RDE Cross-Training Grants
Tabea Linhard (Romance Languages & Literatures)
From the “credible fear interview” to the subtleties of language that may make or break an asylum case, storytelling is a fundamental part of experiences of displacement. These are stories that appear in the courtroom and in the newsroom, told with objects left behind in deserted landscapes and on bodies bearing visible and invisible wounds. This project is about how, as students and scholars in the humanities, we comprehend and engage with experiences of forced displacement, asylum, and being a refugee. The RDE grant will enable Linhard to develop trans-disciplinary courses for doctoral students interested in studying and writing about migration within and beyond the academy, and in the intersections between humanistic inquiry and the law. In addition to learning more about the ways in which immigration laws and policies operate, she is interested in understanding how these affect the lived experiences of migrants and refugees, and how subjects articulate their own stories as they navigate regulations and processes that may range from attaining status to removal proceedings. The grant will allow her to develop new courses for doctoral students interested in careers that involve researching and writing about migration within the academy and beyond.
Casey O’Callaghan (Philosophy)
Formal and Quantitative Methods for Philosophy: Formal methods in philosophy traditionally have focused on deductive logical systems and the epistemology of certainty. However, contemporary philosophical work increasingly addresses the implications of scientific findings and engages with detailed scientific results, especially from the social and biological sciences. It confronts the epistemology of uncertainty. Accordingly, understanding formal approaches that deal with uncertainty has become indispensable to contemporary research in the field. Moreover, analytical skills from statistics, data analysis, probability, and decision theory equip students for successful work in other fields and in non-academic contexts. This RDE grant supports cross-training coursework in statistics and probability, to inform the design of a new Formal Methods in Philosophy sequence to augment our traditional logic requirements. This sequence would situate Philosophy at Washington University at the forefront among top PhD programs in its formal methods offerings. This will better prepare our graduate students and exceptional undergraduates for cutting-edge research, enable and encourage interdisciplinary collaborations, and better equip graduates for success in academic and nonacademic career paths.
Rebecca Wanzo Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies
This RDE Cross-Training Grant will provide Wanzo the opportunity to learn data visualization software and skills by earning a Data Analysis certificate at the University of Missouri Computer Education and Training Center. She will explore how the kinds of questions theorists ask can add complexity to what can be understood as data. When students have asked Wanzo the “so what” question about theory, she has always explained that it helps us see differently. That is, theoretically, also the idea of data visualization. But what happens when we take the tools of theory — which resist simplification and narrow explanations — to help us understand debates and issues differently? The course she will revise with these new skill sets is From Mammy to the Welfare Queen: African American Women, Representation, and Political Discourse. Because the course is about the relationship between representation to political discourse, this course is uniquely positioned to incorporate new pedagogies around data.
Seth Graebner (Romance Languages & Literatures)
How do we recreate the places we read about? The digital turn in humanities scholarship could transform research into the way people imagine specific historical places in literature and other texts. Graebner’s research on the imagination of certain French and North African cities in this period already deals with a corpus of several hundred texts, processed by hand with traditional methods; the next step is to expand this corpus by an order of magnitude. Digital tools, largely untested in this vein, could not only expand the scope of this work, but also make it visible to graduate students while teaching them transferable technical skills. He hopes to help his students reach better appreciation of what close attention to written detail can reveal. Digital methods will also help them move their work out of the classroom: applications of GIS and eventually of available virtual reality technology will allow students to create the means for the public to see for themselves the results of textual scholarship.
Kristina Kleutghen (Art History & Archaeology)
The RDE Cross Training grant will enable Kleutghen to learn the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) at an intensive workshop at the University of Victoria. IIIF is a set of open-source universal standards for describing and delivering images online. This framework increases accessibility and functionality for image-based research and teaching by using international and freely-available public image repositories. Museums, libraries, universities, archives, and other nonprofit cultural institutions are increasingly using IIIF-compatible image-viewing clients to present their digital collections. Not only does IIIF make these digital collections more accessible, but it also improves user engagement by allowing users to compare, manipulate, and annotate the digital images. In the future, Kleutghen aims to teach IIIF as part of a graduate seminar where humanities students can develop this transferable digital skill for promoting the humanities outside the research university.
Joseph Loewenstein (English)
Loewenstein’s grant facilitates new and supplemental training in computational methods for the digital humanities. A literary scholar and cultural historian, Loewenstein already has two major projects — an edition of the collected works of Edmund Spenser and the enhancement of the digital corpus of English books from the first 225 years of English printing and the provision of tools for the investigation of that corpus — that increasingly depend on computational assistance. His enhanced skills in Python programming for text analysis, basic data cleanup and basic text mining will enable him to complete these portions of his own projects and to directly engage with graduate students learning to use them in their own digital humanities projects.
RDE Curricular Innovation Grants
Anika Walke (History) and Geoff Ward (African and African-American Studies)
Memory for the Future: Theories and Practices of Critical Curation: This co-taught, interdisciplinary and community-engaged seminar and practicum leverages the concept of multidirectional memory to develop new forms of humanities education and practical public history. Students and faculty of Washington University will explore the productive relationship between different, yet related histories and legacies of violence such as the Holocaust, slavery, apartheid, and colonialism that emerge if and when they confront each other in the public sphere and make this exploration useful to the public. Among others, course participants will collaborate with the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, The Griot Museum of Black History, the George B. Vashon Museum, and Missouri Historical Society to facilitate reparative memorial practices in and around St. Louis. Combining critical memory studies with collaborative development of curatorial skills, the course will train humanities graduate students in public history as a form of engaged scholarship, imparting new skills (e.g., writing for public audiences, visual design, and project management) and scholarly expertise to broaden academic and nonacademic career paths for participants.
Pannill Camp (Performing Arts)
Embodied Multimedia Communication: This new cross-disciplinary course helps graduate students develop the ability to communicate effectively in professional contexts in and beyond academia. It begins with the observation that the body is a dynamic communication tool. Students will receive group instruction in verbal and non-verbal expression, voice, and physical movement, and one-on-one coaching on a series of practiced communication tasks. Assignments replicate situations familiar to twenty-first century information professions: research presentations, video-conference interviews, and podcast production. Students will learn to convey complex ideas clearly and present themselves confidently as colleagues and collaborators. This new course will be housed in the Performing Arts Department, and will draw on the expertise of its faculty, who have extensive experience teaching public speaking at Washington University and elsewhere.
Joseph Loewenstein (English)
The Freedom | Information | Acts Studiolab is a project-based course for graduate students considering a broad range of careers — academic, alt-ac, and nonacademic. Focused on making digital archives accessible to non-traditional scholars, this Studiolab will bring together faculty, librarians, and graduate students from the humanities and the social sciences and will seek to foster digital scholarly proficiency, creative public-facing pedagogy, project management, and bold interdisciplinarity. Participants will prepare and present digital research materials for students at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center (MECC) campus based on the Jack Willis and Henry Hampton Collections of civil rights-era documentary film archives; Documenting the Now, the social media archives of Ferguson protest; and What Middletown Read: The Muncie Library Circulation Data.