University of Southern California

Broadening the Digital Humanities: The Vectors-CTS Summer Institute on the Digital Approaches to American Studies

18 July to 12 August 2011


USC’s Department of American Studies and Ethnicity, Institute for Multimedia Literacy, Center for Transformative Scholarship, and the electronic journal Vectors are pleased to announce a NEH Fellowship Program for summer 2011 designed to address the intersection of the digital humanities and American and Ethnic Studies. The Institute will offer scholars the opportunity to explore the benefits of interactive media for scholarly analysis and authorship, illustrating the possibilities of multimodal media for humanities investigation within the context of American Studies. Fellows participating in the program will learn both by engaging with a variety of existing projects as well as through the production of their own draft projects in collaboration with the Vectors’ team. The projects that fellows create will at once enrich their understandings of the digital humanities and model the field for other scholars.

This summer institute will be administered by USC’s Center for Transformative Scholarship (CTS) and held at the Institute of Multimedia Literacy (IML), also the operational base for Vectors, the international electronic journal. The institute will also draw upon the faculty of USC’s top-rated American Studies and Ethnicity department. American Studies, like many other fields in the Humanities and Social Sciences, is at a critical crossroads with respect to how future scholarship will be produced, disseminated, used, and evaluated. Our institute will explore how digital scholarship might best address the needs of the changing fields of American Studies and Ethnic Studies in the next decade.

About the fellowships:

Up to 15 fellowships will be awarded to individuals or teams of collaborators in the early- to mid-stages of development of a scholarly multimedia project. While scholars in all humanities disciplines are eligible to apply, we are especially interested in collaborating with those who are working with video or with photography, sound, or other graphic elements. We also have special partnerships with the video collections of the Shoah Foundation, NYU’s Hemispheric Institute, the Internet Archive and Critical Commons. Scholars interested in working with these archives are particularly encouraged to apply. During the institute, fellows will explore central issues in multimedia authorship, including such topics as database structures and information architectures, interactive design, and collaborative research, while situating these concerns within the fields of American and Ethnic Studies. Guest lecturers during the summer include Randy Bass, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Marsha Kinder, Sharon Daniel, Ramesh Srinivasan, Alex Juhasz, Gary Hall, Anne Balsamo and others. Seminar leaders are Phil Ethington, Tara McPherson, John Carlos Rowe, and the Vectors’ team (Steve Anderson, Craig Dietrich, and Erik Loyer). All fellow will participate in a four-week residency July 18-August 11, 2011 at USC’s Institute for Multimedia Literacy, where they will have access to state of the art production facilities. Fellows will work in collaboration with world-class designers from Vectors and IML during the residency and should complete a draft of their multimedia project during the course of the summer.

The residency will include colloquia and working sessions in which participants will develop project foundations and collectively address relevant issues in scholarly multimedia and American/Ethnic Studies. Applicants need not be proficient with new media authoring, but must demonstrate engagement with the potentials of digital media forms and clearly articulate their motivations for creating a digital project.

Evidence of the capacity for successful collaboration and for scholarly innovation is required. Fellowship awards will include a stipend of $3,000 for each participant, as well as a travel and accommodation allowance of $1,500 for non-local participants. We welcome scholars from all career levels, from advanced graduate student to full professor.

About the proposals:

While we are interested in innovative modes of multimedia scholarship, we are not necessarily looking for projects that are about new media. Rather, we are interested in a broad array of projects across the fields of American and Ethnic Studies and from a variety of periods and methodologies. Projects may translate existing scholarly work or be entirely conceived for new media. For instance, a scholar might aim to re-conceive a print project in a non-linear format, perhaps as a companion to a forthcoming book. Alternately, a scholar might seek to animate and annotate a collection of media assets in a rich, interactive manner. We are particularly interested in projects that re-imagine the role of the user and seek to reach broader publics. Work that creatively explores innovations in interactivity and cross-disciplinary collaboration is also encouraged.

Proposals should include the following:

Electronic applications are preferred. Please submit to Priority will be given to applications received by Feburary 1, 2010. Fellowship recipients will be notified in mid April. Questions may be directed to Tara McPherson , Phil Ethington, or John Carlos Rowe,

Useful websites:

Archive partners:
NYU’s Hemispheric Institute,
The Shoah Foundation,
Critical Commons,
The Internet Archive,

Posted January 27, 2011 at 3:13 pm in News