Introductions – Rebecca S. Wingo

I’m pleased to be a new contributor on the blog and a panelist at this year’s Six-Shooters Lightning Round.  (The main reasons I signed up for this session is because the title makes me think of Yosemite Sam.)

I am currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and will graduate in May 2015 with two graduate certificates in Digital Humanities and Great Plains Studies.  My dissertation, “Restructuring the Reservation: Housing, Hygiene, and Domesticity on the Crow Reservation, 1880-1934,” examines house-building policy as an imposition of a larger project of cultural imperialism by enforcing Christian concepts of domesticity, gender, and hygiene on indigenous communities.  The project introduces a unique set of photographs emerging from the Crow Reservation to examine signs of Native interruption to federal assimilationist policy.

More specific to the Six-Shooters Lightning Round, I have been working with a research team at the Center for Great Plains Studies to reassess the Homestead Act of 1862 based on the now-digitized NARA records for the State of Nebraska.  We are preparing a manuscript (publisher TBA) for completion in 2015.  The presentation, “Can I Get a Witness?: Network Analysis of Homesteaders in Nebraska,” examines a network forged legally between witnesses under the Homestead Act.  Essentially, the Land Office required each homesteader to list four witnesses in a Proof of Posting which ran for five weeks in a local newspaper.  While only two witnesses were required to testify at the Land Office, mapping all four connections reveals community formation, local leadership, and settlement patterns of neighborhoods in the rural plains.  I created a digital companion to our manuscript, and while it is waiting for final review and a permanent home, you’re welcome to view its nascent form here.

I look forward to my six-minutes and six-slides of fame this coming Thursday!

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