Final Project Assignment

MALS 78100
The Digital Humanities in Research and Teaching
Spring 2012
CUNY Graduate Center
Profs. Brier and Gold

Final Project Assignment

Assignment: Write a 10-15 page proposal for a digital humanities project. Prepare an oral presentation about the project for our final class session.

(Note the following assignment was based on the guidelines for the NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant competition)

As the culmination of our digital humanities course this semester, write a proposal for the planning or initial stages of a digital humanities project that grows out of our readings and discussions this semester. Your project can be on any topic within DH (broadly understood), and the proposal should be modeled on the NEH’s DH Start-up Grant competition, which is meant to support projects still in their planning stages. Sample projects might include:

• research that brings new approaches or documents best practices in the study of the digital humanities;

• planning and developing prototypes of new digital tools for preserving, analyzing, and making accessible digital resources, including libraries’ and museums’ digital assets;

• scholarship or studies that examine the philosophical or practical implications and impact of the use of emerging technologies in specific fields or disciplines of the humanities, or in interdisciplinary collaborations involving several fields or disciplines;

• innovative uses of technology for public programming and education utilizing both traditional and new media; and

• new digital modes of publication that facilitate the dissemination of humanities scholarship in advanced academic as well as informal or formal educational settings at all academic levels.

Your written proposal should include the following sections:

1. Table of Contents

2. Abstract
Provide a clear and concise one-paragraph abstract of your project written for a non-specialist audience, clearly explaining the project’s principal activities, and its expected results. Also explain why the project is innovative and what it will contribute to a particular discipline or the humanities more generally.

3. Narrative
The narrative should not assume specialized knowledge, and it should be free of jargon. It should clearly define technical terms so that they are comprehensible to a non-specialist audience and it should provide an intellectual justification for the project and a work plan.

• Enhancing the humanities through innovation
Provide a clear and concise explanation—comprehensible to a general audience—of the project activities and the ultimate project results, noting their value to scholars, students, and general audiences in the humanities. Describe the scope of the project activities, the major issues to be addressed, and their significance to the humanities. Show how the project will meet its objectives in innovative ways.

• Environmental scan/DH Context
Provide a clear and concise summary of an environmental scan of the relevant field. The goal of an environmental scan is to take a careful look at similar work being done in the applicant’s area of study. For example, if the proposal calls for developing software to solve a particular humanities problem, please discuss similar software developed for other projects and explain how the proposed solution differs. If there are existing software products that could be adapted and re-used for the proposed project, please identify them and discuss the pros and cons of taking that approach. If there are existing humanities projects that are similar in nature to the proposed project, please describe them and discuss how they relate to the proposed project. The environmental scan should make it clear that the applicant is aware of similar work being done and should explain how the applicant’s proposed project contributes to and advances the field.

Additionally, this section of the narrative should situate the project within the larger theoretical, historical, and social context of the digital humanities, using our readings for reference. How do the theoretical concerns of this project fit within the grander scheme(s) of DH as we have explored them this semester? What connections can you make between your project and the readings we have done?

• Work plan
Describe, as best you can, the specific tasks that will be accomplished during the project and when they will be accomplished. The order and sequence of the plan is of more importance than proposing any specific dates.

• Final product and dissemination
Describe your plans to disseminate the project results through various media (printed articles or books, presentations at meetings, electronic and/or social media, or some combination of these). Discuss how the project’s ultimate result is likely to be disseminated and what provisions will be made for the long-term maintenance of the product. Discuss how the activities of the project will be useful to the field.

4. List of Participants
You may be creative here and list prospective participants you would like to include. Participants may also be listed by role (ie., “Drupal programmer”).

5. Project budget
Provide a speculative draft budget for the project. Use your best estimates for work involved in the project.

During our last class of the semester, all students will be asked to make short presentations (5-10 minutes) about their projects.

In-class oral presentations/pitches: May 16
Written Proposals Due Date: May 25

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *