On the Verge of a New Project
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.
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.