Brown Library Announces 2022 Cohort for NEH Institute on Digital Publishing

Fifteen humanities scholars from under-resourced institutions—60% from HBCUs—will convene for national training workshop focused on growing and diversifying digital publication opportunities.

Brown University Library is pleased to announce the 2022 cohort for Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Roadmaps, a three-week hybrid institute designed to expand the voices, perspectives, and visions represented in the practice and production of digital scholarship. Centered on diversity and inclusion, the summer institute—made possible by a $169,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)—will support fifteen scholars who lack the necessary infrastructure at their home institutions to pursue new scholarly forms that offer unique capabilities beyond conventional publishing formats, from multimedia enhancements to global reach.

Through the purposeful training and mentoring of under-resourced scholars, the institute will help bridge a divide that, without intervention, puts digital publishing—as a future of scholarship—at risk of becoming the preserve of only the most affluent institutions. “By making the born-digital publication process more accessible, transparent, and inclusive,” notes Allison Levy, Brown University Library’s Digital Scholarship Editor and the institute’s Project Director, “the institute will foster the elevation of underrepresented voices and subject matter, thereby diversifying the output of teaching and learning resources as well as expanding the readership for humanities scholarship.”

In recognition of its recently extended membership in the HBCU Library Alliance (the first non-HBCU addition to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Library Alliance), Brown University Library will welcome nine faculty and/or alumni—60% of the cohort—from member institutions. “This opportunity will certainly allow my subsequent work to have an immediate impact on my campus, in my local community-based research, and at other area HBCUs,” explains cohort member Marco Robinson, Assistant Professor of History and Assistant Director of the Ruth J. Simmons Center on Race and Justice at Prairie View A&M University. “PVAMU does not have a digital humanities center, digital humanities major or minor, or digital publishing department…. The institute’s reach and engagement with minority-serving institutions has the potential to transform the academy and the landscape of higher education.”

The cohort represents a wide range of humanities disciplines, geographic areas, and career stages. Their rigorous and compelling born-digital publication projects bring to the fore the history and future of Black philanthropy in the U.S.; forgotten radio recordings of African writers in exile in London in the 1960s; and the diary of Lillian Jones Horace, the first published African American novelist in Texas and one of the first Black publishers in American history. Foundational research examines the relationship between the life insurance industry and the transatlantic slave trade; the use of emerging media technologies by multiethnic American poets to create new forms of racial representation and political critique; and Indigenous community activism in relation to Pacific Island climate justice, to name just a few. The full list of cohort projects is available here.

Institute participants will leave Brown with in-depth knowledge of the digital publishing process, familiarity with open-source tools and platforms, advanced project management skills, and top-level publishing industry contacts. Faculty presentations—by digital humanities librarians, digital designers and developers, press directors and acquisitions editors, and authors of published or in-progress digital publications—will be recorded and added to the institute website, which has been designed to serve as an open access, resource-rich hub for digital scholarly publishing. With its re-prioritization of how and for whom the development of digital humanities scholarship is taught, the institute will have far-reaching implications for humanities research and teaching.

“The opportunity to work with these outstanding scholars on developing their exciting research as born-digital monographs will significantly advance the state of the art for thinking about and realizing the innovative possibilities for publishing first-rate scholarship in the 21st century,” said Brown’s University Librarian Joseph Meisel.  

Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Road Maps builds upon the successes of Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative, a collaboration between the University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, launched with generous support from the Mellon Foundation in 2015. The initiative has established a novel, transformative approach to the development of longform, multimodal works that make original and meaningful contributions across the humanities. The initiative also collaborates with publishers to help shape new systems of evaluation, peer review, and scholarly validation for born-digital scholarship. Brown’s first project was published in 2020 by University of Virginia Press; two more publications are forthcoming this summer from Stanford University Press and MIT Press, respectively; and ten other projects are in various stages of development. Brown University Library and MIT Press recently launched On Seeing, a book series committed to centering underrepresented perspectives in visual culture.  

Questions about the institute or the Library’s Digital Publications Initiative can be addressed to Allison Levy, Digital Scholarship Editor ([email protected]).

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at neh.gov.

The National Endowment for the Humanities and Brown University together: Democracy demands wisdom.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this press release and in the Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Roadmaps Institute do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Announcement | Hay Fellow in Early Modern Studies 2020-21

photo of Kenneth Molloy
Kenneth Molloy

Kenneth Molloy, a PhD candidate in the Department of Theatre Arts & Performance Studies, has been awarded the 2020 – 2021 John Hay Library/Center for the Study of the Early Modern World Fellowship. 

This fellowship, a partnership between the University Library and the Brown Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, provides support to PhD candidates completing their dissertations in any field involving study of the Early Modern World, defined as the period between 1500 and 1800, and that involves an innovative project to be completed using resources available at the John Hay Library.

Kenneth’s dissertation project comprises “a critical historiography of Islamic theories of theatricality and performance in the post-Mongol to early modern period” that highlights cosmological readings of shadow and puppet theatre in Arabic and Persian materials.

His fellowship project at the Hay will involve organizing an interdisciplinary symposium “on theatricalities and the global early modern world” with the aim to “showcase innovative performance-based inquiry into the early modern world.”