The National Endowment for the Humanities has announced the 23 recipients of this year's digital humanities start-up grants. While one cannot generalize from the results of a single set of recipients, it is worth noting that eight of the twenty-three successful proposals had an historical component. The digital approaches varied widely from the creation of a digital studio for the optical and chemical analysis of fifteenth-century books to a game prototype based on the 1936 Negro Motorist Green Book, an advice guide for African Americans traveling in the Jim Crow South. Topic modeling and network mapping were dominant methodologies. Topic modeling approaches included a web-based metadata visualization tool that would be first tested on abolitionist newspapers, and Ted Underwood's literary genre-mapping-over-time project, the subject of an earlier blog entry. Network mapping approaches included mapping the social and professional networks of Renaissance musicians and mapping the reprint networks of nineteenth century American newspapers.
A consortium of graduate programs has announced the creation of the Praxis Network. All programs are "engaged in rethinking pedagogy and campus partnerships in relation to the digital." One promises to equip knowledge workers for faculty positions "at a moment when new questions can be asked and new systems built." Another intends to produce "thought leaders for the future of the field." And a third hopes to "provide an arena" in which students "can learn about new digital scholarship." While a little vague at present, the laudable point of all this is to nudge the occasional humanist from a "lone wolf" model of monograph production to a collaborative research model of pooled resources (financial and intellectual) and the production of larger projects that may outlive and outgrow their creators.
Who was Atlanta's Holtzclaw Street named for? Why is there an Estoria Street in Cabbagetown? Find out at the Atlanta Street Names Project. The site, launched just last week, explores the history behind Atlanta's street names and was conceived and designed by our colleague Kurt Luther. By inviting the public to contribute, the Atlanta Street Names Project seeks to create a community of citizen historians and to initiate a broader discussion about Atlanta's past. Check it out!
One of the pioneers in mapping epidemics was born two-hundred years ago today. In the second edition of On the Mode of Communication of Cholera, physician John Snow meticulously plotted water pumps and cholera cases in London in August and September 1854. The result was a revelatory map, illustrating that the disease was caused not by miasma in the air, as was generally thought, but by contaminated water. In the case of the 1854 outbreak, a pump on Broad (now Broadwick) Street proved to be ground-zero of an epidemic that killed some six hundred people.