Imbiza: A Digital Repository of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa

Imbiza: A Digital Repository of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa is an audiovisual digital repository of the 2010 Soccer World Cup which was held in South Africa from June-July 2010. 

The repository aims to engage football scholars and fans in both reminiscing about the 2010 tournament as well as engaging critically with the historical record of the tournament.  Utilizing over 300 photos and videos from scholars and fans based in the United States, the United Kingdom, and South Africa, the development of this site was highly collaborative, being built mainly on the submissions of contributors who willingly submitted their photos and videos from the tournament.

While some of these materials have been seen before on blogs (like the Other FootballOne Man and His Football, and Football Is Coming Home), some of this content has never been made publicly available before (for example, many of Chris Bolsmann’s photos had not been published before).  These materials were solicited, mainly, through social networking.  The process of compiling this repository was highly collaborative; in short, Imbiza is “digital, from top to bottom.”  From its conceptualization during a Football Scholars Forum session to the solicitation of materials through Twitter, listservs, and blog posts, Imbiza is a representation of how much potential digital networks hold for collaborative knowledge production, not only in terms of this tournament but for a variety of academic endeavors.

Liz Timbs, Imbiza was created using a highly modified theme on a WordPress framework.  The objects contained in Imbiza were cataloged using KORA, the digital repository software developed by MATRIX, building on the frameworks used in other MATRIX projects, including David Robinson’s Failed Islamic States and Alex Galarza’s Constructing the Cuidad Deportiva.  In addition to cataloging these objects, KORA was also used to preserve the born-digital content created in this site, helping to develop best practice for preserving and archiving these types of sources.           

Zulus on Display

Zulus on Display explores the use of Zulus and Zuluness as entertainment from the mid-1850s to the present.  Touching on exhibitions of Zulus by Europeans and North Americans early on, this is a tale of exploitation and cultural appropriation.  Moving into the early to mid-twentieth century, however, it becomes clear that this is not a one-way exchange of culture, but rather an arrangement that, at times, was used to the benefit of marginalized groups, specifically African Americans and Zulus themselves.

Zulus on Display was built using a Twitter Boostrap framework, with a modified theme from Start Boostrap.  The map was built usingStoryMapJS.  Incorporating open access historical photographs, documents, newspaper clippings, and videos, this geospatial timeline allows for an exploration of the temporal and spatial components of this historical phenomenon while also providing a forum to explore broader themes embodied in the displaying of “Zulu” bodies as entertainment.  All of the photos and videos included in the map are openly available from various institutions that can be linked from the citations under each photo. Below is a recorded talk on Zulus on Display in 2014.

Voices of MSU

In 2017, I researched and conducted interviews for MSU Archives & Historical Collections’ Voices of MSU project. Voices of MSU records the current and historical experiences and achievements of minority students, faculty, and staff at Michigan State University. Many of these experiences go undocumented or are only partially recognized in university yearbooks, newspapers, and other traditional sources of campus history. This lack of documentation then leads to an absence of a shared heritage across the university community and a missed opportunity to enrich the study, research, and acknowledgement of the contributions made by learners, educators, and researchers from different cultural backgrounds. These interviews help address those gaps in the archival record, contributing key perspectives to the history of Michigan State University.


Currently, I am working on Enslaved: People of the Historical Slave Trade, a Mellon funded project whose goal it is to build a linked open data platform for the study of the transatlantic slave trade. I write biographies of figures involved in the slave trade, as well as organizing a 2019 conference on databases in the study of the slave trade.