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The Jesuit Plantation Project Redux: Activating Derived Historical Data in a Digital Environment (or, Death by Hand-Processed-Data)

March 28, 2018 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am

Join us on March 28th for a talk by visiting speaker Sharon Leon, Michigan State University.

In 1838 Thomas Mulledy, S.J. signed his name to an agreement selling the nearly 280 enslaved persons who resided on Jesuit-owned estates in Southern Maryland to Louisiana. The sale served as the culmination of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus’s fraught experience with slaveholding in the colonial and early national period. While much historical work has been written on Jesuit slaveholding, that writing has primarily focused on the implications for the religious community and the moral universe in which these men made their decisions about slavery. Thus far, however, no scholar has studied on the enslaved people themselves.

This project focuses on the lives and experiences of the enslaved, rather than on their Jesuit owners. Focusing on the enslaved community itself makes this project ideally suited for digital methods. With an eye to the events and relationships that formed the warp and woof of the daily lives of this enslaved community, Leon has identified the individual enslaved people present in the documentary evidence beginning in the 1740s and situated them within their families and larger community. In processing and representing this archival research, the project employs linked open data and data analysis techniques to assess the entire community of enslaved people and their relationships to one another across space and time. This approach will allow for both a focus on the distinct individuality of each enslaved person and the ability to pull back to grasp the community in aggregate, noting trends and changes in their experiences and relationships during their time in Maryland.

This event is free and open to the public, but if you are not a member of the Northeastern community, please email Sarah Connell (sa.connell[at]northeastern[dot]edu) to RSVP.

Co-sponsored by the Department of History.


March 28, 2018
10:00 am - 11:30 am


NULab: for Texts, Maps, and Networks


440 Curry Student Center
Northeastern University
Boston, MA 02115 United States
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