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Getty Foundation Funds a Digital Humanities Summer Institute for Art Historians at RRCHNM

The Getty Foundation recently awarded the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media a grant to organize and run a digital humanities summer institute for art historians in 2014. “Digital Humanities for Art Historians” will target art historians, from graduate students, to mid-career and senior scholars, from varied backgrounds, including faculty, curators, and established art librarians and archivists who are eager to move more deeply into the digital turn in the humanities.

Recognizing a significant need in this area, the Getty Foundation is sponsoring this project as part of a pilot initiative to support training workshops in digital art history. The Getty Foundation fulfills the philanthropic mission of the Getty Trust by supporting individuals and institutions committed to advancing the greater understanding and preservation of the visual arts in Los Angeles and throughout the world.

Project Co-Directors, Sheila Brennan and Sharon Leon are thrilled to be working with the Getty Foundation for the first time through this initiative and to be addressing issues specific to art historians together with fellow members of GMU’s History and Art History Department.

Applications for this summer institute will be announced in early 2014. Watch the RRCHNM blog, @chnm on Twitter, and major art history-related listservs (more…)

The Challenges of Making a Challenge | DH Fellow’s Blogpost

Anne McDivitt (1st year Digital History Fellow)

For the past few weeks at the Center for History and New Media, my fellow first year Digital History Fellows and myself were assigned to work in the Education division, which produces projects that are designed to teach history to a wide scope of people through various educational resources.

While in the Education division, we have been working with a new web project meant to engage and educate the audience by allowing them to examine liberty in the United States in a new and interesting way. This is achieved by incorporating age and ability-appropriate “challenges” and access to primary documents and images. This project seeks an audience of teachers, K-12 students, as well as the general public.

There are intriguing methods in creating a challenge for students. While creating our own challenge for the project, there were multiple questions that we had to ask ourselves. First, what was the goal of the project? What did we want the students to achieve from doing the challenge? What skills would they use? In terms of examining the sources, we attempted to view them in an analytic manner, but with a basic guided direction so that the students do not (more…)

RRCHNM Welcomes Stephanie Westcott

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media are very happy to welcome Stephanie Westcott to our ranks as a Research Assistant Professor. Stephanie is a historian of U.S. popular culture, with a recent dissertation from University of Wisconsin, Madison titled “Producing Panic: Media, Morality, and American Sexuality, 1945–1970.” She spent last year teaching in the Democracy and justice Studies program at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. In addition to her research and teaching background, Westcott brings to RRCHNM her extensive and impressive professional experience working in the publishing industry at a small independent press and in public history. She will serve as a new project director on PressForward, working with Joan Troyano and Lisa Rhody.

Welcome Stephanie!

Readings Course in Digital History | DH Fellow’s blogpost

Ben Hurwitz (2nd year Digital History Fellow)

Since its inception, the George Mason history PhD program has emphasized exposure to the Digital Humanities (DH). The program requires completion of two courses that introduce students to digital tools and developments in the DH community. In addition to these courses and others, the department also allows students to pursue a minor field in Digital History.

This summer, seven graduate students, including four graduate research assistants at RRCHNM, participated in a readings course to complete the Digital History minor. Working with Dr. Kelly Schrum, our class explored creative uses for social media, games, digital maps, and data visualizations. This readings course was atypical in that the students were expected to demonstrate mastery through frequent creative assignments in addition to discussing influential publications and debates within the field.

The products of these assignments demonstrate the wide-ranging applications of digital technology for teaching, learning, research, and presentation of scholarship. For example, in one assignment I used Google Art Project to create a gallery of artwork depicting sheep and shepherds. Using this gallery, I showed that sheep are often associated with specific concepts, such as solitude, religious devotion, or an idyllic landscape. Within minutes, I was able to gather and (more…)

RRCHNM Graduate Students Organize Inaugural Rails Girls DH

Guest post by RRCHNM Graduate Research Assistants, Jeri Wieringa and Celeste Sharpe

As women graduate students working in digital humanities, we know first-hand the gender gap in our field. With few women programmers working in the digital humanities, and a lack of opportunities generally for women learning to code, there is a serious need for creative solutions to these systemic problems. Building on current conversations about the cultural and structural obstacles that make it difficult for women to learn to code, we decided to organize a workshop where women interested in programming could come together and learn.

rails_girls_dhOn September 7, forty-five people came together and participated in Rails Girls Digital Humanities at George Mason University. This one-day, intensive workshop combined the intellectual pursuits of humanities scholars with the structure of Rails Girls, an international movement of free workshops that introduce women to technology and programming through Ruby on Rails. This combination offers both an entry point for understanding the technology behind web applications as well as an opportunity to grow a community of academic women interested in the code that powers digital humanities scholarship.

Thirty women–undergraduate and graduate students, librarians and archivists, scholars and professors–from the DC metro area, Virginia, Boston, and California comprised (more…)

The Impact of Education Projects | DH Fellow’s blogpost

As fellows in the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, my cohort and I will spend the better part of this year working within the three divisions, engaged in hands-on work with the tools and projects CHNM produces.

We’ve begun our foray in the educational projects division of CHNM and as I described in my introductory blog, the content and materials created and maintained in this area are expansive. Projects like Children and Youth in History, Popular Romance, History Matters, and others, are built with commitment to open access content and resources in history education. And these efforts consistently earn awards. The American Association for State and Local History recently recognized CHNM’s Teachinghistory.org with a 2013 Leadership in History Award of Merit.

But how do we evaluate the impact of the work that we do? As we assess the resources required, apply for funding, and think about site maintenance, this is a question that we frequently revisit in the digital humanities. I took the opportunity to sit down with Kelly Schrum, director of educational projects at CHNM and director of Teachinghistory.org, and Jennifer Rosenfeld, associate director of educational projects at CHNM, to discuss impact and their vision of work within the (more…)

Remembering with the September 11 Digital Archive

During this day of remembrance, we urge you to browse through some of the materials collected by the September 11th Digital Archive, a collaborative effort between RRCNHM and the American Social History Project at the City University of New York to preserve and present the history of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. 911home Officially launched in 2002, the Archive is among the earliest online collecting projects that championed the crowdsourcing of materials from anyone effected by September 11 and interested in sharing their stories, photographs, digital art, audio recordings, documents, or videos.

The site’s blog is highlighting special collections within the digital archive, groups like the Madison Area Peace Coalition that organized soon after September 11 and collaborated with other groups with similar objectives. These source materials offer researchers an opportunity to trace the organization and growth of one post-911 political movement.

With over 150,000 digital items, the Archive is large and has become increasingly challenging to manage. To help preserve this valuable collection of unique user-generated content and specialized collections, the project team is working with a Saving America’s Treasures grant to stabilize the current infrastructure and move all of the collections to the Omeka platform. Digital Archivist Jim (more…)

Digital History Fellows At RRCHNM

Monday Meeting 8_26_13

The first Monday all-staff meeting of the year at RRCHNM was devoted to an orientation for the fourteen Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) who will be working at the Center in 2013-14. GRAs are a key part of the Center’s staff, working in a range of capacities on projects in all three divisions – Education, Public Projects, and Research — and in some cases on multiple projects in different divisions (watch for future posts describing exactly what they are doing).

The second cohort of Digital History Fellows are part of this group; you can find them and the earlier cohort here. Supported by the Provost, this program admits three graduate students each year, who each receive two years of funding at $20,000 p.a., in addition to three years of funding from the History Department, and undertake a practicum course for credit at RRCHNM each semester for two years.

The Fellows program is as an extension of the central role of digital history in the PhD program at GMU. Set up as ‘a PhD with a difference,’ it requires all students to take two core courses, Clio Wired: An Introduction to History and New Media Credits, and Creating History in New Media, which provide exposure (more…)

RRCHNM Welcomes Lisa Rhody

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media are happy to welcome Lisa Rhody to our ranks as a Research Assistant Professor. Lisa comes to us having completed a doctorate in English at the University of Maryland at the end of 2012. Her dissertation made use of computational analysis to explore the ekphrastic work of twentieth-century female poets to challenge widely held critical assumptions about the genre.

At RRCHNM, Rhody will be engaged on several different projects. First, in the Public Projects Division, she continues the work she began on a part time basis several months ago, guiding the programming for the Institute of Museum and Library Service’s annual WebWise meeting. This conference brings together cutting edge digital work from the nation’s libraries, archives, museums, and science centers. Second, in conjunction with the year-long planning that goes into making WebWise a success, Rhody is also contributing to a number of institutional planning and digital strategy projects. Together this work places her at the heart of the Center’s efforts to encourage innovative digital cultural heritage work. Third, Rhody will serve as the co-editor of the Journal of Digital Humanities, the flagship publication of the PressForward project. This work will bring Rhody’s insights (more…)