BlackDH Adventures in Southside Chicago Worldmaking

Elizabeth Murice Alexander
Elizabeth Murice Alexander
Assistant Clinical Professor of Digital Humanities and Digital StudiesMITHUniversity of MarylandWebsiteRead Bio

From the archive to the screen, Black digital humanists regularly engage hypertext literature and interactive media as tools of social justice-based creative placemaking. In this presentation, Alexander examines the use of interactive media for Black community worldbuilding and presents her own work in this area. WILDWOOD, a Black solarpunk digital gamebook, visions life in a rewilded future version of West Englewood, a neighborhood on the southside of Chicago. In the game, Alexander incorporates elements of choose-your-own-adventure storytelling and tabletop gaming to explore community histories and futures through adventures in Black speculative worldbuilding, while also experimenting with hypertext fiction and AI image generation as digital placemaking tools. As such, WILDWOOD offers tools to write future visions of Black communities, and space to enact these visions through digital play.

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Elizabeth Murice Alexander is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Digital Humanities and Digital Studies at African American Digital & Experimental Humanities (AADHum), housed in the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland, College Park. Elizabeth designs and develops across digital & print media, with a critical and creative research practice focused on Black women’s technoculture, the embodied lifecycles of cultural and personal data, and the Southwest Side of Chicago. She held a Mellon Editorial Fellowship at Northwestern University Press, co-produced the episode “Growing a Greater Englewood” with Change Agents the Podcast, and is a member of the Immersive Realities Lab for the Humanities digital experimental workgroup, among other fellowships & projects. Currently, she’s working on Erotic Data Poetics, a hybrid book project exploring womanist poetics as a framework for collecting, analyzing, and using data. Elizabeth earned her doctorate in Literatures in English from Cornell University in 2021.


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