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On the Verge of a New Project

2012 June 28
by Sheila

While I was in the middle of packing up our Memphis house, I heard from Tom Dwyer of the University of Michigan Press that I, together with Jentery Sayers, won the University of Michigan Press-HASTAC Prize for Digital Humanities. Wow! I was truly surprised, and feel quite honored.

[For more info, you can read the UMichigan Press and HASTAC blog announcements.]

My new project will be an extension of my dissertation, Stamping American Memory, which uncovers some of the unexplored complexity and influence of the US postal service as a central institution for circulating and distributing historical narratives and for shaping visual meaning and public memory in the United States.

My new project has a few goals:

  • Incorporate dialogic and participatory digital platforms to encourage scholarly discussions and source contributions relating to the history of stamp collecting and the US postal service.
  • Engage enthusiasts and historians in collaborative digital environment to produce scholarly content together.
  • Encourage scholars to reconsider postage stamps as powerful pieces of visual culture worthy of incorporating into teaching and research.
  • Encourage collectors and enthusiasts to see the broader historical and cultural context in which their favorite objects are produced.
  • Demonstrate that the US postal service was influential and meaningful in the political and personal lives of nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Americans.

This project aims to connect scholars, collectors, and enthusiasts with primary sources and will invite the community to contribute their own sources and interpretations using the evidence available in an Omeka site. And I will launch a WordPress + CommentPress site for a long form narrative, like this prototype I set up for the proposal.

I feel extremely lucky to be on the verge of a new project that carries with it support from University of Michigan Press and HASTAC, as well as the enthusiasm of my colleagues at RRCHNM & the GMU History and Art History department. I plan to blog about this process as I dive into a digital project that is actually about my research.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. June 29, 2012

    Congrats on your well-deserved award, Sheila, and please keep us posted on your progress. I’m especially interested in how you incorporate reader participation with your images and scholarship via Omeka and WordPress/CommentPress. As for the latter, this site may be helpful (http://cowriting.trincoll.edu).

    Also, when Kristen and I prepared our Writing History in the Digital Age manuscript for the UMich Press, we had to transfer content from WordPress back to Microsoft Word, so be ready for that stage if their process remains the same.

  2. Sheila permalink*
    June 30, 2012

    Thanks, Jack. I used the site you and Kristen built and edited as an example in my proposal, and am planning to read your lessons learned–it’s in my to-read list.

    I also hope to chat with you both once I get this project going, because I know you have much to share , plus I really value your opinions.

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