New Delhi : Ashoka University today announced that its faculty of English and Digital Humanities, Dr. Johannes Burgers has been co-awarded a USD 147,000 grant from National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a project titled Teaching and Learning William Faulkner in the Digital Age. Dr. Burgers will co-direct the digital humanities project with Prof. Christopher Rieger of Southeast Missouri State University and Prof. Worthy Martin of the University of Virginia will serve as director of technology. The 30-month project focuses on helping instructors from high schools, community colleges, and four-year universities across America to create digital learning modules using Digital Yoknapatawpha (http://faulkner.iath.virginia.edu/). Digital Yoknapatawpha is a massive digital humanities database that represents crucial aspects of the fictional world of Nobel prize winning author William Faulkner through interactive maps, visualizations, archival documents, historical photographs, and audio recordings. The site was created by Stephen Railton at the University of Virginia, an international team of scholars and the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities with the support of a previous NEH grant.
Sharing his thoughts on being awarded the grant by NEH, Dr. Johannes Burgers, Assistant Professor of English and Digital Humanities, Ashoka University said, “Through this grant, a new generation of readers will get a fresh perspective on one of America’s most anthologized authors while also exploring a new type of information literacy that poses critical questions about how we acquire, classify, and represent knowledge in the digital age.” According to Prof. Christopher Rieger, “The aim of Teaching and Learning William Faulkner in the Digital Age is to make these materials more accessible to teachers and students through learning modules that cater to different educational institutions and contexts.”
On Dr. Burgers being awarded the grant by NEH, Prof. Malabika Sarkar, Vice-Chancellor, Ashoka University said, ”We are delighted to know that Dr. Johannes Burgers of Ashoka University has been awarded a grant to promote digital learning by National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) in the US. This is another recognition of the efforts by Ashoka’s faculty towards producing world-class academic research.”
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced USD 24.7 million in grants for 208 humanities projects across the country. “These NEH grants will support educators and scholars in enriching our understanding of the past and enable cultural institutions from across the country to expand their offerings, resources, and public programming, both in person and online,” said NEH Acting Chair Adam Wolfson. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965 in US. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. Grants by NEH are awarded for projects organized around a core topic or set of themes drawn from such areas of study in the humanities as history, philosophy, religion, literature, and composition and writing skills.
Since the advent of the internet many faculty around the world have been experimenting with digital learning in some form. This process has only been accelerated by the pandemic, during which many faculty have had to innovate new and interesting ways to teach their classes. What makes this grant unique is that it empowers the selected faculty to collaborate and formalize these learnings into modules that can be disseminated on an established platform. “In contrast to most digital learning ‘disruptions,’ which tend to be revenue-driven tools created by large technology companies, this is digital learning for and by the people who know the classroom best: teachers.” Dr. Burgers added.