Title

Using Google Maps to Read, Teach, and Preserve August Wilson’s Hill District

Proposal Type

Presentation

Additional Presenter Information

Associate Professor

College of Arts and Letters, Department of English

Gainesville Campus

Presentation Option

yes

Keywords

Digital Humanities, August WIlson, Hill District

Subject Area

English/Communications

Description/Abstract

August Wilson’s decalogue dubbed the Pittsburgh Cycle is one of the most celebrated achievements in contemporary American literature. Nine of the ten dramas are set in the Hill District, a small, historically African American neighborhood in Pittsburgh. August Wilson’s Hill District is a Google Map designed by Christopher B. Bell, Associate Professor of English at the University of North Georgia and educational coordinator of the August Wilson Society, and current UNG English major William Hollis, which labels more than forty locations in and around Pittsburgh the playwright mentions in his plays, along with some important biographical designations. More than one hundred photographs and brief description of the literary and/or historical significance accompanies each label. The goal of this digital humanities project is to serve as a foundation of information about Wilson’s work and life for students and scholars, and help to preserve a sense of the Hill District as Wilson once knew it, as the area faces the elimination of the vibrant locales the playwright celebrates in his dramas. The map is also a dynamic teaching tool, particularly for those who are first reading Wilson, and individuals familiar with the dramatist who have never had the opportunity to travel to the Hill District. The aim of this presentation is to explain the origin and construction of the map, and its application as a dynamic classroom teaching tool.

Bio

Christopher B. Bell is an Associate Professor of English at the University of North Georgia and Educational Coordinator of the August Wilson Society. William Hollis is a current English major at the University of North Georgia.

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Using Google Maps to Read, Teach, and Preserve August Wilson’s Hill District

August Wilson’s decalogue dubbed the Pittsburgh Cycle is one of the most celebrated achievements in contemporary American literature. Nine of the ten dramas are set in the Hill District, a small, historically African American neighborhood in Pittsburgh. August Wilson’s Hill District is a Google Map designed by Christopher B. Bell, Associate Professor of English at the University of North Georgia and educational coordinator of the August Wilson Society, and current UNG English major William Hollis, which labels more than forty locations in and around Pittsburgh the playwright mentions in his plays, along with some important biographical designations. More than one hundred photographs and brief description of the literary and/or historical significance accompanies each label. The goal of this digital humanities project is to serve as a foundation of information about Wilson’s work and life for students and scholars, and help to preserve a sense of the Hill District as Wilson once knew it, as the area faces the elimination of the vibrant locales the playwright celebrates in his dramas. The map is also a dynamic teaching tool, particularly for those who are first reading Wilson, and individuals familiar with the dramatist who have never had the opportunity to travel to the Hill District. The aim of this presentation is to explain the origin and construction of the map, and its application as a dynamic classroom teaching tool.