Bryan Wagner, Professor

Closed (1) Research with Historical Records at Whitney Plantation Museum of Slavery

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

Whitney Plantation is a museum in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana dedicated to the history of slavery. We will be working with original manuscripts from the years when Whitney was a working sugarcane plantation (1752-1867) to collect information about the people who were enslaved there. This information will be used in museum tours and on the museum's website.


Students will collect information from digitized original manuscripts. Primary sources include plantation inventories, records of sale, manumission cases, courthouse records, and the sacramental records of the Catholic church. In the colonial period, these documents were overwhelmingly written in French. We will working with English translations for our research, but there will also be opportunities for students who know French to work with original documents.

Student research will be supervised by URAP sponsor Bryan Wagner and Dr. Ibrahima Seck, Director of Research at the Whitney Plantation Museum.

Qualifications: No specific qualifications.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Off-Campus Research Site: In consideration of the ongoing COVID pandemic and the difficulty some students are having returning to campus this semester, this project will be conducted remotely. Students will meet with Bryan Wagner and Dr. Ibrahima Seck (Director of Research at Whitney Plantation) on Zoom, and conduct their research online.

Related website: https://www.whitneyplantation.org/
Related website: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/01/magazine/building-the-first-slave-museum-in-america.html

Closed (2) Translating Slave Testimonies from French and Spanish

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2021 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2021.

This project involves translating testimonies given by slaves accused of conspiring to revolt. The testimonies are in French and Spanish. We will be working mostly with typescripts and in some cases with original manuscripts. We will also be integrating the new translations into an online digital edition of primary materials related to Louisiana Slave Conspiracies. This project will appeal to students with interests in law, language, history, and African American Studies.

Translating, and in some cases, transcribing testimonies

Qualifications: Applicants should have strong French or Spanish. No special computer skills are required.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Closed (3) Data Processing for Louisiana Slave Conspiracies Digital Mapping Project

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2021 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2021.

This project involves extracting data about persons and places from translated
testimonies given by slaves accused of conspiring to revolt. Apprentices will be working with a team of researchers in Berkeley's D-Lab (dlab.berkeley.edu) building interactive maps and network visualizations from the testimonies. All data produced by apprentices will be incorporated into a Drupal-based online cartographic archive, Louisiana Slave Conspiracies. This project will appeal to students with interests in data science, geography, law, language, history, anthropology and African American Studies.

Students will be mentored in best practices for extracting demographic and geographical data from legal source materials. They will be collaborating with a team of digital geographers, data scientists, and legal scholars as members of the Louisiana Slave Conspiracies research team., Staff Researcher

Qualifications: No specific qualifications.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Related website: http://dlab.berkeley.edu/

Closed (4) Researching African American Newspapers from the Civil War and Reconstruction

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2021 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2021.

Students will help to produce an annotated bibliography of articles from African American historical newspapers addressing the transition from slavery to freedom.

Students will identify, index, and summarize texts with political, philosophical, historical, and literary importance. Newspapers are available online through the UC Berkeley library proxy. There is no in-person component to this project. Meetings will happen over Zoom, and all research can be carried out remotely.

Qualifications: No required skills. Students with knowledge of French will have the opportunity to work with French language African American newspapers if they are interested.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated