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Hess Scholar Digital Humanities Assignments 2021: BC Covid-19 Archive

Why BC Covid-19 Archive?

The BC Covid-19 Archive @ The Journal of the Plague Year allows the unique opportunity to make history with your story of your pandemic experience. It invites members of the Brooklyn College community—current students, staff, and faculty; alumni; and members of the larger borough and New York City—to share stories and experiences about Covid-19. The opportunity to upload a media file of 254 MB can allow students to do this in a format which might usually be too large: audio or even video. Submissions to this digital archive might include: personal narratives and family stories; interviews, whether as audio files or transcripts; artwork, music, and photographs; poems and other reflections; fictional accounts, graphic novels, and zines; images, videos, tweets, and other digital objects; Facebook and other social media posts, and Instagram and Snapchat memes; PDFs, screenshots of news reporting; etc. The BC Covid-19 Archive welcomes anything that helps to capture the pandemic and other issues related to this historic moment.

Audio (or Transcribed) Interview Assignment

Interview an Asian American or Pacific Islander, or answer these questions yourself. If doing this as an audio or video interview, keep responses short so as to decrease file size.  Size is not an issue for written responses.


  1. How do you define your AAPI identity? 
  2. Discuss the specific perception of your own AAPI identity in your community.
  3. Discuss how you feel AAPI in general are perceived in USA in general.
  4. How do you perceive the attitude of US citizens in general to your family’s country of origin? How does this affect your experience in the US?
  5. How do people in your family’s country of origin tend to view its emigrants to the US? How does this affect your interactions with them?
  6. How do you feel your AAPI community has evolved over the last century? Over the last decade? What are some major points of change?
  7. What (if any) aspects of your AAPI heritage do you celebrate and enjoy? What, if any, aspects do you struggle with?
  8. Who are some of your cultural icons from AAPI community or history?
  9. Discuss your experience as an AAPI during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Once your interview is complete, you can upload your Audio, Video, or text file to the BC Covid-19 Archive. Note: the file must be below 254 MB in size. Try to make sure you have a good wifi connection while uploading to avoid upload failure.

Exhibit Project

This a link to an example of an exhibit created with the submissions of the Journal of the Plague Year Covid-19 Archive. To perform this assignment you must be registered with an account on the Journal of the Plague year. To do so, contact Emily Fairey, Curator of the BC Covid-19 Archive.

Perform an Advanced Search on all of the JOTPY records for search terms relevant to a research question on Asian American identity. Browse the terms until you have at least 10-20 posts that have a thematic commonality. Then using the "Exhibit" feature of Omeka S, bring the posts together into Exhibit Format, together with your original written content.

Poem Assignment

Write a poem about your experience as a student during the Covid-19 pandemic. Then read it out loud and record yourself. Upload the audio file to the BC Covid-19 archive, and paste or type in the text of the poem the "Description" field of the submission form. Or submit text file only.

Tagging project

For group or partner work:

Have students share the urls of their published interviews or poems. Then have the partner or group members put tags on the interview. Use as many as 20 tags, a minimum of 10 tags per post.