Framingham State University Receives $192,000 Grant from National Endowment for the Humanities to Launch a Digital Humanities Center in Whittemore Library

Framingham State University Receives $192,000 Grant from National Endowment for the Humanities to Launch a Digital Humanities Center in Whittemore Library

Oct 4, 2021

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded Framingham State University a $192,000 grant to launch a digital humanities center that will serve students, faculty and the greater community.

The rapidly growing field of Digital Humanities (DH) combines traditional humanities subjects, such as English, history and philosophy, with digital computing tools that expand upon our ability to ask and to answer age-old humanities questions about identity, history and more, according to FSU English Professor Dr. Bartholomew Brinkman. It involves investigation, analysis, synthesis and presentation of information in electronic form.

“In English, for example, we might think about the ways that race is expressed in literature,” says Brinkman, who helped lead the grant application and will serve as the inaugural director of the DH center. “Digital humanities provides access to hundreds of thousands of books from a particular moment, or across time, allowing us to look for trends that might be harder to see close-up.”

The digital humanities can also open new doors for employment and career opportunities for humanities students by teaching them how to work with digital tools and methods that aren’t always emphasized in the traditional classroom.

“It provides students with one more really important tool in their arsenal,” says Brinkman. “These skills complement traditional humanities skills, such as reading, writing and critical thinking.”

Brinkman partnered with Whittemore Library Interim Dean Millie Gonzalez, FSU Archivist Colleen Previte, and Research and Digital Pedagogy Librarian Hedda Monaghan on the grant application. The DH center will be housed in the library mezzanine, making it easily accessible to students, faculty and community stakeholders. The NEH grant is part of the American Recovery Program and a portion of the funding is reserved for non-tenure track faculty members who have seen fewer teaching opportunities during COVID19. Those with an interest or experience in the digital humanities will be able to apply for money for projects focused on the theme of “A More Perfect Union,” a priority of the NEH to explore how we can build a more inclusive and sustainable society as we approach the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Additional goals of the new DH center include digitizing and preserving archival material within the University’s Special Collections, facilitating student internships, enhancing FSU’s new interdisciplinary minor in digital humanities, and working with area business partners and cultural institutions.

“I’m envisioning this as the first very important step in establishing a longstanding center that will do a lot of great work with the humanities on campus and throughout the region,” says Brinkman.

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.