Jared Eberle: Women and African Americans in Oklahoma Rodeos

Howdy! My name is Jared Eberle and I am a Ph.D Candidate at Oklahoma State University, specializing in 20th Century American Indian activism. My talk at the six shooters presentation will cover an ongoing project at Oklahoma State University directed by Dr. Laura Arata to document the participation of women and African Americans in local rodeos, largely after the 1920s. Rodeo is traditionally seen as a white, masculine sport, but this project seeks to incorporate the rich tradition of women participating in rodeos in all capacities as well as the successful all-black rodeos in Oklahoma.

This project grew out of both OSU’s push for an increased presence in digital humanities, as well as our specialization in both public history and the American West. The pressing issue for the project, and the subject of my talk, is that the department does not have a dedicated “digital” historian so those involved have had to start from the bottom, both in terms of broadly understanding the field as well as the technical aspects. So far, we have a basic site for the women in rodeo project and this semester’s digital history class is hard at work constructing the companion African American rodeo website, both of which will be long term projects that will we can use to flesh out our digital history initiatives going forward. Translating these ideas to the digital realm has involved a balancing act of producing a good product while not having the time to direct towards mastering the behind-the-scenes technical aspects that can go into a project of this nature.

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