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Candice Myruski uses a large-format camera to re-create photos on campus that were originally taken in the early 20th century.
1:22 p.m., Oct. 21, 2013--From a website about Chinese immigrants
building the transcontinental railroad to digital re-creations of
historic Delaware photos, projects in the humanities at the University
of Delaware are increasingly making use of technology to enhance
research and student learning.
Several of these projects were showcased last week at a session of
the Public Humanities in a Digital World lecture and workshop series.
The ongoing series is hosted by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Digital resources are building bridges between disciplines on our
campus, center director Ann Ardis, deputy dean of the College of Arts
and Sciences, said in introducing the speakers. UD faculty members and
students gave brief overviews of their digital humanities projects, and
the group discussed ways to expand and expedite the use of technology in
a variety of academic areas.
The highlighted projects were:
The Emancipation Project, in which undergraduate history students
are working to develop a digital edition of a Civil War diary from the
Massachusetts 54th Black Regiment belonging to the family of Ritchie
Garrison, professor of history and director of UDs Winterthur Program
in American Material Culture. The multimedia project will include a
digital copy of the diary, student papers about the diary and video.
Garrison said he wanted descendants of the soldiers to have access to
the material, so he chose an online platform rather than, for example,
an academic journal. Also, he said, This is a very powerful way to
teach, and the students are learning an enormous amount.
I Want the Wide American Earth, an exhibition and website about the
experiences of the Chinese migrants who worked on Americas railroad
from 1865-69. Jeanne Pfaelzer, professor of English, who has conducted
extensive research on those migrants, worked with the Smithsonian
Institution to develop the exhibition and with Stanford University on
the website. She told the digital humanities group that online archives
have been essential to her work, allowing scholars and others to
collaborate from different counties and in different languages to
stitch together the pieces of a puzzle.
Rephotography, a project in which graduate student Candice Myruski
and David Ames, director of UDs Center for Historic Architecture and
Design, are re-creating photos taken in the 1920s and 30s by Delaware
documentary photographer Roydon Hammond. They are using a sophisticated
combination of traditional film and digital work, which Myruski said
gives researchers working with the images the best of both worlds.
Another digital tool, Google Street View, has been essential in
pinpointing the locations of Hammonds photos, Ames said.
April Veness, associate professor of geography, presented an overview
of her continuing project focused on the history of Newark, Del., which
began in 2007. Over the years, she and her students have interviewed
numerous individuals and collected a great deal of material, which has
evolved into a multimedia project, she said. The goal is high-quality,
digital storytelling that can be shared with the public, Veness said.
Engaging Communities Through Museums, a project in which Katie
Bonanno, an undergraduate art conservation student, is focused on the
history of the New London Road area, home to Newarks oldest African
American community, and has designed a series of interactive programs to
accompany University Museums exhibitions. Museums are exploring new
ways to use technology in their outreach, Bonanno said, and the New
London Road project helps inform UD students and others about this part
of Newarks history. My view is that museums can embrace new technology
and make community engagement a priority, she said.
The Public Humanities in a Digital World series is co-sponsored by
the UD Library, IT-Academic Technology Services, the College of Arts and
Sciences and the Department of English.
Article by Ann Manser
Photo by Ambre Alexander
Originally published by UDaily
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