The University of Maryland's Center for the History of the New America (CHNA) has partnered with MITH to develop the Transforming the Afro-Caribbean World (TAW) project to bring together scholars of the Panama Canal, Afro-Caribbean history, and experts in the digital humanities, data modeling, and visualization for a two-day planning workshop that will discuss a large-scale effort to explore Afro-Caribbean labor, migration, and the Panama Canal.

The U.S. project to construct the Panama Canal exerted a huge impact on the Americas, generating a tidal flow of migration from dozens of nations to the Panama Canal Zone in the early 20th century---and then beyond it to sites across the hemisphere, permanently altering the geography, economy, politics, and cultures of the Western Hemisphere.

The TAW workshop has several aims: 1) digitization of a subset of the proposed records to evaluate potential costs and preservation issues; 2) exploration of structured data tools to reveal new insights about these records; 3) the creation of annotated bibliographies for use by teachers and the public as they begin to explore the centennial anniversary of the opening of the canal; and 4) identification of other archives and repositories to be included in a larger project. Ultimately this start-up grant will produce a work plan and report outlining a potential large-scale collaboration to map and explore the movement of Afro-Caribbean laborers between 1903 and 1920.