Projects

3D SAQARRA, Elaine Sullivan (PI)
The ancient Egyptian cemetery of Saqqara, served as a burial place and cult center for kings, administrators, royal family members, artists, and (less frequently) non-elites over more than 3000 years. Pyramids, mastaba tombs, and huge funerary enclosures still attest to the site’s original grandeur. But questions relating to the creation and perpetuation of sacred space at Saqqara are difficult for modern researchers to address, due to the degradation of the site. Years of ancient and modern change to both the built and natural landscape make it difficult for scholars to re-imagine the interaction between ancient place and environment.

The integration of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and 3D modeling now allows for the recreation and visualization of entire ancient landscapes like Saqqara. The project 3D Saqqara uses these digital capabilities to create a four-dimensional exploration of the cemetery: through both space and time. By simulating the built and natural landscape of the site across thousands of years, the project demonstrates how the nexus between landscape, memory, and identity can be examined in innovative ways. Four-dimensional visualizations of ancient places allow scholars to question how the transformation of such places over time effected peoples’ interpretation and memories of these spaces.

 

DIGITAL JEWISH STUDIES INITIATIVE, Rachel Deblinger and Nathaniel Deutsch (Co-Directors)
The Center for Jewish Studies has launched an ambitious new Digital Jewish Studies initiative that will support new courses and project development. This initiative encourages student engagement in the geographic, linguistic, and cultural diversity of the Jewish people through digital tools and methodologies that affords new modes of visualizing the relationships between Jewish communities across continents and oceans.

 

THE MINHAG PROJECT: A DIGITAL ARCHIVE of JEWISH CUSTOMS, Nathaniel Deutsch (PI)
Nathaniel Deutsch is currently developing the Minhag Project. The project translates Deutsch’s work with the Ansky questionnaire into a dynamic, online survey that asks users to consider their own religious practices alongside the history of Jewish life in the Pale of Settlement.

 

THE GAIL PROJECT, Alan Christy (Project Director)
The Gail Project is a collaborative, international public history project that explores the founding years of the American military occupation of Okinawa. The project is inspired by a collection of photos taken in Okinawa in 1952-53 by an American Army Captain: Charles Eugene Gail. The photos were generously donated to Special Collections at McHenry Library by Charles’ daughter, Geri Gail, and have since been made available for student research.

Our team of faculty, artists and undergraduate students at the University of California, Santa Cruz, are developing a traveling exhibition of Gail’s photographs with an accompanying digital archive that is comprised of the photos, key texts and documents, oral histories from both American and Okinawan voices, as well as undergraduate student research and writing. We believe that using the photographs as a lens through which to view this crucial time is relevant to populations throughout Okinawa, Japan, the United States and the entire Pacific region. We hope this project encourages a broad public dialog across the pacific about the past, present, and future of the Okinawan-American relationship.

 

DATABASE OF INTRA-AMERICAN SLAVE VOYAGES, Greg O’Malley (PI)
The Database of Intra-American Slave Trade Voyages has been built by Gregory O’Malley to track the movement of enslaved people between colonies in North and South America and the Caribbean. As part of a recent NEH grant, the Intra-American database will be added to the website: Voyages: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, enabling researchers to examine trajectories of the slave trade across the Atlantic and within the Americas. The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database has information on more than 35,000 slave-trading voyages that forcibly embarked over 12 million Africans for the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. It offers researchers, students and the general public a chance to rediscover the reality of the largest forced movement of peoples in world history. O’Malley serves on the Steering Committee for the project and his intra-American database will add more than 7,000 additional slave-trading voyages to the website.

 

ISABELLA D’ESTE ARCHIVE , Deanna Shemek (co-PI)
Deanna Shemek (Literature) serves as a co-PI for IDEA: Isabella d’Este Archive is a multi-faceted digital environment for interactive study of the European Renaissance. IDEA approaches the period through the correspondence, collecting, diplomacy, music, and art patronage of Isabella d’Este as one, highly significant and extensively networked female figure of the period. The online archive element of the project provides access to digital copies of over 30,000 manuscript letters, loaded into an interactive application for online users. Explore the Isabella D’Este Letters Project >

 

MEMORIES/MOTIFS, Rachel Deblinger (PI)
Memories/Motifs explores representations of Holocaust survivors in the immediate postwar period. The exhibit, built in Scalar, traces three different survivors and the transformation of their stories in different media and for different political ends. Through this online site, users can listen to postwar radio broadcasts about the Holocaust, watch fundraising videos, and see images from magazines and newspapers that introduced American audiences to the Holocaust in the wake of the war.

 

EAST ASIA FOR ALL, Melissa Brzycki and Stephanie Montgomery (Co-PIs)
East Asia For All is a podcast hosted by Melissa Brzycki and Stephanie Montgomery focused on discussing East Asian pop cultural products — including movies, TV series, documentaries, fiction, and memoirs — and their relevance to understanding different aspects of East Asian life and culture. As pop culture nerds who also have a decade of experience living and traveling in East Asia, they have personally seen how people from outside of the region are engaging with its popular culture with increasing intensity and richness, but also how differences in language and culture often result in a limited understanding of pop cultural works. Melissa and Stephanie look at how to approach East Asian popular culture for non-Asian fans, and hope to bring a critical attention to issues such as cultural appropriation and the white-washing of Asian characters, both for their fellow academics, and anyone with an interest in East Asia and East Asian culture.

Montgomery received the first Digital Scholarship Commons graduate fellowship (a partnership between the University Library and The Humanities Institute).

 

SPAIN-NORTH AFRICA PROJECT, Camilo Gomez-Rivas (Project Director)
The Spain-North Africa Project brings together scholars from multiple disciplines – including history, art history, literature, philosophy and religious studies – in the belief that the crucial questions in the study of this western Mediterranean region are best addressed in an interdisciplinary fashion treating it as a coherent whole.