Marisol Fila, a graduate fellow at the University of Michigan and a PhD Candidate in Romance Languages and Literatures: Spanish and Portuguese, recently worked on a team podcast, Contextualizing Feminist Voices.
The podcast is part of the Humanities Collaboratory Project, Expanding the Reach of the Global Feminisms Oral History Archive. The goal of the team’s podcast is to provide background information for people using the Global Feminisms Project materials and to reach general audiences, rather than solely researchers and students.
Fila began her interest in podcasts as part of her dissertation which explores how Black writers, artists, and intellectuals in the twenty-first century Black presses of Buenos Aires, Argentina, São Paulo, Brazil, and Lisbon, Portugal use digital and print media to navigate distinct articulations between diasporic and national Black identities.
“I felt a mix of anxious and nervous when I recorded my first podcast,” Fila said. “But then I learned that it’s okay if you don’t necessarily achieve a certain level of production. You have to value the entire process in how things are being made, rather than worrying too much about making it sound perfect.”
Fila gained some of her initial podcasting experience in fall 2020 when she took lead in a podcast as part of the National Humanities Center Graduate Institute’s, “Podcasting the Humanities: Creating Digital Stories for the Public.” There, she learned the ins-and-outs of podcast production, which inspired her to create her own for the Global Feminisms Project.
“My work intersects digital humanities with public humanities, so I’m always interested in creating these different projects that are envisioned for broader audiences and can translate discipline-based knowledge into a common language,” Fila said. “I thought having a podcast would be a good way for people to learn about the archives in a more accessible way.”
Contextualizing Feminist Voices involves team members interviewing an expert from a specific country who can provide a well-informed account of the interviews, the way they connect to each other, and to the social, political, cultural and economic contexts of the country.”
“These women know a lot about what is going on in their countries right now,” Fila said. “They can tell us about how the new and younger generations of feminist women are becoming a part of the movement, including the role of social media and art.”
Every episode is between 10-15 minutes because Fila believes having short episodes is a good way for people to get to know about the archive without having to spend a lot of time listening. She said shorter episodes are more engaging for an audience. Each episode also provides a transcript for future use in classrooms.
Fila told the Humanities Collaboratory that their goal is to not sound like a professional podcast, but rather to raise awareness and focus on the experience.
Fila is currently working on a second series of the podcast, focused on pedagogy and the ways instructors can use the archive and the project as a whole in their courses. Her project currently has 12 lesson plans published on the website. The team has recently recorded the first few episodes of the second series.
The second season begins with a conference from October 2021 in which different instructors talked about their experiences with using the archives in their classes. The first four episodes are based on the conference, creating connections between instructors’ uses of the podcasts.
“I’m really eager to know the ways in which professors have used the interviews in their classes, how it has worked, how it hasn’t, and how students reacted to working with this experience from their own voices,” Fila said. “I want to provide quick and approachable ideas for incorporating the archives in classrooms.”
Along with Contextualizing Feminist Voices, Fila is working on two other podcasts for Argentina: one in which she and the Argentine Association of Digital Humanities (AADH) interview digital humanists from Latin America, called “Cinco Preguntas a Humanistas Digitales” and another through the University of Buenos Aires and the Grupo de Estudios Afrolatinoamericanos (GEALA) called “Cartografías Raciales Latinoamericanos.”
Fila began her collaboration with the Global Feminisms Project as a translator for Portuguese interviews from Brazil. She is also a Graduate Student Instructor at Michigan’s RLL department, in which she taught Portuguese 283, Spanish 232 and Spanish 280. Fila is a Graduate Liaison at the Edward Ginsberg Center. She aims for a collaborative and horizontal production of knowledge and is interested in the ways in which technology and digital media can serve as a tool to share her research to a wider audience.
Marisol is also interested in Critical Pedagogy and Public Digital Humanities and in the ways in which technology and digital media can serve as a tool to share her research and work to a wider audience, but also to develop digital projects in partnership with Afro-descendant organizations across Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries. Marisol is the 2021-2022 A. Bartlett Giamatti Graduate Fellow for the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities and a 2021-2022 Imagining America PAGE Fellow.