T&T student Valerie Kasper successfully defended her dissertation on March 27, 2018. Valerie’s Dissertation title is The Resonance and Residue of the First African American Newspaper: How Freedom’s Journal Created Space in the Early 19th Century
Newspapers as a medium create space by creating an environment through which its readership experiences shared information. Newspapers help society understand the world and make it meaningful; and in doing so, they use space as a tool to positively or negatively, consciously or unconsciously impact communities. In 1827, two African American men used this medium to influence society and create a new space when they became editors of the first African American newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, and for two years, this newspaper used the written word to engage and sway society and create a positive space for African Americans.
This dissertation combines both print and digital research methodologies to illustrate how the first African American newspaper fought against the influences of white society in the early 19th century and help create a space for the African American community. Through the use of geolocation and topic modeling, this dissertation illustrates how Freedom’s Journalused text to create space in relation to the influences/powers shaping the early 19th century, and create a new and different type of historical narrative about how one oppressed community was successfully able to fight another dominant community through the use of text.
Outline of Studies:
Major: Texts and Technology
B.S., University of Florida, 1990
M.A., University of South Florida, 1995
Committee in Charge:
Dr. Scot A. French
Dr. Stephanie Vie
Dr. Kimberly Voss
Dr. Anthony Grajeda