THE DIGITAL HUMANITIES INITIATIVE
Digital technology offers extraordinary advantages in mining important historical and cultural data. It also makes humanities thinking available to broader audiences. The Miami University Humanities Center has promoted a number of effort to build institutional capacity in the area of digital humanities.
In 2012, the Humanities Center created a Digital Humanities Working Group (DHWG) charged with studying the possibilities for new digital projects at Miami. Members included:
- Ann-Elizabeth Armstrong, Western College Program and Department of Theatre (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- cris cheek, Department of English (email@example.com)
- Nishani Frazier, Department of History firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Arianne Hartsell-Gundy, University Libraries (email@example.com)
- Stephen Nimis, Department of Classics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Braxton Soderman, Department of Media, Journalism, and Film and Interactive Media Studies (email@example.com)
- Robert Wicks, Miami University Art Museum (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Over 2012-2013, this group conducted a comprehensive review of the Digital Humanities at Miami in relation to national and international trends. This review included a study of new scholarly work on the nature, value, and challenges of the digital humanities; a review of existing and potential digital projects, resources, and opportunities at Miami University; a survey of Miami University humanities faculty, designed to assess current knowledge of, and interest in, digital humanities; and recruitment of Professor Kathleen Fitzpatrick, MLA Director of Scholarly Communicatioin, to help the community think through some of these issues together. The group also developed an NEH grant proposal that could attract federal funding for new digital work.
The Humanities Center offers workshops to help faculty and graduate students acquire research skills in emerging areas of importance. In 2015, the Center offered a workshop on Digital Mapping.
In March 2014, this proposal, written by Ann Elizabeth Armstrong, received a $60,000 NEH Digital Humanities Start Up Grant for “Orientation for the Mississippi Freedom Project: An Interactive Quest for Social Justice.” The award, one of 20 announced by NEH in 2014, supports the creation of an interactive, location-based platform for teaching the history of Freedom Summer. This digital project will develop through a partnership between Ann Elizabeth (Western Program and Theatre), Bob DeSchutter (AIMS and EHS), and Elias Tzoc (Center for Digital Scholarship), all of whom are listed as project directors on the grant The effort will also involve many other Miami faculty, veterans of the Civil Rights Movement, high school teachers, and staff at both the Mississippi State Civil Rights Museum and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.
As part of its effort to lead a thoughtful conversation about the future of the digital humanities at Miami University, the DHWG wrote a series of discussion papers on issues that deserve careful consideration by our community. These papers were circulated to faculty in May 2013 and are available through the link below. They address matters ranging from promotion and tenure standards to the future of research and intellectual community. They were the basis of a Faculty Forum on Tuesday, October 8 with Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication for the Modern Language Association.