MLA Members Receive 2020 NEH Grants

Congratulations to the twenty MLA members who are among the winners of the National Endowment for the Humanities grants announced in December 2020. Their projects include a study of how digital methods in the humanities may reflect racial biases, a book about the influence of blindness on the writing of John Milton, the establishment of a digital humanities center at San Jose State University, and much more.

Hilary Binda, Tufts University

Project Title: Civic Humanities and Decarceration

Project Description: Course revision and curriculum development in civic studies and in programs for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students.

Marlene Daut, University of Virginia

Project Title: Awakening the Ashes: An Intellectual History of Haiti

Project Description: Research and writing leading to an intellectual history of Haiti from 1804 to the 1950s.

Megan DeVirgilis, Morgan State University

Project Title: The Female Vampire in Hispanic Short Fiction at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: A Critical Anthology

Project Description: Writing and translation activities culminating in a critical anthology of Latin American short stories exhibiting Gothic aesthetics.

Amrita Dhar, Ohio State University, Columbus

Project Title: John Milton’s Blind Language

Project Description: Research and writing leading to a book on the influence of blindness on the writing of English author John Milton (1608–74).

Aparna Dharwadker, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Project Title: “Alternative Modernities” and the Modernization of Urban Theatre in India

Project Description: Research and writing leading to a book about urban theater and modernity in colonial and postcolonial India, from 1850 to the present.

Amy Earhart, Texas A&M University, College Station

Project Title: Digital Humanities and the Infrastructures of Race in African American Literature

Project Description: Research and preparation of a digital publication studying how digital tools and methods employed for literature studies may reflect biases built into the technological infrastructure.

Tara Fickle, University of Oregon

Project Title: Behind Aiiieeeee!: A New History of Asian American Literature

Project Description: Research, writing, and digital development of a book examining the publication history of the first anthology of Asian American literature, Aiiieeeee!

Teresa Fiore, Montclair State University

Project Title: Memoria Presente: The Common Spanish Legacy in Italian and Latin American Cultures

Project Description: A course revision project resulting in a digital repository of materials to facilitate cultural comparison in Italian language instruction for Spanish speakers and oral testimonies of Italian-Latino/a bicultural identity.

Michael Hill, William and Mary

Project Title: Reading Distance: Chinese and Arabic Literatures at the End of Empire, 1850–1950

Project Description: Research and writing leading to a book on the connections between intellectual “enlightenment” in China and Nahda (i.e., awakening) in the Middle East from the nineteenth to the first half of the twentieth century.

Neil Hultgren, California State University, Long Beach

Foundation Project Title: The Universe in British Fiction, 1885–1930

Project Description: Research and writing leading to a book on British speculative fiction of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Ann Kibbie, Bowdoin College

Project Title: Obstetrics and the Disabled Maternal Body in Nineteenth-Century Great Britain

Project Description: Research and writing leading to a book on the medical dilemmas of treating pregnant women in Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Jinah Kim, California State University, Northridge

Project Title: Against Forgetting: Memory, Care, and Feminist Arts across the Transpacific

Project Description: Writing resulting in a book-length study of Korean diasporic practices memorializing the “Comfort Woman” experience.

Rachael King, University of California, Santa Barbara

Project Title: Hidden Archives: Race, Gender, and Religion in UCSB’s Ballitore Collection

Project Description: A two-year project on the digitization and examination of abolitionist materials to be included in experiential learning and curriculum development.

Lakshmi Krishnan, Georgetown University

Project Title: The Doctor and the Detective: A Cultural History of Diagnosis

Project Description: Research and writing leading to a book on the intersection of medical diagnoses and detective literature in England, France, and the United States from the nineteenth century to mid–twentieth century.

Eduardo Ledesma, University of Illinois, Urbana

Project Title: Visually Impaired Filmmakers and Technologies of Sight

Project Description: Research and writing leading to a book about visually impaired filmmakers and the experience of blindness through film.

Annete Lienau, Harvard University

Project Title: Sacred Language, Vernacular Difference, and Counter-Imperial Writing from the Arabophone to the Asian-African (Nineteenth–Twentieth Centuries)

Project Description: Research and writing leading to a book on how Arabic became a counter-imperial and transregional language that connected African and Asian in the nineteenth–twentieth centuries.

Matthew Miller, University of Maryland, College Park

Project Title: Automatic Collation for Diversifying Corpora: Improving Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) for Arabic-Script Manuscripts

Project Description: Refinement of machine learning methods to improve automatic handwritten text recognition of Persian and Arabic manuscripts and make these sources more accessible for humanities research and teaching.

Renata Miller, CUNY Research Foundation, City College

Project Title: Building a Digital Humanities Minor at the City College of New York Project Description: A three-year initiative to develop and pilot a minor in digital humanities at City College, to be housed in the Division of Humanities and the Arts.

Shannon Miller, San Jose State University

Project Title: Grounding the Digital Humanities at San Jose State University

Project Description: Establishment of a Digital Humanities (DH) Center at San Jose State University’s (SJSU) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, including the installation of a virtual machine and computing node to expand the current digital infrastructure. The DH Center will serve both SJSU students and the San Jose community.

Melanie Walsh, Cornell University

Project Title: Anticipating the Reception of Contemporary NLP in Digital Humanities

Project Description: The development of an open-source toolkit and workshop series that will begin to address these fundamental barriers to the adoption of BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) by humanities scholars interested in large-scale text analysis.