Two New Projects Selected for Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative

The University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, together with the Digital Publications Faculty Advisory Committee, are pleased to announce the selection of the next two long-form scholarly works to be developed as part of Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative.

Avery Willis Hoffman

Trojan Women in Performance by Avery Willis Hoffman, Inaugural Artistic Director, Brown Arts Institute, Professor of the Practice of Arts and Classics, surveys significant productions of Euripides’ Trojan Women (415 BC) across the 20th and 21st centuries, investigating the ways in which the play provides a unique forum for debating human responsibility in times of war. As the Classics and the Western Canon endure a new round of decolonization and dismantling efforts, along with the scrutiny of those wishing to make space for a diversity of storytelling and more widely representational literature, ancient works can offer a veritable platform for interpretation, for splicing and re-imagining, for the insertion of new voices and texts, and for the insistence on fresh perspectives. Featuring a flexible and interactive format, the multimodal book will open up new directions of exploration for scholarly and artistic communities.

Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar

The Ruin Archive: Art and War at the Ends of Empire by Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar, Associate Professor of History, examines the formation of “Indian art” via the nineteenth- and twentieth-century extraction of art to European collections and museums from ancient and war-torn landscapes of the Indo-Afghan borderlands, offering a detailed account of the effects of such colonial extraction of objects on the multi-religious landscape of the Indian subcontinent. Developing The Ruin Archive as a digital publication will allow Zamindar to intervene in and disrupt colonial and national narratives through the creation of an interactive archive that juxtaposes material across geographies and temporalities such as government records, ethnographic dictionaries, military manuals, war albums, museum catalogues, photographs, colonial films, and contemporary documentation from the “frontier,” resources which have hitherto never been examined together.

Generously launched with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2015, Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative seeks to advance humanities scholarship by providing a university-based approach to the development, evaluation, and publication of born-digital scholarly monographs. With oversight from Brown’s Digital Scholarship Editor, projects that are selected by the Initiative’s Faculty Advisory Committee are developed as enhanced digital works that draw upon the capabilities of the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship. These scholarly works are then submitted to leading university presses that have corresponding academic interests and the infrastructure for peer review and digital publication.

The Initiative’s first born-digital scholarly monograph, Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary, co-edited by Tara Nummedal, Professor of History, and Independent Scholar Donna Bilak, was published by the University of Virginia Press in July 2020. 

Two other projects are forthcoming at leading university presses:

  • A New Vision for Islamic Pasts and Futures by Shahzad Bashir, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Humanities and Professor of History (forthcoming with MIT Press); and
  • Shadow Plays: Virtual Realities in an Analogue World by Massimo Riva, Professor of Italian Studies (forthcoming with Stanford University Press).

Other digital works currently under development include: 

  • The Sensory Monastery: Saint-Jean-des-Vignes co-authored by Sheila Bonde, Professor of History of Art and Architecture and Professor of Archaeology, and Clark Maines, Professor Emeritus of Art History at Wesleyan University; 
  • Standing Still Moving: Arts of Gesture in Lateral Time by Rebecca Schneider, Professor of Modern Culture and Media; 
  • Chika Sagawa, Japanese Modernist Poet by Sawako Nakayasu, Assistant Professor of Literary Arts;
  • Travels in Search of the Slave Past: Monuments, Memorials, Sites of Slavery by Renée Ater, Provost’s Visiting Professor of Africana Studies.
  • Imperial Unsettling: Indigenous and Immigrant Activism Toward Collective Liberation by Kevin Escudero, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies;
  • The Gospel of Resistance by Charrise Barron, Assistant Professor of Americana Studies and Music;
  • Art, Secrecy, and Invisibility in Ancient Egypt by Laurel Bestock, Associate Professor of Archaeology and the Ancient World & Egyptology and Assyriology; and
  • The Sojourner Project: A Black Studies Mobile Academy by Tina Campt, Owen F. Walker Professor of Humanities and Professor of Modern Culture and Media.

In addition to developing the Mellon humanities portfolio, the Initiative produces university publications such as the revised and expanded edition of Brown’s Slavery and Justice Report and the ‘Race &’ in America digital series. A new grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities will establish a training institute for scholars from a variety of institutions, disciplines, and backgrounds who wish to develop innovative born-digital publications but lack the necessary resources and capacity at their home institutions.

To learn more about Brown’s digital scholarly publication program, contact Digital Scholarship Editor Allison Levy ([email protected]).