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Happy Anniversary, NEH!

21 October on Announcements, Grants  

Michigan State University hosted  a 50th Anniversary celebration at the Wharton Center on October 23, 2015. Featuring live performances, exhibitions, and presentations, the event will honor everything that the NEH and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has done for the state of Michigan.

Since its inception in 1965, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has promoted excellence in the humanities for all in the United States “because democracy demands wisdom” (http://www.neh.gov/about). For 50 years, the independent federal agency has funded projects with awards totaling more than $5.3 billion. The NEH supports cultural institutions, "such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, and to individual scholars."  These grants help institutions to facilitate research, create new web sites, digital repositories, productions, and publications. They also work hard to preserve our history through rich cultural resources and new modes of teaching and learning.1965 to 2015 NEH logo

Matrix: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences has received numerous grants from NEH and is very thankful for the generous support.

In 2011, Matrix received an NEH grant to fund Slave Biographies: The Atlantic Database Network, a project spearheaded by Walter Hawthorne, Ethan Watrall, and Dean Rehberger. Biographies -- from July 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012 -- created a digital repository to preserve data about slaves. MSU Department of History also hosted a highly successful conference on slave data. The project has laid the groundwork for many more projects with the hope that bringing together the data about enslaved people we can help to rebuild glimpses into the biographies of those who built America.

Another outstanding project made possible by an NEH grant is MSU Vietnam Group Archive. From May 1, 2012 to April 30, 2015, Matrix worked in collaboration with the MSU Department of History and the MSU University Archives and Historical Collections. Researchers on the project digitized all material from 1955-1962 when MSU worked with the American government in South Vietnam for the purpose of producing a stable, non-Communist country in the Cold War era. Although their efforts eventually failed, the MSU Vietnam Group Archive project contains rare and valuable data about life in South Vietnam immediately prior to the Vietnam War. Materials in this archive allow students and scholars to get an insider’s view of America’s university-assisted nation-building practices.  This project was directed by Cynthia Ghering, Charles Keith, and Dean Rehberger.

In 2014, MATRIX and Dr. Helen Veit in MSU’s Department of History received a National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation and Access Grant for "What America Ate," a project to digitize an array of materials related to food in the Great Depression. Working with Co-PI Dr. Peter Berg, head of the MSU Library’s Special Collections, and Co-PI Dr. Dean Rehberger, Director of Matrix and in partnership with the University of Michigan and Montana State University. The project will create a digital archive that will be at a repository for an invaluable part of America’s cultural heritage and a rich scholarly and educational resource. See more about the project at http://whatamericaate.org/

In 2014, Matrix was also pleased to announce that, in collaboration with the College of Arts and Letter and the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, we received a NEH Digital Implementation grant to continue the work on the Archaeological Resources Cataloging System (ARCS) project. The project is directed by Jon Frey and Ethan Watrall. Originally funded by an NEH Digital Startup Grant and developed as a proof of concept by a small research group in the College of Arts and Letters (http://arcs.cal.msu.edu), ARCS is an open-source application designed to reintroduce many of the advantages of traditional archival research into its new electronic form. By means of an intuitive web-based interface, users can upload, visually scan, keyword, sort, and link together digitized copies of photographs, drawings, and (frequently handwritten) documents that together are the most faithful representation of the archaeological record. What is more, ARCS relies on a crowd-sourced approach to augment the information it contains. This not only provides a ready alternative to archaeological projects that lack a staff of dedicated archivists, but also encourages collaboration among scholars as well as public interest in a project’s ongoing research.

In the same year, Matrix  received a NEH grant to support the Archive of Malian Photography. Its mission is to digitize, catalog, preserve, and make internationally accessible the archives of four of Mali’s most important photographers: Abdourahmane Sakaly, El Hadj Tijani Sitou, Malick Sidibé, and Adama Kouyaté.  In collaboration with Candace Keller, a professor in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design and the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University, Matrix will archive and share approximately 100,000 of the most historically and culturally significant negatives and original prints dating from the 1940s to the present.

NEH has generously supported Matrix with its funding for The Quilt Index, a collaboration between MSU Museum, Matrix, and the Quilt Alliance to create an archive of images and quilt artists. In 1999, The Quilt Index received its initial NEH Planning grant, followed by an NEH Preservation & Access grant from 2001-2004. The NEH also provided a Phase III Expansion and Integration grant and a "Digging Into Image Data to Answer Authorship Related Questions" grant in 2006 and 2010, respectively. And since 2014, Matrix has been working towards another grant to fund an addition to the Quilt Index. "Aids Quilt Touch: A Distributed Digital Archive Platform for Digital Storytelling, Citizen Archiving, and Preservation of Cultural Heritage" will put the Aids Memorial Quilt into the Quilt Index as well as explore the importance of storytelling to health. The current project is directed by Marsha Macdowell, Dean Rehberger and Clare Luz.

These are only a few of the many wonderful NEH supported Matrix projects. The following is a list of NEH supported projects that have Matrix Affiliated faculty members as Principle Investigators (PIs),

“Institute on Digital Archaeology Method & Practice,” PIs: Watrall, Ethan; Goldstein, Lynne; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 10/1/2014 - 9/30/2016.

“AIDS Quilt Touch: A Distributed Digital Archive Platform for Digital Storytelling, Citizen Archiving, and Preservation of Cultural Heritage,” PIs: Macdowell, Marsha ; Rehberger, Dean ; Luz, Clare; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 9/1/2014 - 6/30/2016.

“Africa in World History Summer Institute,” PIs: Achebe, Nwando; Metzler, John; National Endowment for the Humanities; Funded: Project Dates: 10/1/2014 - 12/31/2015. (Matrix web development, video and technical support).

“ARCS: Archaeological Resources Cataloging System,” PIs: Frey, Jon; Watrall, Ethan; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 9/1/2014 - 8/31/2017

“What America Ate Project,” PIs: Veit, Helen; Rehberger, Dean ; Berg, Peter; National Endowment for the Humanities; Funded; 5/1/2014 - 4/30/2017

“MSU Archive of Malian Photography,” PIs: Keller, Candace ; Watrall, Ethan; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 5/1/2014 - 4/30/2017

“Africa in World History Summer Institute,” PIs: Achebe, Nwando; Metzler, John; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 10/1/2012 - 12/31/2013. (Matrix web development, video and technical support).

“Islam and Modernity: Alternatives in Contemporary Senegambia and Ghana,” PIs: Hawthorne III, Walter; Foley, Catherine; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 10/1/2012 - 9/30/2015

“MSU Vietnam Group Archive,” PIs: Ghering, Cynthia ; Keith, Charles ; Rehberger, Dean; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 5/1/2012 - 4/30/2015

“Biographies: The Atlantic Slaves Data Network,” PIs: Hawthorne III, Walter, Watrall, Ethan; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 7/1/2011 - 12/31/2012

“Digging Digitally: Creating a More Dynamic Archaeological Field Journal Archive,” PIs: Frey, Jon; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 9/1/2011 - 12/31/2012

“Preserving American Black Journal,” PIs: Rehberger, Dean ; Berg, Peter; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 1/1/2010 - 3/31/2011

“Digging into image data to answer authorship related questions,” PIs: Rehberger, Dean ; Dyksen, Wayne; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 1/1/2010 - 3/31/2011

“Pluralism and Adaptation in the Islamic Practice of Senegal and Ghana: Collaborative Research and Scholarship on West Africa,” PIs: Robinson, David; Foley, Catherine; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 7/1/2009 - 6/30/2012

“Red Land/Black Land: Teaching Ancient Egyptian History Through Game-Based Learning,” PIs: Watrall, Ethan; National Endowment for the Humanities; Dates: 4/1/2009 - 9/30/2010

“Archive 2.0: Imagining the Michigan State University Israelite Samaritan Scroll Collection as the Foundation for a Thriving Social Network,” PIs: Hart-Davidson, William; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 8/1/2008 - 6/30/2009

“The Quilt Index,” PIs: Kornbluh, Mark; Macdowell, Marsha; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 7/1/2006 - 6/30/2008

“Quilt Index: Phase III,” PIs: Kornbluh, Mark; Macdowell, Marsha; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 7/1/2006 - 6/30/2008

“Atlantic Connections: Africans and Portuguese on the Upper Guinea Coast and in Brazil 1600- 1800,” PIs: Hawthorne III, Walter; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 8/15/2008 - 8/15/2009

“Voices From Detroit: American Black Journal Online,” PIs: Kornbluh, Mark; Bailey, David; Thomas, Richard; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 9/1/2004 - 8/31/2006

“South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid; Building Democracy,” PIs: Kornbluh, Mark; Wiley, David; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 5/1/2004 - 4/30/2006

“Historical Voices,” PIs: Kornbluh, Mark; Halsted, David; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 10/1/1998 - 9/30/2000

“The Quilt Index,” PIs: Kornbluh, Mark; Macdowell, Marsha; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 7/1/2000 - 6/30/2002

“Planning For The National Quilt Index,” PIs: Kornbluh, Mark; National Endowment for the Humanities;; Project Dates: 9/1/2000 - 12/31/2000

“Planning For The Future: Towards A New Online Humanities Journal,” PIs: Kornbluh, Mark; Halsted, David; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 1/1/1998 - 9/30/1998

“Linking Scholars And The Public: A Web Site With The N.E.H.” PIs: Kornbluh, Mark; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 8/1/1997 - 1/31/1998

“Creating the History Classroom of the Twenty-First Century,” PIs: Kornbluh, Mark; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 4/1/1995 - 3/31/1997

“H-Net: Humanities On-Line,” PIs: Kornbluh, Mark; National Endowment for the Humanities; Project Dates: 10/1/1995 - 9/30/1996

Thanks NEH!