Spatial Humanities Initiative
Disability and the City: Mapping Emergent Embodiment in Berlin
Principal Investigator (PI): Zoë H. Wool
An interdisciplinary collaboration between the Rice Department of Anthropology and the Berlin-based research group for the ethnographic inquiry into ecologies, infrastructures, bodies and knowledges at Humbolt University, this workshop explores this central question: How do bodies, environments, and technology come together in urban settings in order to produce locally and historically particular experiences of disability and the city? We seek to trace connections and translations between urban planning and technology design, local biopolitical histories, and everyday use-practices to understand how cities and technologies dis- or en-abled people as citizens, aliens, consumers, strangers, friends, and urbanites, as well as how forms of in/accessibility emerge from people’s practices of movement through the city. Our innovative methodology combines digital recording and mapping, along with reflective practices of moving through the city itself. With collaborators from Berlinklusion, a Berlin-based collective working to produce traffic between local arts and disability scenes, we will take a walking tour around Berlin, digitally documenting places, spaces, and moments that speak to our guiding question. Then we will collectively reflect and comment on our photographs, recordings, and experiences, as well as archival and historical materials the workshop participants will have collected in advance, creating critical, conceptual annotations and commentaries to go along with visual and aural digital materials. Finally, we will embed these materials within an online map of Berlin. The map will be housed within a new collaboratory website and will be open to future contributions from collaborators and students, as well as the broader public who wish to contribute their annotated photographs of Berlin. The map is envisioned as the first project of a broader interdisciplinary and trans-institutional disability and technology collaboratory.
3D Visualization and Automated Spatial Analysis in the Roman Forum
PI: John Hopkins
The Horrea Agrippiana stands in ruin at a node connecting three quintessential districts of Rome: the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill and the Velabrum (commercial district in Rome), all UNESCO World Heritage sites. In 2017, a team of archaeologists, led by Prof. Hopkins, opened test trenches at the site, at the request of the archaeological superintendence of Rome. The trenches uncovered over 1700 years-worth of stratigraphy, from ca. 500 BCE (the start of the Roman Republic) to 1200 CE and the height of Catholic rule in Rome.
The Horrea Agrippiana is a massive, 2,500 m2 complex constructed during the reign of Augustus (ca. 27 BCE-14 CE); it served as a storage and exchange site through the sixth century CE. It is the best preserved, major ancient commercial structure anywhere in the city of Rome. Situated at the liminal space at the urban juncture of three diverse and quintessential parts of the Roman civic, domestic and commercial urban landscape, the site holds the keys to many questions about the history of Rome as city and civilization. The site and its surroundings cover a total of 4,000 m2, and a complex study of the diachronic spatial reconfiguration over the course of nearly two millennia is the focus of our project. The site and project consequently offer an exceptional opportunity to apply new spatial analysis and visualization tools to reconstitute historical sites and the archaeological remnants associated with them. We are working with Archimedes Digital to begin developing software and data analysis tools to advance the ability to make rapid 3D models that are georeferenced and allow for both public visual comprehension of the site through the ages and complex scholarly interrogation of the site through VR, on-site AR and integrated database analysis with our digital database.
Spatial Humanities Initiative
Comprehending Ludwig Hilberseimer
PI: Scott Colman
Ludwig Hilberseimer was a prominent German-American architect and planner central to debates among avant-garde artists and architects in the Weimar Republic, an important Bauhaus pedagogue, and a long-time collaborator of leading modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Relative to the work of his peers, Hilberseimer’s extended engagement with planning, between 1923 and 1967, has received only scant and partial attention. In association with a proposed research project to produce digital models of two of Hilberseimer’s pivotal urban proposals, funding was sought to inspect Hilberseimer’s drawings in the collection of The Art Institute of Chicago. While some of these drawings have been published and can be used as a basis for modelling, a number of these drawings are poorly reproduced, often at a small scale. The closer inspection and more accurate reproduction of the originals would assist in the accuracy of the proposed models. In addition, the inspection of these and additional, unpublished, drawings would greatly assist in the contextualization of the proposed models, contributing to greater comprehension of these projects.
Extending ImagineRio: Next steps
PI: Alida Metcalf
ImagineRio, a geographic and time-sensitive digital platform that presents the spatial history of Rio de Janeiro, is now at a point where scholars can customize it to answer their own research questions. The HRC's Spatial Humanities Research Project Development fund made it possible to bring scholars to Rice to work with imagineRio. Few scholars in Brazil have support from GIS specialists in their home institutions, and for that matter, few American historians of Brazil do either. ImagineRio offers scholars a unique platform to explore the spatial history of Rio de Janeiro, and by bringing scholars to Rice, they can not only customize imagineRio for their own research, and they can contribute to its future development. At Rice, scholars worked with ArcGIS, our image databases in Shared Shelf Commons and Artstor, and our online bibliography hosted in Zotero. Scholars brought data that they wish to analyze, and they will have the opportunity to work with GIS support staff in the Fondren Library. They collaborated with the members of the ImagineRio team, and they consulted on the development on online publishing platforms. After returning to their home institutions, they have continued to collaborate, especially as we develop new ways to publishing scholarly articles and essays in digital forms.
Public Humanities Initiative
The Art of Energy
PI: Joseph Campana, Alan Dugald McKillop Associate Professor of English
The Art of Energy represented an exhibition and series of activities that understand visual art and aesthetics through the rubric of energy. This project will consider energy use and dependency, extraction and consumption, distribution and infrastructure, to discover a dynamic relationship between how energy structures aesthetic experience and how art and artists reflect on energy.
Houston in Motion
PI: Yehuda Sharim, Anna Smith Fine Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies
Houston in Motion was a collaborative research project that sheds light on the process of refugees and immigrants in Houston. Through interviews with newly-arriving refugees and immigrants, the project developed a digital archive of migration that includes ongoing filming, working with Rice students and media editors to process and publish digitized testimonies online. The digital platform being developed with this purpose will be shared with new arrivals, existing communities, and members of the public through partnership with organizations including Houston Public Libraries and the Mayor’s Office of International Communities.
Entre el Amor y la Locura
PI: Christopher Sperandio, Associate Professor, Painting and Drawing, Visual & Dramatic Arts
Harris County has the second largest Hispanic population in the US; this exhibition on Mexican culture and history in Houston connected with the cultural heritage of Mexican-American community through a partnership with Lawndale Art Center, one of the most lively and inclusive art institutions in the region. Nearly 1,000 pieces of original art were preserved as high-resolution digital scans, translated into English, and potentially exhibited at Lawndale in late 2017/early 2018.
Not Lost! A series on Endangered Technologies
PI: Tish Stringer
Progress, said Friedrich Nietzsche, is measured by what must be sacrificed to it. We delightfully embrace the new and cast off the old in our quest for better living, often leaving older technologies abandoned. Movie theaters are tossing out film projectors for digital servers, libraries convert their collections to e-readers, even the speed of Polaroids holds no allure for today'd photographers. For this cultural heritage project, Dr. Stringer will make two short documentary films about endangered technologies and the people who love them in Houston. These films are part of Dr. Stringer's ongoing research documenting endangered technologies, and will be shot and edited on film stock and tape, participating in the contemporary dilemma of having one foot in the analog world and one in the digital. They are to be made in collaboration with arts organization in the Museum District and in Houston to discover the subjects and create the films, show the finished films to the community directly and then disseminate them through film festival opportunities and the internet.
Public Humanities Initiative
MELT - The Social Life of Ice at the Top of the World
Principal Investigator: Cymene Howe
Ice has become our climatological canary: the substance that renders visible rising temperatures. It can be measured, its retreats photographed, its depths plumbed and itsduration—or lifespan—calculated. And it is melting: nowhere faster, and faster than expected, in the Arctic region. Ice’s physical changes and the geohydrological implications associated with it are now regular media features as news of catastrophic melt continues to mark our times. However, little attention is given to the social and cultural meaning of changing ice in the frozen places where it has dominated landscapes, shaped lives and conditioned accounts of land, weather and subjective experience. This study aimed to address that omission. It proposed a multidimensional examination of the social significance of ice, the values associated with it, and the implications of its expiration. As an inquiry into the metamorphosis of ice, it asked: What are the political and social meanings of ice in the Anthropocene? And, how does a nation identified with ice wrestle with and encounter the fact of its immanent extinction? This research will chart a contemporary sensibility of icy life, human and otherwise, in an exploration of cryohuman interactions and commitments.
Robert Southey's Anti-Colonial Christianity
Principal Investigator: Amanda Louise Johnson
Written in 1799, Robert Southey’s poem Madoc features a Welsh prince who sails to the Americas in 1170 A.D. There, he witnesses Aztecs offering the children of conquered tribes to their gods, and the text compares these child-sacrifices with the children in Wales who are sacrificed on the battlefield in wars against the English. Madoc then introduces Christianity to counter these religious practices, and also galvanize the conquered tribes’ revolt against the Aztecs. After composing Madoc, Southey quickly started writing Thalaba the Destroyer (1801), which features a Muslim hero. Modern readers often deride Thalaba as Orientalist, or as a failed literary aesthetic. A close-reading, however, of Southey’s poem reveals a radical syncretism depicts Islam, with its iconoclasm and rejection of the trinity, as compatible with Christianity. What’s more, the hero, an impoverished orphan, provides fierce opposition to a wealthy, imperial class of wizards. Amanda argues that Southey’s depiction of Christianity as an anti-imperial religion influences his depiction of Islam in Thalaba. Although Southey was historically derided as a political hack, then, his poems Madoc and Thalaba show a more thoughtful, complex understanding of the relations between religion, politics, and empire.
Principal Investigator(s): Melissa Weininger, Diane Wolfthal
Recent scholarship has focused on the transnational character of Yiddish, but it was also often considered a national language of the Jews. The symposium Inside/Outside Yiddish brought together an international group of scholars of medieval and modern history and culture with Rice faculty and faculty from local universities to explore the ways in which Yiddish both crosses boundaries and creates internal cohesion. It was considered: how did Yiddish move between cultures and geographical locations while at the same time serving as a locus of identity formation? Topics included the relationship of Jewish literatures to the vernacular of the dominant culture, authorship as a collaborative enterprise, Jewish treatment of Christological themes, Jewish cosmopolitanism, Yiddish and multilingualism, and Yiddish in translation, and others.
CALAC: The Critical Archive of Latin American Cinema
Principal Investigator:Luis Duno-Gottberg
CALAC is a digital humanities initiative with a collaborative approach to the study ofLatin America Cinema. The main objective is to develop students’ analytical skillsthrough direct contribution to a growing knowledge base of detailed researchinformation about film and film analysis. This project offers a unique opportunity to integrate applied research methods and new, original research information with thetheoretical concerns of the course. At a larger scale, this project contributes tothe discoverability of less-known films and filmmakers as well as encouragingresearch on Latin American films and topics. It also provides unique tools while promoting learning by doing in the fields of digital archives.
The Recovery of a Heritage in the Making: A Digital Archive for Contemporay Displaced Spanish and Latin American Writers
Principal Investigator(s): Gisela Heffes
Because the legacy of contemporary displaced Spanish and Latin American writers has yet to be fully addressed, there is a critical need to identify, study, and collect these literary works in an archive where they can be made available in an electronic format to everyone, from members of the public at large who want to read and analyze these works, to current and future scholars who want to both study and teach them. This work served as the scholarly platform for the creation of a cross-cultural literary archive that will enable humanities scholars of American, Latin American, and Spanish studies to explore this new wave of writers, plumbing the depths of their works, and assessing its wider significance and relevance on the Americas.
The Electronic Vesalius
Principal Investigator: John Mulligan
This project attempted to "reanimate" Andreas Vesalius' 16th-century anatomical atlas, one of the foundational texts in modern medicine. The end product was an interactive, life-sized exhibit of one of Vesalius' flayed bodies, which will respond to a reader's touch with information about that body part as represented over the last five centuries. In a close collaboration between partners at Fondren Library (Ying Jin), the Texas Medical Center Library's McGovern Historical Center (Philip Montgomery and Sandra Yates), and the OEDK (Matthew Wettergreen, Benjamin Rasich, and Isaac Philips), this project sought to explore 1) the possibilities of interdisciplinary work in humanities/engineering collaborations, 2) the role of physicality in the digital humanities, and 3) the anatomy of ersatz life forms. See this update
for more information.
Public Humanities Initiative
The Reappropriation of a Concept
Principal Investigator(s): Neyran Turan; Andrea Ballestero
The focus of this project was on the use of “object,” as an idea through which to investigate the difference between a subject and other entities. Focused on the still, immobile and fixed properties that objects can exhibit, this project sought to reappropriate those qualities and explore their potential for critical scholarship. The organizers engaged in a conceptual exploration to lay the theoretical foundations for two parallel and collaborative research projects. The first project was an architectural investigation of geography as an aesthetic object. The second, was an anthropological investigation of the subterranean as a political and scientific object.
Presentation of the imagineRio Project at National and International Conferences
Principal Investigator: Alida Metcalf
By their very nature, digital humanities projects are collaborative yet cannot be funded in the usual ways. Humanities scholars are typically funded individually, yet digital humanities projects rely on teams of faculty, students, and staff drawn from different disciplines who have expertise (or who want to acquire it) in technical areas such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), programming, design, or database management. HRC funding was therefore be used to for endeavors that fall outside of the scope of individual faculty research accounts such as the presentation, at national and international conferences, of technical work, by staff and graduate students who have worked on the project since its inception.
Summer Institute for Women Surfers II
Principal Investigator: Krista Comer
Inaugurated last summer, the “Summer Institute for Women Surfers" (SIWS) gathered feminist leaders in many areas for political education and grassroots networking. This summer the organizers highlighted a program in public oral history collection as well as will develop skills in grassroots Digital Humanities archives.
Statistical Text Mining and Concept Network for Advertisements from the Late 19th Century to the Middle of 20th Century
Principal Investigator(s): Tani Barlow, Jing Chen
The second development phase of the Chinese Commercial Advertisement Archive (CCAA), applied statistical methods that characterize commercial activities of foreign companies in the early twentieth century “China market,” and to uncover links among commercial activities, intellectual trends and social dynamics. This work produced statistical mechanisms that enable readers to analyze advertisements quickly and easily through the following indices: 1) Bibliographical index; 2) Contextual Information index; 3) Content index; and 4) Keyword index.
Documentary Photography Lecture Series
Principal Investigator: Paul Hester
In conjunction with the course FOTO 388 on the role of photography in contributing to the imaging of China in nonnative minds, several photographers were invited to talk about their work and offer opportunities for cross-campus collaborations with Asian Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Architecture, as well as Poverty, Justice and Human Capabilities and the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. The growing importance of the visual in the mission for the Center for Written, Oral, and Visual Communications also calls for a broader discussion of how visual media connect to scholarly activities.
Video Bomb Houston
Principal Investigator: Allison Hunter
"Video Bomb Houston" involved making new art in four underserved Houston neighborhoods over the course of approximately six months. Each video, 1 to 3 minutes in length, stimulated discussion and imagination by the audience. Subjects included floating balloons, flying kites, swaying fruit trees, depicted realistically in vibrant colors. The video art was projected onto outdoor buildings as a way of bombing the art into neglected urban areas. Each projection took place on a building of cultural significance. For example, the old De Luxe Theater in the Fifth Ward has a history of providing moving pictures as entertainment. The façade of the building served as an open screen for contemporary video art. The project title, "Video Bomb Houston" refers to the phrase "photo bombing," when an uninvited friend gleefully jumps in front of your camera just as you were taking a photo of someone else. This project was designed as a playful intervention to celebrate the cultural heritage of neighbors while at the same time using the power of art in public humanities to go beyond the Rice campus, the Museum District, and artistic comfort zone.
Video Scenarios in Medical Education: Polyphony and non-linearity in Audiovisual Doctor-Patient Narratives
Principal Investigator(s): Kirsten Ostherr, Kaisu Koski
This project connects to the views of medical humanities and narrative medicine (Charon 2006). It builds on aspects of literary and complexity theories, especially Bakhtin’s dialogic theory (Bakhtin 1981) and applications of complexity principles in medical practice and education (e.g., Mennin 2007, Bleakley 2010). The project considers an urgency to challenge the monologic and linear qualities in narratives currently produced in medical practice and education. A linear perception of the body and health is considered a prevailing problem in health care (Letiche 2008), manifesting in narrative formulas as “the patient becomes ill; patient is cured by physician expert; patient is restored to preillness state” (Shapiro et al. 2009). Moreover, while doctor- patient interaction is characteristically polyphonic, medicine is typically characterized by a “monological mindset” (Bleakley 2010:853), resulting, for instance, in doctors being criticized for not recognizing others’ perspectives (Charon 2006:8).
The Art of Energy
Principal Investigator: Joseph Campana
The Art of Energy represented an exhibition and series of activities that understand visual art and aesthetics through the rubric of energy. Eco-art, nature art, and land art have offered, for some decades, now-familiar ways of considering the relationship between humans and their environments. Energy provides a fresh rubric for understanding human relationship to and impact on the planet. The rubric of energy encompasses a range of phenomena both central to contemporary art and life and that have structured human cultures historically. Energy is a core organizing feature of civilization, one experienced across massive scales of time and space, and yet rarely do we deploy the languages and structures of energy to understand complex cultural phenomena. The Art of Energy considered energy use and dependency, extraction and consumption, distribution and infrastructure. This exhibition considered a dynamic relationship between how energy structures aesthetic experience and how art and artists reflect on energy.
Collections Analysis Collaborative: Major Conference at Rice University and the Menil Collection
Principal Investigator: John Hopkins
The conference was held at the Menil Collection and Rice University in April 2016. Ten scholars presented on segments of the collection and on issues related to provenance, display and publication of contested and debated objects. There was one speaker each on Egyptian art, Cycladic figurines, Near Eastern objects, Minoan and Mycenaean votives, Pre- Classical Greek art, Greek vases and ceramics and terracottas from the Hellenistic and Roman worlds. There was a keynote speaker and a talk by scholars from Duke University, who have worked on a similar (though smaller and in house) project. These formal talks were intended to spark discussion about issues of object biography, provenance, display and the curation of contested antiquities and were a critical space for discussion regarding reinstallation of the collection, which began after the conference (see C-A-C project outline, attached). The formal talks also informed the work of students in the ongoing modular course.
In the Eyes of Our Children: Houston, An American City
Principal Investigator: Geoffrey Winningham
These were the final stages and public presentations of a project that had been in continuous operation since the spring of 2011. Professor Winningham, assisted by Rice undergraduate volunteers, had been teaching digital photography to children in Houston elementary and middle schools and guiding them on field trips across the city, enabling them to photograph their “Home + Place” in the world. The project had been a collaborative effort of e Pozos Art Project, the Houston Grand Opera, and Rice University (Center for Education, Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts, and Center for Civic Leadership). Final stages of the project and public presentation consisted of: 1) a two-week workshop in June of 2016 to complete the children’s photography of the city and to add painting, drawing, and printmaking to the children’s art; 2) the editing of all work done by the children to date, including the printing of an archive of selected pictures; 3) the production of an exhibition of approximately 175 works to be presented in the Rice Media Center in March of 2017; and 4) the design and production of a book, which will serve as a catalog of the exhibition.
Archiving the Future: The Recovery of a Heritage in the Making (Humanities Innovation Fund)
Organized by: Gisela Heffes, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese
Building off a grant from 2013-14, the second phase of “Archiving the Future” continued to highlight a new generation of Latin American writers in the United States who possess a distinctive poetic voice anchored in the experience of displacement. The archive expanded this coming year, inviting new writers to submit longer manuscripts that contribute to new understandings of a global phenomenon that is reshaping local communities as well as the notion of a national literary tradition. The archive resided in Fondren Library’s Digital Scholarship Archive.
Expanding the Linguistic Holdings of the Houston Asian American Archive (Humanities Innovation Fund)
Organized by: Christina Willis Oko, assistant professor of linguistics and Linda Ho Peché, project manager of the Houston Asian American Archive, Chao Center for Asian Studies
The Houston Asian American Archive (HAAA) currently collects oral histories and documents related to Houston’s Asian American immigrant experience. It sought to expand its holdings to include Asian-language materials in order to better document the unique cultural legacy of Asian Americans as local residents and as (trans)national and global citizens. Two workshops were organized to brainstorm the development and implementation of the expansion of the archive, including ethics, proposed procedures, sustainability, and funding.
Renaissance Life Webs (Humanities Innovation Fund)
Organized by: Joseph Campana, Alan Dugald McKillop Professorship in English Literature
Renaissance Life Webs is a long-term, collaborative, and multi-disciplinary digital humanities project devoted to creating an open-source repository of Renaissance natural history texts. The project yielded an editorial collective where scholars “signed on” to edit and annotate various works of natural history. The project was intended to be an open archive, controlled-crowd-sourced site that will provide access to these Renaissance texts in modern editions, some for the first time. The larger digital projects hoped to tap into the ethos of the hive, a collective of scholars where many labor to produce modern editions for the benefit of the larger community.
Rio de Janeiro Iconography (Humanities Innovation Fund)
Organized by: Alida Metcalf, Harris Masterson, Jr. Professor of History
Rio de Janeiro Iconography, part of the larger “imagineRio” interdisciplinary digital humanities project, will combine historical imagery, digital mapping and urban plans in order to understand the history of Rio de Janiero. This part of the project expanded the database to expand images created by artists in the 1840s, 1870s and 1900, decades that mark major transformations in the urban landscape of Rio. Revealing spatial change over time is a unique way to approach the history of a city and will focus specifically on Rio’s social and architectural history.
Summer Institute for Women Surfers (Humanities Innovation Fund)
Organized by: Krista Comer, associate professor of English
The Summer Institute for Women Surfers gathered various women surfers, business owners and activists for an intensive seminar to examine key activist questions relating to feminist storytelling practices, issues of work and livelihood, and to create spaces of peer teaching, learning and mutual aid. The hope is that the meeting was the first of several over the next few years; one of the goals of this meeting was to explore possibilities of collaboration with other institutions.
Teaching Humanities in the 21st Century (Humanities Innovation Fund)
Organized by: Joshua Eyler, Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and adjunct associate professor of the humanities
While the value of the humanities been the subject of some contention over the years, much of the discourse has been about the value of the disciplines themselves rather than the way the subjects are taught. This project sought to uncover and discuss the most innovative approaches to teaching the humanities as practiced by current instructors across the country, looking specifically at the cognitive and behavioral sciences in various pedagogical approaches.
Advertising Consumer Culture: Transnational Branding in Modern China
Faculty: Tani Barlow, professor of history and Jing Chen, Ephemera Project Postdoctoral Fellow
“Advertising Consumer Culture” innovated at a theoretical level while utilizing the resources of the Chinese Commercial Advertisement Archive, a database emerging out of the Luce Foundation. This project sought to explain how foreign-branded commodities, the carrier of heterogeneous consumer culture, came to be celebrated during the period of colonial modernity. Neither the advertising archive nor a theory of how advertising worked in semi-colonial, Chinese, treaty-port cultures has ever been established, thus this project moved beyond the collecting and archiving phase and explore theoretical and philosophical resources. It aimed also to develop an interactive paradigm called the “exhibitionary complex.”
Archiving the Future: The Recovery of a Heritage in the Making
Faculty: Gisela Heffes, assistant professor of Hispanic studies
There is currently a generation of Latin American writers in the making inside the United States who possess a distinctive poetic voice that is anchored in the experience of displacement, but these writers do not yet have a robust forum for recognition and publication to bring together their work. “Archiving the Future” sought to enable scholars of American and Latin American literature to plumb this new wave of writers, assessing their wider significance and relevance. Because this type of project had not been done up to this point, it contributed to new understanding of a global phenomenon that is reshaping local communities as well as the notion of a national literary tradition. Once established, it will be maintained in Fondren Library’s Digital Scholarship Archive.
Avanzamos: El Taller Chicana/o
Faculty: José Aranda, associate professor of English
Now in its second year, this workshop supports advanced research in the interdisciplinary field of Chicana/o studies, "El Taller" linked scholars across universities through a range of conversations, including discussions on modernism, global labor migrations, indigeneity, environmentalism, mestizaje, and Mexican American women in the military. Graduate students and faculty gathered to critique and edit works for publication and discuss personal and professional questions of racism and sexism. The program expanded this year, including faculty and graduate students from the University of New Mexico, University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of Texas, and Southern Methodist University.
The Creation of an Archive of Photographs Documenting Houston from 1966-2012
Faculty: Paul Hester, lecturer in visual and dramatic arts
Paul Hester has been taking photographs of Rice and Houston for over 40 years. In his prolific career, one of the focus areas of his work is architectural photography of structures in Houston. Hester sought to insure the safety and longevity of these images, as he believes that photographs are more valuable when words provide context. In the creation of this archive, theories of photographic history and archival systems necessarily involved a rethinking of the original basis for certain assignments and commissions.
Emergency Core (ECORE)
Faculty: Gordon Wittenberg, professor of architecture
When catastrophe strikes, it leaves behind swathes of wreckage in its wake and it takes time for relief to reach the affected communities. This project, designed by students and faculty from the School of Architecture, addressed this need with the development of the Emergency Core (ECORE). ECORE is a small, self-storing sanitary facility capable of being cheaply manufactured and cheaply deployed at disaster sites. Once assembled, it can accommodate two families with a composting toilet, shower, minor power and cooking facilities. In 2012, the initial design phase was completed and presented at the International Disaster Conference in New Orleans. It was very favorably received and now the group sought to produce a final prototype that can be put into mass production.
Eternity, Epoch, and Soul: Jewish Mystical Notions of Time
Faculty: Brian Ogren, assistant professor of religious studies
This symposium examined the role that the notion of time plays in Jewish mystical conceptions such as redemption, revelation, creation and eternity. Early in Rabbinic literature it is stated: “Anyone who gazes at four things, it would be merciful to him if he had not come into the world: what is above, what is below, what is before and what is after.” Subsequent generations of mystics took this not as an admonishment, but as a challenge. “What is before and what is after” directly relates to time, and for the mystics, rumination on these matters is a way of understanding the cosmos and of understanding the divine. This symposium addressed such understandings, resulting in the publication of an edited volume of the papers presented.
Faculty: Christopher Sperandio, assistant professor of art, department of visual and dramatic arts
The art world is defined by real estate. By remodeling a shipping container into an exhibition space, this project challenges the located-ness of the average art gallery. Traveling to parts of the city under-served by artistic institutions and programs, the mobile arts space offered to expose a wide-ranging audience to contemporary art and artistic methods. The nature of these artworks were dictated by the specific locations and through dialogue with each location’s residents.
Faculty: José Aranda, associate professor of English
As a workshop that supports advanced research in the interdisciplinary field of Chicana/o studies, "El Taller" linked scholars across universities through a range of conversations, including discussions on modernism, global labor migrations, indigeneity, environmentalism, mestizaje, and Mexican American women in the military. Graduate students and faculty gathered to critique and edit works for publication and discuss personal and professional questions of racism and sexism.
Hermeneutics of Alterity and the Study Abroad Experience
Faculty: Wendy Freeman, director for the Center of the Study of Languages
In collaboration with the Center for the Study of Languages, the HRC funded summer courses in intensive language and technology training for students studying abroad in the summer of 2012. These courses nurtured intercultural competence and the skills of global citizenry. Students were required to participate in a technology project under the supervision of a virtual Rice faculty member. Using social media, students discussed readings and reflected upon the practical and theoretical aspects of their study abroad experience.
Medical Futures Lab Symposium
Faculty: Kirsten Ostherr, associate professor of English
Millennial Medicine was a one-day symposium that focuses on solutions to the grand challenges facing medical education. Our goal was to launch a new conversation on the future of medicine and how we should get there. The Symposium featured inspiring, creative, and unorthodox thinkers sharing their ideas and strategies. More information, including videos of each talk, can be found at: https://mfl.rice.edu
Materialism and New Materialism Across the Disciplines
Faculty: Sarah Ellenzweig, associate professor of English; John Zammito, John Antony Weir Professor of History
Defined around the primacy of matter and its properties and actions, the New Materialism challenges long-held assumptions about the nature of the stuff of the universe. The New Materialism calls for interdisciplinary methods that approach not only philosophical questions as well as issues that dominate the natural sciences and contemporary political and cultural controversies. In 2012-13, the Humanities Research Innovation Fund supported a series of speakers that led toward further development of the project.
Houston Urban English Survey
Faculty: Nancy Niedzielski, associate professor of linguistics
This project involved the collection, archiving, and analysis of predominantly conversational data from various communities in Houston. In collaboration with students from the University of Houston, Rice fieldworkers collected and archived conversational data on digital recording media. Faculty and students used this database to analyze language variation in Houston from a qualitative and quantitative perspective to provide crucial information about how language influences identity within and among different social groups.
Digitization in the Humanities
Faculty: Anne Chao, Rice University; Hilde De Weerdt, University of Oxford; Judith Pfeiffer, University of Oxford
Collaborating with scholars at Oxford University, Rice held an interdisciplinary workshop to provide baseline instruction for scholars at various stages of familiarity with digitalization. The purpose of the workshop was to develop research skills with innovative software tools and nurture better understanding of the field overall. This workshop offered an opportunity for further instruction in digital methodologies and provides opportunities to build inventive collaborations between digitalization and humanistic research.
Building Creative Minds
Faculty: Anthony Brandt, associate professor of composition and theory; Karen Capo, director, School Literacy and Culture Project; Linda McNeil, professor of education
Focused on inspiring creativity and innovation, this project sought to develop a “Rice Creativity Curriculum” that takes a radically new approach in which students wills study a unified model of creativity and apply it broadly to multiple art forms. This project focused on developing creativity within young children in the hopes of shifting the educational models focused on standardized testing rather than the development of creativity, inventiveness, and flexibility, and self-expression. The curriculum built on emerging theories of creativity to infuse other academic subjects with the same imaginative impulse.2011-12
Cultures of Energy
Dominic Boyer, associate professor of anthropology; Melinda Fagan, assistant professor of philosophy; Cymene Howe, assistant professor of anthropology; Jeff Kripal, the J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religious Studies and department chair; Caroline Levander, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Initiatives, Carlson Professor in the Humanities, and professor of English; Cyrus Mody, associate professor of history; Casey O’Callaghan, associate professor of philosophy; Jack Zammito, the John Antony Weir Professor of History
Building upon recommendations made by the Energy and the Environment taskforce’s white paper last semester, this project generated form and momentum for the Cultures of Energy Initiative within the broader rubric of the Rice Center for Innovation and Transitions in Energy and the Environment (CITE2). Through its speakers series and spring symposium, the working group hoped to shape a vibrant campus conversation in energy humanities next year. This project promoted a multi-tiered format, bringing external speakers, faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students into creating a curriculum for the upcoming Sawyer Seminar in 2012-13. The longer-term goal for this project was to help establish Rice as a leader in humanistic research on uses, environments, and transitions of energy across the world.
Global Modernities 1750-1920
Helena Michie, the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor in the Humanities; Leo Costello, assistant professor of art history; Deborah Harter, associate professor of French studies; Betty Joseph, associate professor of English; Ussama Makdisi, Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair of Arab Studies and professor of history; Alexander Regier, associate professor of English
This interdisciplinary project within the humanities began with the recognition of faculty strengths in eighteenth- and nineteenth- century studies across departments and geographic specializations. It also responded to the increasing globalization of these historical fields, which have been enriched by attention to relations among nation states and national cultures.
Faculty: Joseph Campana, assistant professor of English
Renaissance Posthumanism explores the connections between the cultures of early modern Europe and current work in the posthumanities. The project culminated in a symposium followed by an edited collection that will bring together scholars of national and international renown to address the intersection of early modern literary, cultural, and historical studies and notions of the human as viewed through the lens of recent work referred to under the rubric of "the posthuman." Did Renaissance humanism in fact produces the vision of the human against which much posthumanism militates. How might emerging theories of “the posthumanities,” which tend to emphasize highly contemporary forms of media and technology with little reference to their longer histories, benefit from incorporating the tangle of humans, animals, environment, and machines that comprises Renaissance humanism?
Exploring the Mind through Music Institute
Faculty: Anthony Brandt, associate professor of composition and theory, Shepherd School of Music
Anthony Brandt helped fund the Summer Institute, which was held in June 13-17, 2011. During the Institute, scientific fellows gained an understanding of musical structure, history and analytic methods. Musician fellows learned about brain morphology, human cognition and experimental design. All fellows also attended lectures by pre-eminent scientists and musicians who were invited to give public presentations at the institute.
Linking Philosophy of Science and Stem Cell Research
Faculty: Melinda Fagan, assistant professor of philosophy
Fagan's project aimed to bring together her research in philosophy of science and her background in stem cell research, two fields that have traditionally existed in separate spheres. Philosophy of science, Fagan proposes, can help bridge the gap that exists between scientists and non-scientists in this developing field and provide frameworks for understanding the prospects for stem cell research. Fagan posits that philosophical understanding of stem cell research should develop in continuous discussion with practicing scientists, building on and synthesizing their views.
New Methods for Health Media
Faculty: Kirsten Ostherr, associate professor of English
Kirsten Ostherr established new collaborative research paradigms in medical media studies by blending humanistic and scientific methodologies for analyzing functional magnetic resonance imaging research in medical films, television and digital media.
Sources, Authors, and Concepts of Hellenistic Rhetoric Fourth to First Centuries BCE
Faculty: Harvey Yunis, professor of classical studies
Harvey Yunis aimed to assemble, translate and annotate for the first time the sources now available on rhetoric and rhetorical theory of the Greek Hellenistic period (323-31 BCE) as a joint project with Frédérique Woerther at Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris.