Thursday, October 7, 2021

Variety of collaborators will work on HBW grant funded by Mellon Foundation

The History of Black Writing (HBW) recently received $800,000 in funding from the Andrew W. Mellon  Foundation to implement a three-year grant focusing on African American literature. Scholars of African American literature, computer scientists, Digital Humanities scholars, illustrators, graphic designers, voice actors, and sound engineers will contribute to the project. 

Maryemma Graham, founder of HBW, will bring her decades-long expertise working on various African American literature projects as well as her experiences working with hundreds of schoolteachers, fellow scholars, and students. 

My brother Kenton Rambsy, a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, and I have been working on projects combining literary studies and digital humanities for years now, and this HBW Mellon grant gives us a special opportunity to expand the reach of our efforts. Drew Davidson, a professor of computer science at the University Kansas and a contributor to the Network, will work with us on design and operational features of the digital resources that we are building. 

Several people at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) will also contribute to the project. For one, members of our African American Literary Studies unit will provide guidance on content for the overall project. We collectively cover a wide range of topics in black literature and literary history, and we are excited to turn our attention to this project. 

Margaret Smith, research professor for our IRIS Center, who has been instrumental for several web-based projects, will lead the way on designing various foundational online elements for the project. The co-founders/directors of IRIS Kristine Hildebrandt and Jessica DeSpain will provide ideas and assistance as well. 

Beyond those mentioned, we will recruit dozens of others to assist in building this project -- The Black Literature Network. 


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