avatar for Jennifer Hart

Jennifer Hart

Wayne State University
Assistant Professor
Detroit, Michigan
I am an African Historian, and I work on the history and culture of African automobility and urban space in 20th century Ghana. I am currently developing a digital humanities project called, "Accra Mobile", which will provide an interactive map of the trotro (informal bus) system in Accra, Ghana's capital city. The map itself has a practical function, but users will also be able to access historical and contemporary life histories, photographs, audio and video recordings and other information through the map, and students will be able to research and submit itineraries that can be plotted on the map to think about the way that people move (and why). I'm very interested in how we can use digital mapping technologies to think about everyday experience, space, and mobility in new ways, but I'm interested in thinking about the limitations of current mapping programs in the context of cities in the global South and the cultural assumptions that go along with mapping and demarcating space. Next semester, I'm also going to be using digital technologies in the classroom with students in my African Democracy Project course. They will be constructing websites and using digital tools to conduct research and present their findings before, during, and after a two-week trip to observe elections in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I'm working with people at Wayne State and Michigan State to think about how these kinds of projects might be incorporated into all of my courses.