Class Explores Cuba Without Leaving Research Hub

Assistant Professor Maya Berry from African, African American & Diaspora Studies worked with staff at the Davis Library Research Hub to plan virtual field trips using the Liquid Galaxy digital Earth display for students in the class Race, Gender, and Activism in Cuba (topics course AAAD290).

As Berry explains in the students’ assignment, “Writing fieldnotes is the most important method used in anthropology…visit the city of Havana using the Liquid Galaxy satellite map…meander the streets by exploring the photospheres available on Google maps and jot down notes on what you have found. Take notes on your impressions, things that stick out to you, and any inferences you can make about what you see.”

A Research Hub student staff member created a presentation on the Liquid Galaxy to facilitate the students’ explorations, allowing them to investigate neighborhoods in Havana they might never have gotten the chance to visit otherwise. The students took field notes of their observations.

The assignment didn’t end at the Research Hub, however. Professor Berry followed up by taking her students to Wilson Library, where librarian Matt Turi provided a variety of primary source materials including: examples of field studies from social scientists’ ethnographies of the American South from the 1940s; unique materials about Cuba, including the Louis A. Perez Papers on Americans in Cuba and the MAESTRA Collectionmaterials on education and African American student activism from the University archives; and materials from the Guy Benton Johnson Papers, which reflect the design of a survey on racial attitudes.

Thanks to the technology at the Research Hub and the unique materials available at Wilson Library, Professor Berry’s students were able to explore the landscape and history of Havana without leaving Carolina.

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