The August 20 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac highlighted the Michigan Humanities Collaboratory as an example of how the University of Michigan is one of the top financial supporters of humanities research in higher education.
University of Chicago Press
In 724, a teenage Korean monk named Hyecho sailed from China to India on a pilgrimage of almost the entire Buddhist world: from the “eight great” pilgrimage sites of India through present-day Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. When he returned to China in 727, Hyecho had traveled farther than any other Buddhist pilgrim of his time. Hyecho’s Journey comprises stand-alone chapters on the history and Buddhist significance of a dozen places in Hyecho’s world. Each chapter concludes with an analysis of two related artworks from the Smithsonian’s Sackler-Freer museums of Asian art, so the volume complements Encountering the Buddha,” the Sackler’s exhibit of Buddhist art (the exhibit runs until late 2020). However, Journey is not a simple catalogue, despite its glossy pages and color plates. Eminent scholar of Buddhism Donald Lopez (Buddhist and Tibetan studies, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor) collaborates with a team of art historians and archaeologists to produce an unusual, cross-disciplinary treatment of Buddhist doctrine, mythology, ritual, and history. Scholars of material religion and art history will especially welcome the expert synthesis of textual with visual sources and Buddhism scholars the detailed introduction to Hyecho’s life and fragmentary travel journal. Casual readers will enjoy retracing Hyecho’s steps with Lopez’s erudite yet engaging narrative as guide.
–L. Harrington, Boston University
Lopez, Donald S., Jr. Hyecho's journey: the world of Buddhism, by Donald S. Lopez Jr. with Rebecca Bloom et al. Chicago, 2017. 245p bibl index ISBN 9780226517902, $35.00; ISBN 9780022651806 ebook, $35.00.ISBN 9780226517902, $35.00
Congratulations to Maxim Aleksa (BS, RLL & Computer Science, 2017), who currently works as a software engineer at Apple in Cupertino, California. Maxim worked as part of the Africa to Patagonia team in Spring 2017, during the Proposal Development phase (shortly after he completed his BS), to work as a specialized consultant on the aesthetics and narrative behind our Africa to Patagonia Collaboratory website. Maxim worked closely with Ishan to develop the finer details of the website, and to ensure the collaborative approach was clearly explained to a broader public. During his first year at Apple, Maxim has been able to capitalize on the programming skills he acquired through the lab and Collaboratory research to expand in his new position, and is now developing applications such as Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.
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!
This Fall saw the first project of the Humanities Collaboratory bear a range of remarkable fruit. On December 9, the entire team of Hyecho’s Journey made a trip to Washington, where the eighth-century Korean Buddhist monk Hyecho and his extraordinary journey is a focal point of a major exhibition of Buddhist art, entitled “Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice across Asia,” at the Freer|Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian. The exhibition, which opened on October 13, will run for three years.
During last week’s event in the Meyer Auditorium at the Freer|Sackler, Professor Donald Lopez (PI) and the rest of Team Hyecho (Kevin Carr, Carla Sinopoli, Chun Wa Chan, Ha Nul Jun, and Rebecca Bloom) spoke the lines from the graphic novel(ette) about the project in this Fall’s LSA Magazine, leading into a wide-ranging discussion with the audience, who had braved an inch of snow to attend.
The event coincided with the publication of their book “Hyecho’s Journey: The World of Buddhism.” The book describes twelve places that Hyecho stopped along his three-year journey—from Korea, to China, India, Arabia, and back to China—telling stories that Hyecho would have known about the sacred Buddhist sites that he visited and what those stories tell us about the Buddhist world. The book contains color plates of twenty-four works from the Freer|Sackler Galleries.
Also unveiled this Fall were two apps created by a group of UM students from UM’s Multidisciplinary Design Program. Under the guidance of Professor Sugih Jamin of EECS, the student team worked with experts at the Freer|Sackler over the past calendar year to create an interactive map for the iPad as well as a guide through the exhibition, complete with audio commentary and games, for the iPhone, allowing visitors to the exhibition to learn more about the Buddhist world Hyecho encountered on his pilgrimage. The apps are free and available for download from the Apple Store. The team included undergraduate Computer Science students Anders Boberg, Bailey Case, Elijah Sattler, and Eric Yeh, as well as School of Information graduate student Wei Cai, School of Information undergraduate Rebecca Henry, and SI/Art & Design dual major Sindhu Giri.
Finally, over the Thanksgiving break, five members of Team Hyecho traveled to Korea and Japan, visiting sites associated with Hyecho in Korea as well as museums in both countries that hold important collections from the period of his travels.
Congratulations to the entire team of Hyecho’s Journey!
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.
The Humanities Collaboratory is featured in a new website from the Office of the Provost called “Engaged Michigan,” which brings together a range of resources and initiatives that are at the forefront of engaged, collaborative, and interdisciplinary learning and research on campus.
During his 2017 Leadership Breakfast, President Schlissel made note of the Humanities Collaboratory among a set of new campus-wide initiatives that are “helping to unleash faculty creativity in innovative ways.” Schlissel acknowledged the role and importance of project-based, faculty-led collaboration in positioning U-M as a leading site of new knowledge production.
2017 Leadership Breakfast (Remarks)