Nature of Project
Puerto Rican populations are in continued dispersion across state lines, flowing out of the largest Northeast urban regions and mid-size cities to the Southeast. With 117% growth, South Carolina has become one of the fifteen states with the fastest growth in Puerto Rican population in the past 20 years. The Upstate region in particular, includes cities with large Puerto Rican populations, including: Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Greenwood, Greer, Mauldin, Clemson, and Gaffney. Puerto Ricans are actively weaving the social fabric of Latinx in this region.
Territorio no Incorporado: Social Mappings of Puerto Ricans in South Carolina’s Upstate Region is a small-scale prototype that aims to capture the historical experience of Puerto Ricans and the relationships they have established to strengthen Latinx networks in the Upstate. It will broaden the public historical imagination by engaging users with Puerto Rican digital heritage sources (people, stories, places, video, images, audio, scholarly works, and oral histories) to map a relational network of Latinidad.
The nodes and links formed by contributing storytellers will visualize their connections with one another and with the larger Latinx community around them. This site serves as an invitation for visitors to self-activate, to identify these connectors, to explore and interpret the relationships and interactions that make up this network, and to form new meanings in relation to moments of Puerto Rican-Latinx coexistence.
Audience-research findings revealed potential complex processes of an identity formation that drifts between Puertorricanness and Latinidad. “Territorio no incorporado” will be a critical site of inquiry and self-reflection that will facilitate answers to questions, such as:
- How do Upstate Puerto Ricans articulate and reiterate their Puertoricanness?
- How do they negotiate constructions of Latinidad in this localized region?
- How do they function as connectors between member of the larger Latinx communities?
- In what ways can they participate on larger dialogical platforms (i.e. South Carolina, Puerto Rico, U.S., the Globe) to articulate their historical experience as Puerto Ricans
- What unexpected insights can these user-generated mappings reveal?
Digital Technologies and Content-User Interaction
The digital record will be collected, described, managed, and preserved with the Omeka exhibit software suite. It will comprise oral histories, stories, maps, images, events, audio, video, and documents. Among the list of Omeka add-ons, Neatline will offer users a chance to geospatially expand their historical interpretation of digital heritage. The mapping, annotating, and story-sequencing features of this Omeka add-on tool will facilitate dialogic interactions between content and users.
The “Territorio no incorporado” design will organize digital heritage materials based on thematic exhibits, collections, and source types. Items will be searchable thanks to the metadata provided and discoverable through pages that will include multilayered, multisensory, and interrelated content.
Scholarly works, such as open-access articles and books, will help users compare localized negotiations of Puertoricanness and Latinidad with more mainstream U.S. constructions. This interaction will provide visitors entrance to a more elevated and public conversation on the lived historical experiences of Puerto Ricans among Latinx. The site seeks to attract the public to work with primary and secondary materials and to have them bring them together into a coherent and appealing framework for new interpretations.
The site will be first targeted to Puerto Ricans residing in the Anderson-Pickens-Oconee county cluster of the Upstate. Focusing on this localized region would allow for a more neighborhood-centric perspective and framing, and for a better appreciation of the network formation processes. As users get to visualize this tri-county cluster map, they will sustain it and expanded to the rest of the Upstate region of South Carolina. Other audiences will include: members of public who are interested in understanding their Latinx experience through Puerto Rican connections; as well as Latinx studies teachers, students, and scholars.