Alex Borucki, associate professor of history at UCI, has received a 2020 Digital Extension Grant from the American Council of Learned Societies to further his project, the Intra-American Slave Trade Database.

Borucki, along with UC Santa Cruz historian Gregory O’Malley, led the development of the Intra-American Slave Trade Database, which tracks records of slave voyages within the Americas – stretching from Boston to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and involving both the Atlantic and Pacific coast. The database is hosted by Slave Voyages, one of the most utilized resources in the digital humanities, which illuminates the ubiquity of the slave trade from the 16th century to the 19th century and is home to thousands of records on slave voyages from Africa to the Americas.

“With this grant, history graduate student Spencer Gomez and I will work on the collection of data and identification of slave voyages to and within the colonial Spanish Americas, particularly focusing on regions stretching from Mexico to Venezuela,” said Borucki. “As we will enter these slave voyages in the Intra-American Slave Trade Database, this will increase the awareness about the size, nature, diversity and significance of the African connections with these countries. The website Slave Voyages will also include new educational lessons on the slave trade internal to the Americas, particularly on the former Spanish colonies, that we will design thanks to this grant.”

Borucki is author of From Shipmates to Soldiers: Emerging Black Identities in the Rio de la Plata (University of New Mexico Press, 2015) and coeditor with David Eltis and David Wheat, of the edited volume From the Galleons to the Highlands: Slave Trade Routes in the Spanish Americas (University of New Mexico Press, 2020).

The ACLS Digital Extension Grant program supports digitally based research projects in all disciplines of the humanities and humanities-related social sciences. Now in its fifth year, the program fosters team-based collaboration among scholars at all career stages and expands opportunities for scholarly engagement with the digital humanities. The projects funded this year aim to broaden digital archives, research capacities, and access to knowledge, connecting scholars around the world with illuminating cultural resources.

“At a time when difficult but much needed conversations are dominating the national discourse and as we continue to traverse this new era of social distancing, ACLS is proud to support advances in digital research and scholarly communication that can contribute positively on both fronts,” said ACLS President Joy Connolly. “Thanks to the generosity of the Mellon Foundation, these vital, cutting-edge projects will pursue important research while expanding access to digital resources among a variety of new communities. This program exemplifies our commitment to serving a broad spectrum of learners and diversifying humanistic scholarship.”

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