the uses, pros, cons, and process of web publishing and static sites for historical collections-based humanities projects and propose further uses and developments beyond the current Recetas site.  


  • Seguimiento de la mineria ilegal de oro, Chris W. Baynard & Dayana Rosas 

Actividades mineras ilegales de oro en el sur de Venezuela están causando cambios de suelo permanentes y de gran escala en zonas remotas con una biodiversidad única. El uso de lavadoras a presión y otras actividades degradan grandes cantidades de bosque tropical, mientras la introducción de mercurio y cianuro el las vías fluviales expone a la fauna acuática y las comunidades humanas a riesgos de envenenamiento. Este proyecto busca entender el crecimiento de la huella minera durante un período de tiempo usando imágenes de satélite para crear mapas, medir y monitorear el patrón de desarrollo.  En estos primeros pasos, examinamos la zona de la comunidad minera Las Claritas en el sureste de Venezuela con un análisis visual histórico. Acudiendo a una serie de tiempo de tres periodos usando imágenes de satélite disponibles públicamente con los programas Google Earth y ArcGIS Pro, examinamos el patrón y el tamaño de la huella de actividad minera y medimos cuánto terreno se ha convertido de bosque a tierra baldía. Estos métodos se pueden usar en proyectos y clases relacionadas con humanidades digitales y el medio ambiente.  

Posters (1 hour 30 minutes, open session): 

  • A Network Analysis of Testaments of Toluca, Courtney Weis 

Wills and testaments are among the few sources in which historians can analyze the lives of Spanish colonial subjects who, more than likely, left no written sources by their own hand. Besides divulging what people owned and how they bequeathed property, these documents also reveal who people knew and interacted with on a local level. Reading wills and testaments individually can speak to a testator’s natal lineage, but analyzing wills from one region together highlights communal relationships that, as this analysis will show, were beneficial to the testator. 

This project uses thirty-eight wills from the Nahua people of Toluca notarized in the mid-seventeenth century to the mid-eighteenth century, translated to English by Caterina Pizzigoni.1 Gephi, the digital visualization software, is used to run a network analysis of the 278 historical actors mentioned in the wills.2 By transforming the thirty-eight testators, twenty-six notaries, 102 witnesses, and 112 family members into nodes and the connections between them as edges, we can see which members of the community were the most influential and the most connected through degree, betweenness, and closeness centrality locations.3 Preliminary calculations run by Gephi show a correlation between community connectedness and socioeconomic status in Toluca during the 1650s-1750s.​ Digital history tools like Gephi provide a bird’s eye view of sources and how they are connected, a view sometimes obscured to the historian’s eye. A poster presentation of this project will highlight the computer-generated visualizations and prompt scholarly conversation on network analysis in Latin American and Caribbean studies. 


  • Tracing Latin American Themes Through the Embroidering for Peace and Memory Digital Archives, Rook Breede 

Embroidering for Peace and Memory is an annual event at the University of North Florida that celebrates diversity and human rights through the activism of collective embroidery. During one week each year, students, faculty, staff, and community members come together to embroider original messages and designs on pieces of white cloth. Since the project’s inception in 2012, over 600 pieces of embroidery have been produced in more than 13 languages, highlighting the culture and diversity of UNF and the North Florida community. The Embroidering for Peace and Memory Digital Archive, an affiliated project of the UNF Digital Humanities Institute (DHI), is an Omeka website that gathers images of selection of the collection, with metadata that provides background information on the pieces and allows them to be searched and sorted by predefined categories. Because of a high level of engagement with the project by Latinx students, Spanish majors, and others with connections to Latin America, many of the pieces on the website are in Spanish and deal with topics of concern to that region, as well as Hispanic communities in the United States. Some of the issues addressed include racism, violence against women, political repression, war, inequality, and human rights. Anna Breede, a graphic design and digital media major and 2023 DHI student intern, is building an exhibit on the Omeka site to trace these themes through the pieces as well as using the NeatLine plug-in to map the pieces that contain geographical references. In this presentation Breede will discuss her work on the project and reflect on how it provides a vehicle for student activism and expression


  • Editing Archival Documents from the Colonial Periphery, Clayton McCarl, Brittney Griffith, Marisa Pechillo, Amarilys Sanchez, and Georgina Wilson Aranguren 

coloniaLab is a workshop for the collaborative edition of manuscript and rare print texts from early Latin America. Since 2015, over forty students have contributed to the transcription, TEI-XML markup, and online publication of documents related to the Early Modern Hispanic maritime world and the local history of several places on the colonial periphery. In this poster presentation and interactive demo, Dr. Clayton McCarl will discuss coloniaLab's dual mission as an editorial endeavor and pedagogical project, and four of his student collaborators (three alumni and one current student) will share projects conducted in a variety of settings, including a digital editing course, a course on Latin American culture, an internship/honors capstone, and as extracurricular work while enrolled in intermediate Spanish. Amarilys Sánchez will explain her contributions to editing a census of enslaved persons in Antioquia in the 1840s. Georgina Wilson will share her work with a map and two military dispatches related to Fort San Nicolás, a Spanish outpost on the St. Johns River in what is now the Saint Nicholas neighborhood of Jacksonville. Marisa Pechillo will discuss her edition of the journal of an ill-fated seventeenth-century English voyage to Valdivia, Chile. Britney Griffith will speak about her current work with a legal case from 1786 regarding a contested marriage in St. Augustine. The presenters will all reflect on how this type of work not only contributes to the preservation and transmission of cultural heritage materials from Latin America but also offers unique opportunities to both students and educators. 


  • Voces y Caras: Documenting Our History with Our Stories, Constanza López Baquero & Amy Granillo 

Voces y Caras: Hispanic Communities of North Florida is an ongoing project that explores the power of digital oral history to make visible hidden communities and enable processes of self-discovery by students of Latinx origin in the United States. The project engages heritage speakers of Spanish in the process of developing questions and recording interviews with members of the Hispanic/Latinx community in North Florida, a population that has been, according to many, deliberately made invisible.  

Since the inception of the project in 2012, over 170 interviews have been conducted, recorded, transcribed, and archived. The project serves at least four purposes: (1) It recognizes immigrants as an indispensable part of our society in a political environment increasingly hostile to them, (2) it puts students who are heritage speakers of Spanish in contact with their cultural and historical backgrounds, (3) it gives these students the opportunity to recognize themselves in the stories of others, and (4) it serves as a pedagogical tool that creates communities in and outside of the classroom.  

The project offers opportunities for engagement with local communities and demonstrates how digital approaches can be deployed in ways that are truly transformational for students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. Voces y Caras highlights the achievements of the community. This is particularly relevant in our present political environment where immigrants have been perceived as a problem rather than what they are; an indispensable part of our society that contributes greatly to its growth. In this presentation project leader Dr. Constanza López and collaborator, Amy Granillo will provide faculty and student perspectives of the project.  


  • OER Immersive Materials Project, Johana Barrero, María Ángeles Fernández Cifuentes & Jade Basilius

The topic of this poster addresses The OER Immersive Materials Project created by faculty and students at the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at University of North Florida.  This project aims at the design and development of Open Educational Resources (OER) in the classroom as a model to integrate community-based learning and undergraduate research in lower and upper-level courses of the Spanish Program at UNF. It specifically focuses on the design and development of immersive instructional materials (with a focus on Virtual Reality) for the Spanish language, literature, and culture classroom.  Our work consisted of the design and development of a whole language learning unit around the ecological and human dimensions of the Florida coral reef. It included a 360-degree virtual reality experience in Spanish, in order to maximize second-language learners’ cognitive abilities to acquire new grammar skills while learning about pressing and pertinent global climate change issues. 

The theoretical framework for the design of our learning unit was the Cognitive Load Theory (CLT), since the focus of the material was to maximize the student’s ability to intake information, while minimizing the possible cognitive overload that occurs with learning new content. With this project will seek to establish a long-lasting partnership with the Coral Restoration Foundation creating bilingual materials. Due to the intrinsic interdisciplinary nature of this project, we also hope to collaborate with the UNF Environmental Center. By creating these immersive instructional materials and share resources, schools from the Duval County Public System will be able to use this material to educate for years to come. 

Keynote Speaker


Join us for our keynote session Crónicas al borde: An Approach to Narrative Justice Through Listening Practices, Experimental Sound, and Stories of Transformation, presented by Dr. Giulianna Zambrano. 


Dr. Giulianna Zambrano, professor of Literature from Universidad San Francisco de Quito studies liberation, resistance, memory, and justice practices in writing and poetics in contexts of violence, catastrophes and repression. She also researches the connections between human rights and literature, especially with regard to the right to narrate. 



George A. Smathers Libraries orange and blue logo University of Florida (UF) George A. Smathers Libraries
  University of North Florida (UNF) Digital Humanities Institute
  UNF Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
UF Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies
UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (Rothman Endowment)
UF Center for Latin American Studies
  UF Digital Humanities Working Group
  UF Department of Languages, Literatures, and Culture
Alliance for Digital Research on Early Latin America
Florida Digital Humanities (FLDH) Consortium


Symposium Organizers

Melissa Jerome, UF

Clayton McCarl, UNF

Hélène Huet, UF

Sarah Tew, UF

Tiffany Esteban, UF

Anne Pfister, UNF

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