Anthropocene Household

Understanding environmental histories and legacies

Image courtesy of Imani on Unsplash

To better understand the lived experiences of Hoosiers in their local environment, a team led by IUPUI History Professor Jason Kelly is capturing the oral histories of Indiana homeowners.

In its first phase, the team is focusing on water quality in four northwest Indianapolis neighborhoods. Using a “citizen science” approach, researchers are engaging residents and community organizations to collect and test water samples for pollutants, including heavy metals, arsenic, and atrazine. These findings are informing a publicly available geographic information systems dataset on water quality in Indianapolis.

Data collection on water quality is being supplemented with surveys, focus groups, interviews, and oral histories to better understand local narratives about water and the environment. These efforts are being used to inform the educational programming of community organizations such as the Kheprw Institute in Indianapolis and community-based art projects that recognize environmental histories, sustainability, and environmental change in Indianapolis neighborhoods.