Congratulations to Libby Garno (BA, Spanish & International Studies, 2016), who has just been awarded a second consecutive Fulbright grant to work as an English Teaching Assistant in Tunja, Colombia for AY 2018-2019. Libby will work as a Senior English Teaching Assistant, with responsibilities such as participating in language teacher training, determining education policy, and assuming managerial responsibilities at the Universidad Santo Tomás. It should be emphasized that Libby’s accomplishment is a pretty remarkable one — Fulbright states that only in exceptional cases will they award grants to applicants in two consecutive years. Bravo!
Congratulations to Claire Laing (BA, Spanish & Linguistics, 2017), who was recently accepted to study the Speech-Language Pathology major in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology in the Hunter College Graduate Program (NYC). Claire had a difficult decision when it came to deciding where to pursue graduate work: she applied to the most competitive programs in NYC (where she is from), and was accepted to all of them! Claire‘s first experience with Spanish Linguistics was in Fall 2015, when she enrolled in Spanish 298 with Lorenzo Garcia-Amaya. Since then, she enrolled in multiple advanced Spanish Linguistics courses in RLL (including an Independent Study in Winter 2017), and participated in the CGIS study-abroad program in Granada, Spain. Claire started working in the lab in Winter 2017. For those of you who are new to the From Africa to Patagonia Collaboratory project, Claire was a key player during the Proposal Development phase (May/June 2017), when she collaborated with Mallory Fuller to analyze the back vowels /a o c/ of the bilingual speakers.
As she transitions to her graduate studies, Claire reflected on the impact of her Collaboratory work on her undergraduate career: “Hunter College really values research work, so I think my time working with the lab and gaining authentic research experience definitely helped my application, and additionally the opportunity to work closely with other graduate students and faculty was an important aspect of the lab that I also think strengthened my application. What I loved about the Collaboratory research most was meeting new people and getting to work side by side with them. I also found the research itself interesting, so the opportunity to come together as a research team and discuss all the work we’d been doing individually and see how it all fit together was a great part of my experience working in the lab.”
Congratulations to Colleen Buckley (BA, Spanish, 2018), who recently accepted a full-time position at Beghou Consulting in Chicago, IL (working as Associate Consultant). Colleen’s first experience with Spanish Linguistics was in Fall 2016, when she took Spanish 298 with Nick Henriksen, PI for the From Africa to Patagonia project. Following, she enrolled in multiple advanced Spanish Linguistics courses in RLL, participated in two study-abroad programs in Spain during summer 2017 (including in Salamanca with Lorenzo Garcia-Amaya and Nick Henriksen), and completed an Independent Study on sound change on Andalusian Spanish in Fall 2017. Colleen started working in the lab in Summer 2017.
She has been an indispensable member of the Collaboratory project, specifically in her roles as labeller/checker/double-checker in the massive /p t k b d g/ corpus project. She is one of the most organized members of our team, and we will miss her greatly. Congratulation Colleen!
Hyecho’s Journey is one of the first projects funded by the Humanities Collaboratory. LSA Magazine has highlighted the project in the Fall 2017 issue. Read the story about a mysterious monk, a multi-city research project, and the future of the humanities here. You can also enjoy Hyecho’s Journey through their app, just search on Hyecho’s Journey in the Apple App store.
Our proposal development grant team, “Agentine Afrikaners Interrogating Hybridity in a Unique Diasporic Community,” with Nick Henriksen as the PI was highlighted in The Michigan Daily on June 12.
Proposal Development Applications for Spring Term 2017 funding are now available. See the Proposal Development Funding page for guidelines, questions, forms and evaluation criteria.
Margaret Heffernan’s TED Talk
Drawing from an experiment with chickens, entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan explains how our cultural obsession with individual success is threatening our potential for collaboration and productivity.
The Humanities Collaboratory is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2016 project grants. Funding of more than $500,000 has been awarded to “Hyecho’s Journey,” an interdisciplinary investigation of the travels of an eighth-century Korean monk, and “Precarity Lab: A Thick Humanities Collaboration on Digital Inequalities,” a study of the inequalities and insecurities generated by digital technologies in the contemporary world.
The Humanities Collaboratory supports intergenerational teams of faculty, librarians, graduate and undergraduate students over a two-year period as they conduct innovative research projects that will produce new knowledge as well as model new collaborative methods for humanities research. The project teams will publish their research results in a variety of media for multiple audiences, and the collaborative structure of the projects also suggests new ways of training graduate student in research and professional development.
“Hyecho’s Journey” explores the travels of a young Korean monk who traveled throughout the Buddhist world in the eighth century. Using the monk Hyecho’s travel journal, the project will follow in Hyecho’s footsteps virtually, mapping his journey’s trajectory through his encounters with Buddhist art and the material cultures of the regions he visited. The project models a new approach to the study of Buddhism, offering a picture of the entire Buddhist world at a single historical moment, seen through the eyes of a single monk. This view of Buddhism as a network of interlocking traditions that cross national and cultural boundaries counters a more traditional historical narrative that traces the development of Buddhism as a movement away from an original center. Team members plan to create an interactive map and app that will be featured at a three-year exhibition at the Freer|Sackler Galleries in Washington opening in October 2017; they also expect the research to result in a monograph, a new undergraduate course, a study abroad opportunity, and a graduate student conference on collaboration.
Donald S. Lopez, Jr., Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies, is the project’s principal investigator, and the Hyecho’s Journey team includes Professor Kevin G. Carr (History of Art), Professor Carla Sinopoli (Anthropology and Museum Studies), Keiko Yokota-Carter (Asia Library), and graduate students Rebecca Bloom (Asian Languages and Cultures and Museum Studies), Chun Wa Chan (History of Art), and Ha Nul Jun (Asian Languages and Cultures).
Precarity Lab: A Thick Humanities Collaboration on Digital Inequality
The Precarity Lab team uses the notion of precarity to describe populations that have been disproportionately affected by the forms of inequality and insecurity generated, along with new affordances and possibilities, by digital technologies. Studying the way that precarity unfolds across disparate geographies and cultural practices in the digital age, lab members bring together a diverse set of sites and practices in their research, including the placement of Palestinian Internet cables, the manufacture of electronics by Navajo women, the deployment of drones on the U.S.-Mexico border, and the techno-cultural productions of Chinese makers. Using the notion of “thick humanities” to evoke a claim for central place of the humanities in large-scale and multi-sited research, team members will explore how these sites and practices are related to each other, interrogating the connections and frictions among them, and seeking to understand how they are configured by larger flows of capital, bodies, cultural practices, trade, and labor. Team members anticipate that the research will produce a multi-authored monograph and digital-born critical mapping project.
Lisa Nakumara, Gwendolyn Calvert Baker Collegiate Professor of American Culture, is the project’s principal investigator, and the Precarity Lab’s research team includes Professor Irina Aristarkhova (Stamps School of Art and Design), Professor Anna Watkins Fisher (American Culture and the Residential College), Professor Tung-Hui Hu (English and the Zell Writers’ Program), and graduate students Iván Chaar-López (American Culture) and Meryem Kamil (American Culture).
Humanities Collaboratory Coordinator Peggy McCracken attended a meeting at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington last week entitled “The Humanities Laboratory: Discussions of New Campus Models.” Inside Higher Ed posted the article “Labs are for Humanities, Too” summarizing the discussions and highlighting what various institutions are doing in collaborative humanities research.
We have little control over what Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms do with our data; software that worked perfectly well yesterday locks us out of our archived experiences today. Meanwhile, apps like Uber and Waze promise us the ability to transcend sovereign boundaries. Access across borders, access to devices and platforms, are based on criteria that change by the minute, fueled by processes that are obscure and powerful. Our group decided to come together and give ourselves the name Precarity Lab because we are all working on the various forms of insecurity, vulnerability, and social and cultural exclusion arising from digital platforms.
Precarity Lab aspires to bring together a network of scholars, activists, and public intellectuals who want to interrogate the digital’s claims to openness. Precarity Lab’s founders include:
- Irina Aristarkhova, Associate Professor of Stamps School of Art and Design, has written extensively on new media theory, online communities, cyberfeminism and contemporary art, and new communication and biomedical technologies within international contexts;
- Iván Chaar-López is a Ph.D. candidate in American Culture traces how contemporary use of drones to track and target immigrant bodies in the U.S.-Mexico border are built on the trajectories of cybernetics and Vietnam-era intrusion detection systems;
- Anna Watkins Fisher is Assistant Professor of American Culture and the Residential College and writes on art, politics, and network culture;
- Tung-Hui Hu is a poet and Assistant Professor in English and the Helen Zell Writers’ Program, whose work examines the materiality of technology and its cultural rhetoric;
- Meryem Kamil is a Ph.D. candidate in American Culture, whose research examines the possibilities and limitations of online activism around Palestinian sovereignty;
- Silvia Lindtner is Assistant Professor in the School of Information, whose work examines histories and cultures of “making” and “hacking” in urban China;
- Lisa Nakamura is Gwendolyn Calvert Baker Collegiate Professor of American Culture and Digital Studies and writes on race, gender, and digital inequality.
Our Lab is inspired by collectives such as Deep Lab, Matsutake Worlds, The Petrocultures Research Cluster, and Disruption Network Lab, which model ways for humanities research to be less isolated and isolating, as well as by platforms such as Mukurtu, built to support indigenous communities’ cultural heritage, which push back against the idea that information should be open and accessible all the time.
We are invested in finding ways for critical scholars to create works of lasting value together and also believe that the academic monograph needs to become more collaborative, more fun, and more free. We have been intrigued by the Book Sprint as a tool for book writing that is social, collective, and above all fast. At the same time, we are committed to slow scholarship pushing back against the notion that the digital will make the humanities more “productive.” We value the conviviality and intellectual stimulation that comes from working side by side and are very grateful for the Humanities Collaboratory’s support.