Aesthetics of Crisis

Aesthetics of Crisis is an ongoing ethnographic research project that investigates the cultural practice of street art and graffiti in Athens within the context of the European economic crisis. The project comprises an extensive photographic archive as well as a database of artist interviews, and has generated a number of publications. 

PI: Julia Tulke, Graduate Program in Visual & Cultural Studies, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow (2017-2019)

Atlantic Piracy Database

The Atlantic Piracy Database is an ongoing project that seeks to collect, compile and collate documented pirate attacks, surrenders and sightings throughout the early modern Atlantic between 1660 and 1760. Although we have some sense of the scale, geographic distribution and intensity of piracy in the Atlantic region over time, the Atlantic Piracy Database seeks to create a more comprehensive record and quantitative analysis. Although still under construction, the project currently contains over eight hundred distinct incidents mostly drawn from an intensive analysis of the contents of British and colonial newspapers during the period. Additional content from archival and other sources is being added to enrich and expand the overarching portrait of piracy in the early modern Atlantic world. Ideally, the project will mature into a powerful research resource and the foundations of public history projects via GIS mapping and other interactive digital tools.

PI: James S. Rankine, Department of History, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow (2017-2019)

Hanna-Barbera’s Cacophony

In the first iteration of Distant Listening and TV Sound, I turn an ear towards the past to analyze the rich sound effect design of one of the most prolific animation studios of all time: Hanna-Barbera Productions. For generations,Hanna-Barbera defined what Saturday mornings sounded like, yet little scholarly attention has been directed towards the studio’s wacky sounds. Building on Franco Moretti’s methodology of distant reading, this project uses computer audition to develop what we might call distant listening. This research method is motored by the studio’s shear output (over 175 series from 1957-1985). The project looks to the tools and methods of digital humanities to get at a rich texture of the sonic register of the studio’s output, asking if there is a deep formal rhythm structuring the sound effects of the studio.

PI: Patrick Sullivan, Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow (2016-2018)

Ornament of Empire

The Ornament of Empire is a history-based digital humanities project that explores the economic and ecological significance of plant nurserymen during the nineteenth century. Nurserymen, in the age of empire, carried tremendous weight. Their business enabled Americans to settle and replicate systems of agricultural systems across North America. A study of plant nurserymen is a study of the development of American capitalism and the ecological effects of American empire. The project integrates big-data management, GIS mapping, and JS visualizations to track the economic and ecological impact of plant nurserymen in nineteenth-century America. Using nineteenth-century nursery catalogues, business ledgers, and correspondence between nurserymen, The Ornament of Empire maps networks of trade as well as the physical movement of plants across the continent.

PI: Camden Burd, Department of History, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow (2016-2018)