ACLS Digital Innovation Fellows

The ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship program supports digitally based research projects in all disciplines of the humanities and humanities-related social sciences. It is hoped that projects of successful applicants will help advance digital humanistic scholarship by broadening understanding of its nature and exemplifying the robust infrastructure necessary for creating further such works.

2014-2015 marked the tenth and final year of the ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship Program, generously funded by 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. 

Margot E. Fassler
Margot E. Fassler  |  Abstract
This is the first interdisciplinary study of Hildegard’s illuminated treatise Scivias. It analyzes both the music and the illuminations associated with the treatise in Hildegard’s lifetime, showing how they interact within an integrated understanding of the cosmos. Hildegard worked in a time when scientists were generally interested in creating Christianized models of the universe. Her universe is also a model of the church and its sacramental action. Her fiery firmament is cosmic, ecclesial, and individual, all at once. A digitized, sounding model of Hildegard’s cosmos, which uses the advanced technology of Notre Dame’s spectacular Digital Visualization Theater, demonstrates these interrelationships along with new modes of exploration.

Professor, Theology and Music, University of Notre Dame  -  Hildegard's Scivias: Art, Music, and Drama in a Liturgical Commentary

Warren Sack
Warren Sack  |  Abstract
This project explores digital ideology and the writing/programming of the institutions of digital life. It addresses narrative as well as each of the liberal arts as defined in the early modern period: arithmetic, geometry, grammar, logic, rhetoric, astronomy, and music. It focuses on the transformation of the liberal arts and their recoding, in software form, as a means to explore the conditions of the network society, and also the possibilities for individual and collective agency in the ongoing rewriting of the world in digital form. The project comprises a book and the design of computer programs (written in JavaScript) that can be run in a web browser.

Associate Professor, Film and Digital Media, University of California, Santa Cruz  -  The Software Arts

Eric Kansa
Eric Kansa  |  Abstract
This project pilots a “Data Journal” for archaeology, with the goal of increasing researcher participation in data dissemination while improving the quality and usability of published data. Like a conventional journal, a Data Journal helps set, communicate, and maintain expectations regarding the disciplinary nature and quality of published research. Data Journal editorial review processes improve data quality and align data with disciplinary standards. Finally, a Data Journal, through integration with citation infrastructures and services, better communicates expectations for professional recognition needed to make data sharing part of the mainstream of scholarly communications.

Program Director, Open Context, The Alexandria Archive Institute  -  Establishing a Data Journal for Archaeology and Related Fields

Andrew Sluyter
Andrew Sluyter  |  Abstract
This project initiates an Internet-based GIS of nineteenth-century Atlantic commodity networks. Data come from logbooks of vessels and include daily position, cargo, and crew information. All data are in hand, derived from previous archival work and the public-domain CLIWOC database (Climatological Database for the World’s Oceans). In contrast to existing databases such as the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, which emphasize temporal analysis, the use of a GIS that associates every data point with a geographic location allows users to employ web browsers to spatially analyze and visualize the routes of voyages (rather than only embarkation and disembarkation ports); maritime literature related to routes; volumes of trade by route and season; and other information.

Associate Professor, Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University  -  Internet-Based Geographic Information System (GIS) of Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Commodity Networks

Peter J. Kastor
Peter J. Kastor  |  Abstract
This project explores the functional realities of governance during the crucial decades in which Americans converted the general principles of the Constitution into the real institutions of government. It analyzes decision-making, policy implementation, institution-building, and appointment to office. This project examines both the elite leadership within the federal capital as well as the actions of federal appointees scattered throughout the union, focusing particular attention on the complex relationships that connected the numerous levels of federal officialdom. This is also a combined project, producing both a narrative book and a stand-alone website that will provide a public resource for academic and general audiences.

Associate Professor, History and American Culture Studies, Washington University in St. Louis  -  Creating a Federal Government, 1789-1829

Elaine A. Sullivan
Elaine A. Sullivan  |  Abstract
The integration of GIS and 3D modeling now allows for the recreation and visualization of entire ancient landscapes. 3D Saqqara uses these new digital capabilities to create a truly four-dimensional investigation of the important cemetery of Saqqara, Egypt, an ancient cult and burial place neighboring the capital city Memphis. By simulating the original built and natural landscape of the site, the project explores the visual environment that shaped (and was in turn shaped by) the experience and choices of ancient peoples. Through the recreation of lines of sight between important cult places, 3D Saqqara specifically traces how decisions over time at the cemetery and surrounding sites transformed the meaning of these spaces and altered ancient peoples’ perception of the ritual landscape.

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, University of California, Los Angeles  -  3D Saqqara: Reconstructing Landscape and Meaning at an Ancient Egyptian Site

Massimo Lollini
Massimo Lollini  |  Abstract
This project employs TEI P5 modules and develops new features of the Text-Image Linking Environment tool to expand the interactive historical and codicological commentaries for pivotal digital assets of the Oregon Petrarch Open Book, a web archive constructed around Petrarch’s fourteenth-century poetry book the Canzoniere. It focuses on a representative and unstudied fourteenth-century manuscript (Queriniano D II 21); the highly illustrated 1470 editio princeps of the Canzoniere (Queriniano G V 15); and the first edition (1525) of Alessandro Vellutello’s commentary. This project also refines existing T-PEN transcription–markup tools to develop accurate hyper-representations of these diverse forms of Petrarch’s book.

Professor, Romance Languages, University of Oregon  -  Petrarch’s Early Manuscripts and Incunabula in the Oregon Petrarch Open Book

James T. Tice
James T. Tice  |  Abstract
Using advanced GIS technology and accepted scholarly methods, this multi-disciplinary project intends to create a layered history of Rome by updating Forma Urbis Romae, the cartographic masterpiece of ancient Roman topography published in 1901 by archeologist Rodolfo Lanciani. This extremely accurate map measures 25 by 17 ft and uses an innovative graphic system that represents Rome’s historic urban fabric as a series of transparent layers from ancient to modern. The map remains the standard archeological reference for Rome even though it does not incorporate archeological discoveries uncovered since its original publication. This project critically examines, updates, and eventually republishes the map as an interactive website that will also serve as a dynamic geo-database for scholars.

Professor, Architecture, University of Oregon  -  The GIS Forma Urbis Romae Project: Creating a Layered History of Rome

Jesse Rodin
Jesse Rodin  |  Abstract
Many tools exist for locating and analyzing text, but there is no comparable technology for searching complete musical scores. The Josquin Research Project (JRP) is an endeavor to make Renaissance music searchable (see The project began as a way to address problems of attribution in the music of Josquin des Prez, the most famous composer of the Renaissance. Having already created a prototype of the most powerful musical search engine in the world, the JRP is developing a range of user-friendly search capabilities and analytical tools that permit scholars to ask new questions of both the Josquin canon and a much wider repertory. The answers to these questions stand to reshape our understanding of Renaissance music.

Assistant Professor, Music, Stanford University  -  The Josquin Research Project