Open Scholarship in the Humanities: Jobie Hill

The following is one of four profiles of researchers who have engaged in open scholarship at Duke. Please join us on October 5 for Open Scholarship in the Humanities — an in-person panel discussion with these current and former graduate students, who will explore their approaches to engaging in open humanistic scholarship. You can learn more about this ScholarWorks Center event in this blog post and you can register at The event qualifies for 200-level RCR credit. We hope to see you there!

Meet Jobie Hill

Photograph of Jobie HillJobie Hill is a Ph.D. student in the Duke History department and the creator of the Saving Slave Houses project (online at We asked her to describe her scholarly background, the development of her project, and some of the invisible work that goes into creating open scholarship. Jobie writes:

“I am a licensed Preservation Architect and Slave House Expert with over twenty years of professional experience. I have degrees in historic preservation, art history, archaeology, anthropology, and I’m currently working on a PhD in history. I am a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). I have conducted interdisciplinary research examining slave houses, the influence these dwellings had on the lives of their inhabitants, and the preservation of the history of enslaved people.

“My personal mission is to advance an evidence-based understanding and acknowledgement of the institution of slavery in America. A cornerstone of this effort is the belief that the histories of many non-white Americans have been told to them and not by them. To that end, I am dedicated to the interpretation and preservation of the living and working environments of enslaved people, integrated with their own oral histories and historical records related to the business of slavery.”

About Saving Slave Houses

“In 2012 I started the project Saving Slave Houses (SSH) with the primary goal of ensuring that slave houses, irreplaceable pieces of history, are not lost forever. The project was meant to change the way we think, talk, research, document, interpret, preserve, restore, teach about, and learn from slave houses. 

“An important component of SSH is the Slave House Database (SHD). The SHD is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, national study of slave houses in the U.S. Its inclusion of narratives from formerly enslaved people who lived in the houses fuses a voice about the human condition with the physical structure. The SHD is designed to be a resource for researchers, descendants, museums, organizations and the public to study and interpret the surviving evidence of slavery.

“Recently, I have been exploring collective storytelling at historic sites of slavery. How–and by whom–these stories are told matters. I have been fortunate to work with descendants of enslaved communities to explore the what and how of collective storytelling.”

In this video, Jobie Hill shares more about the Saving Slave Houses project.

On the Invisible Work of Open Scholarship

“I have always known the work I do is important, but I’m not a good marketing person. I mean that I am not one to spend a lot of time describing what I plan to do – I just do it. Knowing this about myself, very early on in my work I started making an effort to document what I was doing so people could see my process for themselves. I also participate in as many public outreach activities as possible. Because of these choices, I don’t think there is anything missing from the final product.”

Learn More

We invite you to explore the Saving Slave Houses website and learn about the important research and preservation work Jobie continues to do. To read media coverage, hear interviews, and see videos about her work, please visit Saving Slave Houses in the Media.

Come meet Jobie and learn about her work at the ScholarWorks Center‘s Open Scholarship in the Humanities panel discussion on October 5 (12:00-1:00 PM, Bostock Library 127; lunch is provided). Please take a moment to register and learn more about the event. We’ll see you there!