This project entails a visualization of student protests from two different time periods, 1965-1975 and 2005-2015. The data used is primarily from the Amherst Student and information collected is regarding any protest in which any members of the Amherst College community were involved in.
Why student protests?
When going through the student publications collection, the publications that appealed to me the most were centered around serious issues, and were obviously a reflection of their time. Some of these publications were a response to events that were linked to some kind of protest and prompted a variety of student responses.
The duration of the Vietnam War was met with a lot of uproar all around the United States, much of which was fueled in colleges and universities. This time period was also crucial in terms of the Civil Rights Movement, with the death of Martin Luther King Jr accelerating the fight for equality by African Americans. Amherst College too joined in the national protests against the Vietnam War in various ways, had protests which led to the establishment of the Black Studies department, and this was the time when discussions of Amherst College becoming coeducational started.
In my two years of being at Amherst College I have heard of, witnessed and participated in several protests. I wanted to select a time period that captured recent events and is relevant to my time here as well. On top of that, I thought it would make an interesting era to compare, especially with the nature of protests shifting to online platforms and the trend of social media activism.
Why The Amherst Student?
The Amherst Student was a great resource for collecting large sets of data spanning long periods of time. As one of the few consistent publications, I was sure that it would provide close to accurate data on the events that were happening. Furthermore, after the Student had come under the leadership of Marshall Bloom in 1965, it became more geared towards national concerns and issues, which was consistent with the information I was interested in. Although the Student was my main resource, I did consult the Moratoria Papers in the Archives and Special Collections as well as social media platforms.
Tableau is a tool that can generate meaningful insights from multiple data sources and present them in a clear, concise way, which is also interactive. As a tool it is also widely used by research and as such has numerous help forums and user guides making it easy to figure out how to use the tool.
Project by Norah Oteri ’18