Entries in Digital Humanities (3)


NEH DH Start-Up Grant Recipients Announced

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.

Dissertating in the Digital Age, continued

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.

Digital Approaches to Literary History

Ted Underwood has posted his fascinating talk, "How Well Do We Understand Literary History?", delivered at the Nebraska Forum on Digital Humanities on February 7. Basically Ted uses a data mining algorithm to rip through the Hathi Trust's approximately 700,000 volumes of British and North American literature produced between 1700 and 1900, searching for clues as to how literary genres and the use of point-of-view has changed over time.