The Digital Humanities Lab is pleased to announce the recipients of our 2017 Project Grants. These awards support both the initial planning phases and also the continued development of Yale faculty projects that pursue innovation and excellence in the humanities by way of digital methods.
Internet Cultures: Histories, Networks, Practice
Marijeta Bozovic, Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures; Film and Media Studies; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Marta Figlerowicz, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature; English; Film and Media Studies
Internet cultures have transformed our world in the past quarter of a century, as human beings seemingly overnight learned to use and depend on computer networks for various kinds of work, military operations, pursuits of scientific knowledge, religious proselytizing, political organization, searches for mates and social communities, information retrieval, e-commerce, illegal activities, and infinite varieties of play. The very size of this "cultural production" defies understanding, and for a long time it has also defied systematic study. The prominence of the Internet in our everyday experience needs to be more fully recognized in the undergraduate humanities curriculum. With the Project Grant we received, we will design a research, teaching, and learning initiative that aims to establish Internet studies within Yale’s undergraduate humanities curriculum, and to give such studies a prominent place within our university’s outreach programs. We plan 1) to create a shareable undergraduate syllabus and lecture course across several departments and programs on the diverse histories, technologies, and cultural practices of the Internet, and 2) to develop outreach and resource-sharing practices in the humanities with public high schools in New Haven, Connecticut.
The Digital Archive of Medieval Song
Ardis Butterfield, John M. Schiff Professor of English & Director of Graduate Studies; Professor of French and Music
The Digital Archive of Medieval Song will bring together in a uniquely comprehensive way the texts, manuscript images, music, and scholarly resources relating to medieval song in England. At the center of this largely undiscovered field are the approximately 2,000 medieval lyrics catalogued by modern editors. These poems survive in around 450 manuscripts from the twelfth to the early sixteenth centuries; only a fraction has yet been published in any form. The challenges of working with this material include its diversity, quantity, anonymity, trilingual character, and the difficulty involved in recovering the music so integral to the poems’ medieval existence as song. This project will create a prototype website using a limited corpus of lyrics, presenting an archive of medieval English songs in the richness of their manuscript and musical contexts. Its image-viewing platform will link manuscript image with lyric text, musical notation, sound recording and scholarly commentary. The platform and its search interface will enable new research into medieval song, and bring this rich heritage within reach of the general public.
Living Desegregation: A Digital Gamification of Decision-Making and Consequence in the Jim Crow South
Matthew Jacobson, William Robertson Coe Professor of American Studies and History; Ethnicity, Race & Migration Director; Public Humanities at Yale acting Co-Director
Living Desegregation is a digital "gamification" of US social history, focusing on the lived experience of African Americans in the Jim Crow south during the hopeful but dangerous era of desegregation (1954-1970). Designed for students from eighth grade through college, the platform is part of a web-based educational package accompanying the NEH-funded documentary film A Long Way from Home: The Untold Story of Baseball’s Desegregation (anticipated release 2017). The gamification is based on a decision-tree design, confronting students with myriad social decisions both large and minute (Do I go into this restaurant, or do I wait on the bus? Do I try to rent in this neighborhood? Do I challenge this teammate for his racist comment?), with each decision resulting in a documented consequence and linking to both archival materials and interview clips from the documentary film. While most of today’s students easily recognize the injustice of past White/Colored codes of social conduct, few have a realistic sense of the ins and outs, the nuances, the contradictions, the inconsistencies and caprices, the local or regional variations, and the ubiquitous dangers of Jim Crow custom. The "game" embeds a serious and needed historical pedagogy.
The Tekagami-jō Project
Edward Kamens, Sumitomo Professor of Japanese Studies
The Tekagami-jō, currently housed in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, is a 17th-century album of Japanese calligraphy samples in a variety of styles that are attributed to distinguished writers—emperors, ministers, clerics, poets and the like. The samples include poems and excerpts from literary works, letters, documents, and other miscellaneous writings dateable to as early as the 8th century. It has been recognized by specialists as one of the very finest extant examples of such albums, comparable to a similar album recently acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and to the best-known examples in Japanese collections. This project aims to create a comprehensive bilingual web-based presentation and analysis of the entire contents using the Vercelli engine or a similar platform supported by the Digital Humanities Lab, which will include high-resolution images, transcriptions, translations, and short essays on the attributed calligraphers, the literary or documentary content of each sample, and the culture of calligraphy albums as such.
Out of the Desert Digital Portal
Mary Ting Yi Lui, Professor of American Studies and History; Head of College for Timothy Dwight College
With the Project Grant, Out of the Desert
will overhaul the architecture of our current website outofthedesert.yale.edu, implementing a web application that will serve as a standalone digital portal for exploring the history of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans. Organized around key humanities themes, the site will provide a scholarly, engaging introduction to the public through the use of interactive, user-driven modules. Through a partnership with Brown University’s Choices Program, we will also develop a "blended learning" environment, using the web application as a platform for pedagogical instruction outside of the classroom. Digital tools will also extend the range of possibilities for scholarly research. This includes tethering extant excel databases of
incarcerees to visualization tools, allowing scholars to engage with "big data" demographic trends. We will also
geotag extant digitized material from Yale and the Library of Congress and overlay this content on a revised interactive map.
The Digital Fauvel
Anna Zayaruznaya, Assistant Professor in the Department of Music
The Digital Fauvel is an interactive facsimile-edition of the Roman de Fauvel as preserved in the manuscript Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale fr. 146. It will enable a variety of user interactions with the manuscript including viewing and navigating high-resolution scans, viewing superimposed translations of the text, searching manuscript text and metadata, viewing modern editions of musical items, and listening to musical audio. By bringing together information traditionally available in disparate places (editions, facsimiles, translations, commentary), we create new ways for students, scholars, and the public to interact with this important source. A prototype was designed in 2012–2013 for the now-obsolete Samsung SUR40. In the current phase, The Digital Fauvel will be built to run on the Web as well as a large multi-touch tabletop, with an earlier version of the text programmed in for comparison. New interfaces for interacting with musical content will also be implemented.