Kristin Arola, Associate Professor, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures

Kristin Arola is an Associate Professor in Writing, Rhetoric, and American Culture, and serves as affiliate faculty in American Indian and Indigenous Studies and Digital Humanities. Her work focuses on the intersections between American Indian rhetoric and multimodal pedagogy. Specifically, she explores best practices for teaching composing, be that composing through words, images, beads, quillwork, or any other form of meaning making. She believes best practices for teaching must acknowledge and honor all relations that afford and affirm our making. As such, her work is rooted in Anishinaabe community practices, histories, and futures. Along with numerous essays and book chapters, she the co-author of Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects, and the co-editor of CrossTalk in Comp Theory and Composing(Media)=Composing(Embodiment). She also currently serves as co-PI on a NSF grant, “Socio-Technological System Transitions: Michigan Community and Anishinaabe Renewable Energy Sovereignty,” the aim of which is to increase the capacity of communities across Michigan, including tribal nation communities, to make decisions about energy systems in ways that support their values and wellbeing. This project is focused on convergence across disciplines and communities, and coming to understand the socio-technological systems that shape, and are shaped by, decision making.

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Christina Boyles, Assistant Professor of Culturally Engaged Digital Humanities, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures

Christina Boyles is an Assistant Professor of Culturally Engaged Digital Humanities at Michigan State University. Her research explores the relationship between disaster, social justice, and the environment. She is the director of the Archivo de Respuestas Emergencias de Puerto Rico, a project that works with community organizations to collect and preserve oral histories and disaster-related artifacts about Hurricane María. She also is the co-founder of SurvDH, a community that explores the intersections between surveillance and the humanities. Her published work appears in enculturation, Digital Humanities Quarterly, Bodies of Information: Feminist Debates in the Digital Humanities, American Quarterly, Studies in American Indian Literatures, and more.

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Julian Chambliss, Professor of English and Val Berryman Curator of History at the MSU Museum

Julian C. Chambliss is Professor of English and the Val Berryman Curator of History at the MSU Museum at Michigan State University. In addition, he is a co-director for the Department of English Digital Humanities and Literary Cognition Lab (DHLC) and faculty lead for the Graphic Possibilities Research Workshop in the Department of English. His research interests focus on race, culture, and power in real and imagined spaces. His recent writing has appeared in American Historical Review, Phylon, Frieze Magazine, Rhetoric Review, and Boston Review. An interdisciplinary scholar he has designed museum exhibitions, curated art shows, and created public history projects that trace community, ideology, and power in the United States. 

He is co-editor and contributor for Ages of Heroes, Eras of Men: Superheroes and the American Experience, a book examining the relationship between superheroes and the American Experience (2013). His recent book projects include Assembling the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Essays on the Social, Cultural, and Geopolitical Domain (2018), Cities Imagined: The African Diaspora in Media and History (2018), and Reframing Digital Humanities: Conversations with Digital Humanists (2021).  His 2021 exhibition Beyond the Black Panther: Vision of Afrofuturism in American Comics is a virtual exhibition hosted by the MSU Museum exploring Afrofuturist themed comics produced in the United States.

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Sharon M. Leon, Associate Professor of History and Digital Humanities

Sharon M. Leon is an Associate Professor of History and Digital Humanities at Michigan State University at Michigan State University. Dr. Leon received her bachelor of arts degree in American Studies from Georgetown University in 1997 and her doctorate in American Studies from the University of Minnesota in 2004. Her first book, An Image of God: the Catholic Struggle with Eugenics, was published by the University of Chicago Press. Her work has appeared in the William & Mary Quarterly, The Public Historian, Church History, the U.S. Catholic Historian, the Journal of the History of Medicine and Other Allied Sciences, and in numerous edited collections. Prior to joining the History Department at MSU, Dr. Leon spent over thirteen years at George Mason University’s History Department at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media as Director of Public Projects, where she oversaw dozens of award-winning collaborations with library, museum, and archive partners from around the country.

Dr. Leon’s program of research focuses on two areas. First, she is an historian of American religion with a concentration on U.S. Catholicism. In tune with this research, she is at work on a digital project to surface and analyze the community networks and experiences of the cohort of people enslaved and sold by the Maryland Province Jesuits in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Second, she specializes in digital methods with a focus on public history. Thus, she is building a major methodological project on doing community-engaged digital public history. Currently, Dr. Leon directs a number of externally-funded digital humanities research and software projects. She is the principal investigator of the On These Grounds project, a Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded initiative to create and disseminated a linked data model to describe the historical events arising from the participation of colleges and universities in slavery. 

Dr. Leon directs the Omeka web-publishing platform project, which provides a number of open-source options for digital scholarly communication and public engagement work: Omeka Classic, Omeka S (for linked data work), and (for a hosted solution). In conjunction with this work, Dr. Leon serves as the Vice President of the Corporation for Digital Scholarship, the non-profit organization dedicated to the development and sustainability of software and services for researchers and cultural heritage institutions. Digital Scholar is the sustainability home of Zotero, Omeka, Tropy, and other open source software.

Dr. Leon’s ongoing writing, projects, and teaching materials can be found at