robin_anne_reid: (Default)
robin_anne_reid ([personal profile] robin_anne_reid) wrote2012-08-18 08:15 pm

Finally, a new post!

Since the MLA conference, I've been doing a lot of other work, including administrative stuff (mostly, writing reports after being on committees, or sometimes, just writing reports).

Grant writing is much more fun! I'm teaching a graduate course on grant writing this fall as well which is very exciting--no textbook--there are none for academic grants that I've found that I've liked--so I'll be directing students to all the resources online, and helping them find grants that apply directly to their scholarly and or creative work that they can apply for, and then that will become the basis of their work for the class. We have a new Vice Provost for Research (Compliance) and Dean of Graduate Studies, and I'm excited to be working with her--she was interested to hear about the grant writing class since that's something she started at her previous university.

The other day, I got together with my linguist colleague to go over, in detail, the reader reports from the National Endowment for the Humanities on our (unfunded) Digital Humanities Grants. The reports, as is always the case with NEH, are incredibly useful, and we brainstormed a whole bunch of changes, and assigned some writing tasks.

Behind the cut are my drafts for the Abstract; Statement of Innovation; and the Significance and Contributions to the Humanities. I'm posting this small amount of text with the permission of my colleagues.

Mapping (Virtual) Worlds: Intersectional Identities and Social Justice Communities Online


This Level I grant will fund an innovative collaboration between linguists and new media scholars to apply new digital technologies to the search, retrieval, and categorization of internet texts. The purpose of this project is to test the applicability of the questions and conclusions that have been developed in humanities-based cultural studies scholarship on constructions of identities. The earlier work, which addresses significant gaps in internet studies, follows humanities methodologies by analyzing a small and discrete number of texts, often professionally produced. The major question that this project addresses is how will the results gained by the earlier work scale up when applied to the big data contained in a corpus (a searchable database such as those used in corpus linguistics) of natural language texts downloaded from the internet. While the current focus of the PIs is primarily on social justice communities online, the methodology can be applied to any public internet site, and our team will be open to hosting materials for other scholarly projects.. Our focus reflects current and ongoing projects in the team. The corpus, which will be publicly searchable, will be analyzed using existing open-source programs and new schema drawing on cultural studies scholarship in order to create an interdisciplinary project analyzing data through a variety of methods from cultural studies and linguistics (including computational, corpus, and socio-linguistics).

Statement of Innovation

This project explores how new digital tools in data retrieval can facilitate collecting data from the internet which will solve traditional limits faced by humanities scholars when addressing the huge breadth of data accessible to them online. A corpus (a searchable database) of texts generated by internet users in social justice communities online that can be analyzed using existing computational linguistics programs as well as new schema created from earlier cultural studies scholarship can offer valuable approaches to major questions in the humanities concerning the intersections of languages and identities on the internet. To our knowledge, no such corpus currently exists and no equivalent methodology has been proposed in any other forum.

Significance and Contributions to Humanities


Addresses inability/reluctance of traditional humanities scholarship to deal with big data;

Scales up important scholarly arguments on identities from small groups of published texts to corpus of natural language texts culled from the internet;

Focuses on internet communities doing social justice activism and education as part of participatory democracy?

Internet studies lacking robust and complex concepts of "identity"

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