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HASTAC Scholars

The Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities is pleased to announce that we will support student applications for the HASTAC Scholars Program for their 2020-2022 class.

The HASTAC Scholars Program gives undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to develop their Digital Humanities interests and showcase their DH research and projects to a broader audience. Students can use the two year period to learn more about DH, develop a specific digital project, hone their technical skills, or pursue a project that intersects with their area of research and Digital Humanities.

IDRH welcomes applications from students who want to develop their own DH research, take up a project suggested on the HASTAC Scholars page, or work on an IDRH related project at KU. Selected Scholars will be expected to meet milestones/criteria suggested by HASTAC, and offer a presentation or workshop on campus about their digital research. IDRH will offer selected Scholars a research fellowship of $300 per year and mentorship support. KU has supported 17 HASTAC Scholars since 2011, and we hope to build our community of students interested in digital scholarship.

There is a two-stage application process: First, apply for IDRH sponsorship by emailing the information required by the HASTAC Scholars application to by October 23, 2020. We use the same application required by HASTAC. Selected candidates will be informed by October 27 and, as a final step, must then submit their application to HASTAC by November 2, 2020.


2019-2021 Scholars

Jade Harrison (English)

  Jade Harrison is a first-year doctoral student in African American literature at the University of Kansas. Her research interests include utilizing data analytic methods to trace shifting representations of contemporary black women writers across African American literary history, and she creates innovative and interactive data visualizations to showcase her findings. Jade is currently a member of the Project on the History of Black Writing (HBW) and Project Manager for the Black Book Interactive Project (BBIP) at the University of Kansas. As a HASTAC Scholar, she plans to work on a project that will discuss the intersections of African American literary studies and the Digital Humanities. This project will expand on an earlier project, “The Core Four: An Examination of Contemporary Black Women’s Writing in The Norton which focuses on four contemporary women writers: Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Rita Dove, and Harryette Mullen. The project will highlight the importance of utilizing data analytic methods to uncover evolving trends in The Norton Anthology of African American Literature representation of its anthologized literary works written by contemporary women writers.

Margaret Godwin-Jones (Slavic Languages & Literatures)

  Margaret “Molly” Godwin-Jones is a PhD student in the Slavic Department at the University of Kansas studying second language acquisition (SLA). She lived and studied for four years in Pyatigorsk, in Russia’s northern Caucasus region, where she was a volunteer interpreter at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. As a HASTAC Scholar, she will explore various options for collaboration in terms of foreign languages and DH. Molly is particularly interested in the alt-ac field; as part of her alt-act direction, she has worked extensively on Digital Humanities (DH) projects, including ways to incorporate simple DH tools into the FL classroom. In addition, Molly has served as an assistant instructor for Fulbright’s ETA Orientation and currently teaches Russian at KU.

Rebekah Ayock (American Studies)


Rebekah Aycock is a PhD student in the Department of American Studies. Her research interests include LGBTQ+ American literature and the early intersections of the history of race and sexuality in the United States. Particularly interested in the potentials of digital pedagogy to encourage undergraduate research in the humanities and to foster a real sense of community within the neoliberal university setting, she presented on her students’ website project, “American Identities in Public Memorial,” at the 2019 KU Teaching Summit. As a HASTAC scholar, Rebekah will continue to incorporate digital projects into her course design and explore potential digital components to her research.

2018-20 Scholars

Christopher Peace (English)

Christopher Peace holds a B.A. in Writing from Mississippi College and a M.A. in Literature from Jackson State University, where he completed his thesis entitled, "Zora Neale Hurston's Conjure Memes: A Post-structuralist Analysis of Mules and Men and Tell My Horse." Some of his academic interests include African American folklore, African American rhetoric, African Diaspora spiritual systems, ecocomposition, environment studies, and Afrofuturism. He is currently a PhD student in rhetoric and composition at the University of Kansas. At HBW he is a member of the Black Book Interactive Project and Black Literary Suite teams. His project focuses on the digital preservation of African American folklore. As the first graduate intern for the 30th annual ZORA! Festival in Eatonville, Florida, Christopher became interested in how folklore holds cultural space and defines the parameters of place. He aims to write blogposts about Zora Neale Hurston’s work and to create a virtual map of the historic town of Eatonville, which would capture the interaction of space and place during the festival season.

Kristan Hanson (Kress Foundation Department of Art History)

Kristan M. Hanson, a PhD candidate in the Kress Foundation Department of Art History, specializes in nineteenth-century French art and visual culture. Her dissertation examines paintings of Parisian women who market, transport, cultivate, and display ornamental plants in different areas of Paris. The project illuminates how artists responded to the roles of female laborers, prostitutes, gardeners, and shoppers as the primary distributors of flora in an otherwise male-dominated supply chain. To construct an original framework for interpreting horticulture-themed paintings, Kristan uses mapping and geocoding to plot the locations artists portray on an 1870 map of Paris. As a HASTAC Scholar, Kristan will plot the addresses of flower markets and various urban green spaces to deepen understandings of Paris’s horticultural network. She will also author blog posts that explore how scholars use mapping and other kinds of data visualization to study art, gender, urbanism, and human interactions with the plant world.

Shane Lynch (Indigenous Studies)

Shane Lynch is a second-year graduate student in the Indigenous Studies Program from the Gila River Indian Community. Shane received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Indigenous, American Indian Studies with an emphasis in Environmental Justice from Haskell Indian Nations University. Shane’s project for the HASTC program is mapping the Pee Posh migration. The Pee Posh are a federally recognized tribe affiliated with Akimel O’odham, both compose the Gila River Indian Community. The Pee Posh are a group of Yuman tribes that migrated from an area south of Parker, AZ on the Colorado River to their present location southwest of Phoenix, AZ. The migration started in the late 1700s into the 1800s. Shane will be incorporating oral history, digital mapping, and digital art to create an interactive digital story illustrating the journey of the Pee Posh. This a decolonial look into mapping and history, while incorporating traditional values of the Pee Posh.


2017-19 Scholars

An Sasala (Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)

An Sasala (they/them) studies the mutual shaping and maintenance of technology and embodiment/embodied identities. Their work uses transgender/non-binary identities, perspectives, and theory to challenge scientific and anatomical authorities. Additionally, An's work explores technological agency and autonomy, artificial intelligence, and the integration of digital humanities into trans*feminist pedagogy. An's article "Panic! Humanity's Cis-Heteronormative Fear of the Transgender Android" appears in a forthcoming issue of Somatechnics. As a HASTAC Scholar, An will work on a multi-part project geared to merge Digital Humanities tools and approaches with feminist theory and practice. The first part of An’s project involves the integration of DH into their Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies courses through DH “flash projects,” lasting between one class period and one course week, and the design and implementation of pedagogical video games, which engage students with course texts and concepts in new ways. An also plans to create and facilitate a graduate student working group dedicate to DH pedagogies. Read An's final blog post as a HASTAC Scholar here.

Clarisse Barbier (French, Francophone, and Italian)

Clarisse Barbier is a PhD student in the French, Francophone, and Italian department. Passionate about language learning and pedagogy, she also earned a Graduate certificate of Second Language Studies from KU's Linguistics department. Her PhD dissertation will explore ludic narration in Francophone literature and video games, and during her HASTAC scholarship, she will write blog posts about the narration and morphology of Francophone literary works and video games to analyze their structures and how the format and storytelling are correlated. She also plans on organizing an event in the near future centered around the notion of game, storytelling and learning in the digital age. Read Clarisse's final blog post as a HASTAC Scholar here.


Mariah Crystal (Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)

Mariah Crystal is a Ph.D. student at the University of Kansas (KU) in the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is also completing a graduate certificate in KU’s Department of African and African-American Studies. Mariah’s HASTAC project focuses on women in the southern African country of Namibia. While somewhat overshadowed by South Africa, Namibia also had a system of apartheid. After a long conflict, Namibia finally gained independence in 1990. This project seeks to document and provide a forum for the women who fought during this movement. While women contributed in a multitude of ways, their stories have not been well documented. As a HASTAC Scholar, Mariah is creating a website featuring the stories of the Namibian freedom fighters as narrated in their own words. The project takes a gendered perspective and works to add women’s stories to the current historiography of Namibian history. Read Mariah's final blog post as a HASTAC Scholar here.


Douglas Rain Charger (Indigenous Studies)

My name is Douglas Rain Charger and I am a member of the Itazipcola band of the Lakota tribe. I was born and raised on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation and received my Bachelor's in American Indian Studies from Haskell Indian Nations University in Spring 2017. My work and research is based on issues that face Native Americans, particularly the issues of self-determination, language preservation and positive media representation. I practice my field by performing with my band, The Red and Blues, in which we perform music with Native American themes from a Native perspective. I attend the University of Kansas as a graduate student in the Indigenous Studies department. I am focusing on media that relates to Indigenous issues as well as media made by Indigenous peoples. Browse the website created by Rain as part of his HASTAC work.


2015-16 Scholars

Chad Uhl (Computer Science, Classical Antiquity)
As a current double major in Classical Antiquity and Computer Science, I am actively searching for ways in which to combine the two fields; the most obvious of them being Digital Humanities. Starting my first Latin class, I quickly became interested in how a computer might learn such an inflected language and how that process would differ from my own. This led me to a research project on exploring the ways computers can learn languages through translation. Google does a statistical analysis of pre-translated texts for most of its translation work, and as any language scholar will tell you, it is wrong more than half the time. I would theorize that this is due to the lack of importance placed on situational context, emotion, and nuance. I highly doubt that any of these are included in their translation algorithms. Aside from language processing however, data visualization is of key interest. I had the chance last spring to speak with Professor David Frederick from the University of Arkansas about his work with game design within Classical scholarship. He showed me his key program which allowed for the user to experience a specific home in Pompeii. Though the graphics may have been somewhat rudimentary in comparison to popular games like Assassin’s Creed, this tool could be used for real research and education. These are only examples of what I am interested in and will hopefully provide a window into my other interests.

Mike Van Esler (Film and Media Studies)
I am currently finishing up the primary research for my dissertation and will begin the actual writing in Fall 2015. My project is focused on the social practices and needs facilitated and met by private filesharing communities online; I employ Raymond Williams’ concepts of dominant, residual, and emergent to both cultural practices and technological use in attempting to answer my research questions. I am also currently finishing up a book chapter that looks at the rhetoric used by the film industry and government officials in response to the Sony hack and how these techniques are used to suture Hollywood into discussions of national security. Another major interest of mine is how (digital) piracy or unauthorized filesharing can facilitate the formation of (counter)publics, particularly in the developing world, a project I think I would like to pursue as a HASTAC Scholar. Along those lines, I believe my interests align with those of HASTAC due to the emphasis placed on the sharing of information, approaches, and culture, often through emergent technologies and modes of distribution.

2012-2013 Scholars

Isaac Bell (English)
Isaac Bell spent twelve years working in the field of online journalism, first as a web producers with the Lawrence Journal-World’s innovative news website and then as the Digital Executive Producer at KMBC Channel 9 in Kansas City. During his career, Isaac became fascinated with the processes of creating and distributing digital content, as well as the ways in which online audiences made use of this content. He returned to the University of Kansas to study digital rhetoric and online storytelling as a Master’s student in the Department of English. He is currently in his second year in the program.

Follow Isaac’s HASTAC blog

Aaron Taveras (Geography)
I’m a graduate student in the Geography Department at the University of Kansas, where I’m studying design cartography in general, and also how maps affect our perceptions of the environment and each other. These interests stem from my passion for art and design and the powerful impact it can have on influencing our ideas. This interest in map design roots back to a single moment when I realized that I enjoy making visual things. About three years ago I came across geography and cartography as an undergraduate, and not too long after I realized that cartography is far more than a science for depicting the world, it is also a form of art. One of my mentors once told me that people trust maps because they’re technical and authoritative, but unless the map is beautiful and tells a story, no one is likely to care. This has stuck with me, and I believe that good, beautiful, and convincing map design can illuminate aspects of our world that otherwise would remain neglected. Therefore, my wanting to work with HASTAC relates to my interest in collaborating with others in order help us better understand our environment (physical and cultural). Cartography and education are in no way solitary fields, and I would like to participate in understanding how mapping is being used, discussed, and taught within the humanities.

Follow Aaron’s HASTAC blog

2011-2012 Scholars

Avery Dame (American Studies)
I’m currently a Master’s Candidate in American Studies at the University of Kansas. My interests include queer representation in media, online communities, and comics studies. My thesis is a critical reading of how the five best-connected trans male vloggers manage being both public trans figures and private individuals. I also currently serve as assistant editor of the journal American Studies.

Follow Avery’s HASTAC blog

Natalie Pennington (Communication Studies)
I’m a doctoral student at the University of Kansas in the department of Communication Studies. My research is focused on interpersonal communication through social media sites. From how we manage our impressions online, to how we seek out social support from our networks, if its about how we communicate through Facebook, I’m interested!

Follow Natalies’s HASTAC blog

Kenton Rambsy (English)
Kenton Rambsy is a graduate student in Literature and Theory at the University of Kansas. His research interests include self-education and political thought in African American autobiographical and fiction narratives. He is the Project Digital Initiative Coordinator and Blog Editor for the Project on the History of Black Writing (HBW) at the University of Kansas (Lawrence).

Follow Kenton’s HASTAC blog

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Directory of DH Scholars

Looking for collaborators, expertise, or other scholars with related interests?

Please see our list of affiliated scholars at KU.

If you would like to be included in this list please complete our affiliated scholars form.

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