ACLS Digital Extension Grants

The ACLS Digital Extension Grant program supports digitally based research projects in all disciplines of the humanities and humanities-related social sciences. It is hoped that these grants will help advance the digital transformation of humanities scholarship by extending the reach of existing digital projects to new communities of users and by adding diversity to the digital record.

This program is made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Read more about this fellowship program.

Please note: affiliations shown are as of time of award. Please click on fellows' names for current information.

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Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 

  • Big, Bad Data and the Birth of Death As We Know It: How Our Mortality Became Disciplined to Science, the State, and Actuarial Tables  |  Abstract

    The public health system of the early United States struggled not just with medical problems—adopting a germ theory of disease, for instance—but with logistical, statistical, and conceptual problems in learning how to aggregate, analyze, and visualize good data. Science, the state, and private industry fly relatively blind until they can “see at scale”; datafication turns out to be one of the least appreciated, and most important, planks in the bridge to modernity. A dramatic scaling up of a project funded by a Digital Innovation Fellowship from ACLS in 2013, “The Birth of Death As We Know It” collects and analyzes a variety of early public health records—coroners’ inquests, mortality censuses, and death certificates—to help lay bare the process by which our modern public health system was born.

    Stephen Berry
    Stephen Berry

    Professor, History, University of Georgia

  • Collaborative Curation: Extending the Plateau Peoples' Web Portal  |  Abstract

    This project expands the content and extends the reach of the, collaboratively curated and reciprocally managed, Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal by providing access to, and sustainability for, unique cultural materials for Native communities, scholars, educators, and the public. The project engages tribal and federal repository partners in a collaborative effort to add traditional knowledge to minimally described primary sources related to Native American Plateau communities held at the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution. Inter-institutional collaborations with regional leaders at the Northwest Indian College, Lewis-Clark State College, North Idaho College and the University of Idaho, extend the use of the Portal's content in university settings and provide an additional knowledge-sharing point of entry into the materials.

    Kimberly Christen
    Kimberly Christen

    Associate Professor, Digital Technology and Culture, Washington State University

  • Developing the Digital Transgender Archive  |  Abstract

    In light of the ever-increasing interest in transgender phenomena, this project expands the Digital Transgender Archive (DTA), a website that functions as an online clearinghouse for transgender history. The DTA is a collaborative repository that already contains more than 2,000 digitized primary source historical materials including oral histories, personal papers, organizational records, serials, photographs, and ephemera, all contributed by more than two dozen collaborators. Building off the initial development that was supported by an ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship, this grant will significantly extend the scope and diversity of the collection while strengthening several existing collaborative relationships.

    K.J. Rawson
    K.J. Rawson

    Assistant Professor, English, College of the Holy Cross

  • Sustaining and Extending the US Papers of the War Department Digital Edition  |  Abstract

    The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) is migrating the Papers of the War Department 1784-1800, an online documentary edition comprising nearly 43,000 digital documents, to Omeka S to revitalize and stabilize this legacy digital humanities project. The migration allows the team to redesign the user interface thus enabling greater use and discoverability of early federal documents. In Omeka S the project’s existing metadata that includes the names of thousands of individuals and geographic places referenced in correspondence will be connected across the semantic web as linked open data. The project also will develop four learning modules for use in upper-level high school and introductory undergraduate courses. Enhanced documentation and outreach combined with a new system will make the Papers of the War Department more intuitive and inviting as it expands the project’s user base.

    Sheila A. Brennan
    Sheila A. Brennan

    Associate Professor, History and Art History, George Mason University

  • The Africana Digital Ethnography Project (ADEPt) with Video-EASE Toolbox (Encoding and Analysis of Sound and Embodiment)  |  Abstract

    ADEPt gathers data-rich ethnographies from Africa and the Diaspora to reinvigorate Africana Studies through the digital humanities. Our data collection and management protocols prepare for rigorous analysis at the fieldwork stage, capturing a variety of media, data and metadata with precision rare among ethnographic research. The Video-EASE Toolbox integrates encodings of movement, sound and text in a novel analysis environment for scholars. ADEPt research also connects directly with the public, producing content for education, identity formation and other public interests. In addition to our established YouTube Channels, new avenues for engagement include an interactive Google API culture map and Digital Commons archive, both accessible through www.africanadept.org. ADEPt is centered at Morehouse College, but faculty collaboration and student engagement with the project is spread across the member institutions of the Atlanta University Center consortium, including Clark Atlanta University and Spelman College. The ACLS Digital Extension grant facilitates: (1) training Atlanta University Center students and faculty with ethnographic and technical skills both on campus and in the field; (2) collection of data for focus areas in the southeastern United States (including Afro-Cherokee, Gullah-Geechee and metropolitan Atlanta); and (3) thorough testing of new Video-EASE functions prior to full release in June 2018.

    Aaron Carter-Enyi
    Aaron Carter-Enyi

    Assistant Professor, Music, Morehouse College