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Congratulations to the 2024 NYU DH Seed Grant Winners!

by NYU Libraries Communications on 2024-05-10T10:31:00-04:00 | 0 Comments

Meet the recipients of the 2024 NYU Digital Humanities Seed Grants

The Center for the Humanities, NYU Libraries, and NYU Research and Instructional Technology fund the initial development of new research projects that will analyze digital sources, apply algorithmic methods to humanities data, or create digital publications, exhibits, or websites. The goal of the program is to seed projects that may go on to receive greater funding from other sources or otherwise build NYU’s institutional capacity in Digital Humanities work.

We are excited to announce this year’s cohort of funded projects. Congratulations to them all!

Kalinago Living Language

Principal Investigator: Isabel Bradley, French Literature, Thought and Culture, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences


Kalinago Living Language is a digitization and translation project that endeavors to reformat and improve access to Indigenous Kalinago language resources by producing a lexical repository and user-friendly dictionary website. The pilot seeks to first compile a dataset from a corpus of printed evangelization materials created by Raymond Breton, a French missionary in the seventeenth-century Caribbean. We will lift entries from an OCRenabled PDF of a critical edition of Breton’s Kalinago-French dictionary. Using Transkribus, an AI text recognition and transcription tool trained on historical manuscripts, we will also transcribe text from a French- Kalinago dictionary, a grammar, and a catechism, available in digitized rare books formats. The goal is to comprehensively translate, using collaborative and machine translation, French text into English to generate a direct Kalinago-to-English vocabulary dataset. Once this dataset is complete, we will build a user interface structured as a searchable and browsable dictionary. The landing page of this online dictionary will offer a historical and linguistic framing of the project. We anticipate that this resource will not only be of interest to linguists, historians, and anthropologists in the anglophone academy, but also to English-speaking descendent communities living in the eastern Caribbean.

Colonial Networks: Remapping the “Paris” Art World in a 1786 Map of Haiti

Contributors: Meredith Martin, Department of Art History and Institute of Fine Arts, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; Hannah Williams, Queen Mary University of London


This project focuses on a 1786 property map of the French colony of Saint-Domingue (Haiti) dedicated to the comte de Vaudreuil, a prominent Paris-based art collector whose father had governed the colony. This map records the parceling of land around Cap Français, where many of the island’s most lucrative sugar plantations were located. It is inscribed with surnames, each belonging to a plantation owner. Strikingly, they include some of the highest-profile members of the Paris art world at the time. While these names may be visible on the surface, the deeper histories of the connections they reveal remain unexplored. We propose to create an interactive, digitally enhanced version of this map with an ambitious interface comprising text, image, and linked data that allows users to discover stories and pursue further research. Our project will “remap” the Paris art world in two key ways. Although the 1786 map illustrates crucial if unknown links between colonial networks and art in metropolitan France, it also shows the contribution of unnamed individuals—notably enslaved laborers—whose lives were inextricably linked to the buying and selling of art. We aim to visualize this network of people, objects, and places and publish an open data set and metadata standard that encourages other scholars to build on our research while interrogating mapping as a process. In so doing, we hope to profoundly shift views of the eighteenth-century art world.

Hidden Legacies: Slavery, Race and the Making of 21st-Century America

Principal Investigator: Rachel Swarns, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences


The proposed Hidden Legacies project will create a digital repository of archival records that will document the foundational role that slavery played in fueling the growth of contemporary institutions in the United States. This digital archive will allow users to access primary source records that document the connections between slavery and contemporary institutions, starting with three sectors, universities, religious institutions and financial institutions. It will include mapping to allow users to visualize and locate these institutions geographically. This digital humanities project will fill an important gap. Over the past decade, the ties between slavery and contemporary institutions have attracted growing interest from historians, journalists, policy makers and community members. Yet identifying, locating and accessing the archival records necessary to do this research remains challenging, limiting the scope and breadth of scholarly and community research projects. Archival records are scattered across the country, in libraries, historical societies and university and corporate archives. This project will bring many of those records together in one place, allowing scholars, students and researchers to build on this growing body of research, which is critical to providing a deeper understanding of the systemic role that slavery played in building many of the institutions around us today.

Bridging Degrees and Critical Perspectives: Creating an Open Source Peer-Reviewed Journal for Interdisciplinary Library Science Graduate Students

Contributors: Roxane Pickens, Alexandra Provo, Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz, and Laurie Murphy, Division of Libraries


With interdisciplinary humanistic inquiry at the heart of paired library and information science and subject studies, MLIS and MA dual degree programs are uniquely positioned to positively impact critical scholarship and discourse at the intersections of cultural production and information exchange. And as publication is fundamental to the research lifecycle, creating a space for dialogic engagement is key. This project aims to solicit, collect, and publish the works of MLIS-MA dual degree graduate students using the NYU Manifold platform by building an infrastructure for a sustainable peer-review editing process and a design that allows for multi-modal format submissions. Based on the Division of Libraries’ Dual Degree Mentorship Program, which provides mentorship, publishing and career-building opportunities for students pursuing the MSLIS at Long Island University’s Palmer School of Library and Information Science and subject master degrees across interdisciplinary programs at NYU, this journal will be a first for NYU Manifold, allowing for the initiation of likeminded open-access projects by scholars and content creators across NYU communities. This project creates a model for the journal structure within Manifold while simultaneously providing a site for scholarly conversation that bridges the information landscape and the humanities.

Digitizing Cultural Heritage: The Walter Feldman Collection of Turkish Classical Music

Contributors: Panayotis Mavromatis and Adem Merter Birson, Music and Performing Arts Practices, Steinhardt


This project involves digitizing audio cassette recordings gathered by retired NYU Abu Dhabi Professor Walter Feldman during research for his book, Music of the Ottoman Court (1996, repr. 2024). Dr. Feldman is the leading authority on Turkish classical music, and his book is the standard work on the subject. Dr. Feldman’s recordings include never-before-heard audio materials—lessons, private concerts, and public performances— featuring prominent Turkish classical musicians Necdet Yasar, Niyazi Sayin, Ihsan Özgen, and others. Digitizing this collection is crucial for preservation of this music and to make it accessible to a wider audience. This project emphasizes the intercultural connections between Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Romanians, Hungarians, Arabs, and Sephardic Jews within the Ottoman Empire. The project will transfer these recordings to a digital format and exhibit them on a publicly accessible website, accompanied by detailed cataloging and metadata creation to facilitate research and exploration. By making these recordings available, this initiative not only preserves a crucial part of musical history but also celebrates the complex tapestry of relationships that characterizes the music of the Ottoman court and its enduring legacy in shaping the cultural identities of the region.

This announcement was originally published on the NYU Digital Humanities' Announcement Feed on April 30, 2024. Read the original announcement: Congratulations to the 2024 NYU DH Seed Grant Winners!

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