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Summer Research

Spotlight on Summer Research

If the humidity is any indication, we are well into summer here at W&L. While we do not hold classes in the summer, a number of students remain in Lexington to conduct research with faculty. To enable this research, we awarded four Summer Research Grants to faculty and students. Congrats to all – we can’t wait to see how your projects grow!


The Ancient Graffiti Project

Perhaps you’ve heard of this project before? Perhaps while reading The Atlantic or browsing Forbes? The Ancient Graffiti Project is one of our long-standing DH projects led by Profs. Rebecca Benefiel and Sara Sprenkle. Students have been integral to this project’s development and this summer is no different. Lillian MacDonald ’19 and Nathan Brewer ’18 joined Prof. Benefiel in Italy for fieldwork in June and have spent the remaining weeks of the summer processing the data they gathered. Alicia Martinez ’18 has been working with Prof. Sprenkle to refresh the APG website and develop new mapping functionality (supported by Lenfest funding). All three students presented their work at the Summer Research Scholars Brown Bag Lunch Series on July 12, 2016.

Visualizing Partisan Rangers During the American Civil War

This fledgling project is led by Barton Myers, Associate Professor of History. With the ultimate goal of visualizing spatial data on the Confederate government’s authorized guerrilla units of partisan rangers, Hannah Austin ’17, John Crum ’17, Zachary Howard ’17, Alex Kirven ’17 are spending their summer gathering data on these guerrilla units from the Fold3 database of historical military records. This project is also supported by the History in the Public Sphere Mellon Grant.

A Thanatography of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex

Another long-standing DH project, Prof. Hank Dobin’s timeline and “LifeMap” of the 2nd Earl of Essex continues to grow. Cecilia Weingart ’19 is focusing on gender relations in contemporary novels about Essex as her contribution to the project. Additionally, Prof. Dobin has been working with Jeff Knudson, ITS, and Brandon Walsh, DH Mellon Fellow, to develop a crowdsourcing component to the timeline.

Steinheil: Sex, Scandal and Politics in Belle Époque France

Sarah Horowitz, Associate Professor of History, is joined by Sam Gibson ’17 and Brandon Walsh, DH Mellon Fellow, on this project to study the language of sensationalism in the French press of the early 20th century. Focusing on the Steinheil Affair, the team began by creating clean OCR transcriptions of newspaper articles for topic modeling and other text analysis methods. Sam presented at the Summer Research Scholars Brown Bag Lunch Series on June 29th, 2016, and the entire team will travel to Hamilton College in July to participate in the Institute for Liberal Arts Digital Scholarship. Check out their progress on Github!

This program made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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