Brandeis faculty awarded grants by National Endowment for the Humanities

Three Brandeis faculty members have received funding in a new round of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The NEH announced $14.8 million in grants on Dec. 12 to support innovative digital projects for the public, the preservation of collections at small institutions, and humanities initiatives on college campuses. In all, 253 projects across the country received funding, including a total of over $200,000 in funding for separate projects from Brandeis professors Wendy Cadge, Karen Desmond and Ralph Thaxton.

The following Brandeis projects were awarded grant funding:

Wendy Cadge

Wendy Cadge

Wendy Cadge, professor of sociology and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Project: Mapping Religious Transformation in Boston’s Hidden Sacred Spaces

Building off of previous research on Boston’s Hidden Sacred Spaces, the grant will fund a location based app for hidden chapels, meditation spaces, and prayer rooms that people in Boston pass daily but few stop to closely consider. The project will include fifteen-minute video pieces on three hidden sacred spaces for the app, and three corresponding segments for public radio.

Grant category: Digital Projects for the Public

Funding: $100,000

Karen Desmond

Karen Desmond

Karen Desmond, assistant professor of music

Project: Measuring Polyphony: An Online Music Editor for Late Medieval Polyphony

The grant will fund the development of a web-based software prototype that will offer new possibilities for the analysis and interpretation of late medieval music. The online music editor will allow users to access and make contributions to transcriptions of music directly linked to digital images of medieval manuscripts, and to learn about the original notation. A two-day workshop will bring together the leading experts in music encoding and medieval musicology to evaluate the prototype editor and to devise plans for its further development and rollout. The project builds on a project funded by a Brandeis Provost’s Innovation Grant last year, and was begun by Desmond while she was a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University, funded by the SSHRC.

Grant category: Digital Humanities Advancement

Funding: $46,799

Ralph Thaxton

Ralph Thaxton

Ralph Thaxton, professor of politics

Project: From Revolution to Ruin: A Micro-level Study of the Origins of Mao’s Great Famine

The grant will fund the completion of research and the writing of a book reassessing China’s Great Famine from 1958 to 1962. This book will be based substantially on oral testimonies of the survivors of the most lethal tragedy of the 20th century — the famine of Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward, a famine that took the lives of 45 million people. The study is focused on several counties and villages in a province where the Maoists were in control of government, and will shed new light on how the survivors think about Mao's role in bringing about this great disaster. 

Grant category: Fellowship

Funding: $60,000

Categories: Humanities and Social Sciences, Research

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