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Heritage Visualization and Social Justice

Heritage Visualization and Social Justice

I am happy to announce a recent publications related to heritage visualization and the African American past. The article neatly presents some of my thoughts regarding the emerging theoretical and methodological intersections between new media technologies and African American history.

New Heritage and Dark Tourism: A Mixed Methods Approach to Social Justice in Rosewood, Florida was published in Heritage & Society. Here’s the abstract:

Scholars of ‘difficult heritage’ continue to seek new methods for producing meaningful engagements with diverse audiences while simultaneously supporting the goals of social justice. This article specifically examines the potential ‘new heritage’ has for social justice at dark tourism sites. New heritage is the intersection of new media technologies and cultural heritage, whereas dark tourism refers to the visitation of sites where tragedy or death is a primary aspect of a place’s history. The author outlines a mixed methods approach combining virtual world environments and digital storytelling to support social justice. The article’s case study focuses on Rosewood, Florida; a once prosperous African American community destroyed during a weeklong episode of violence in 1923. This event ended with the systematic burning of every black-owned building and the complete expulsion of the area’s African American population. Dark tourism sites often provoke an emotional response from visitors. A deep emotional engagement with a place’s history is often a requirement for engaging visitors. This article closes with a discussion of how new heritage can avoid depoliticizing complex histories of disenfranchisement while eliciting poignant and critical reflection from visitors.

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