Humanities Digital Research Projects

Thanks to the Digital Research and Innovation pilot program jointly launched by Georgetown University Library and the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, two humanities faculty members recently completed research projects that develop new modes of inquiry, scholarship, and creative production enhanced by digital tools and methodologies.

Michelle Wang (Department of Art and Art History), The Digital Index of Dunhuang Art

The Digital Index of Dunhuang Art is a project that emerged from Prof. Wang’s research on Buddhist art from the medieval silk roads. It serves as a resource for the study of the Mogao Caves at Dunhuang, located in northwestern China’s Gansu Province, which are comprised of 492 man-made caves dating from the 4th to 14th centuries, richly painted with 45,000 square meters of Buddhist murals and installed with more than 2,000 clay icons. The Mogao Caves were inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987 and are an important repository for Buddhist culture and painting history, as well as cross-cultural contacts across Asia. Available in English and in traditional and simplified Chinese characters, the open access index allows users to track individual Buddhist motifs across the caves over the longue durée, and to cross-reference the coexistence of several motifs in the same cave shrines. Prof. Wang hopes that this resource will make the data more readily accessible, and easier to search and cross-reference, than is currently possible from print sources, thus contributing to new humanities research. This project was made possible thanks to the Digital Research and Innovation pilot program and the Undergraduate Student Stipends for Humanities Summer 2023 Research Assistantship, which supported the hiring of a student assistant, Xin Zheng (C’23).

Xin Zheng acknowledged an Undergraduate Student Stipends for Humanities Summer 2023 Research Assistantship from the Georgetown Humanities Initiative, which gave him the chance to contribute to Professor Wang’s digital index. “I learned a lot about the logistics behind such a project, but more importantly, working on the project allowed me to understand more about Dunhuang’s history and Buddhist cave paintings in general, and I look forward to visiting Dunhuang one day.” – Xin Zheng (C’23)

Nicoletta Pireddu (Global and Comparative Literature Program; Department of Italian Studies; Georgetown Humanities Initiative), Migrating Minds: Journal of Cultural Cosmopolitanism

Migrating Minds: Journal of Cultural Cosmopolitanism (ISSN 2993-1053) is an online, peer-reviewed, open-access scholarly journal devoted to interdisciplinary research on cultural cosmopolitanism from a comparative perspective. Created by Prof. Pireddu in collaboration with two scholars from Université Bordeaux Montaigne, it provides an international forum for innovative critical approaches to cosmopolitanism emerging from literatures, cultures, media, and the arts in dialogue with other areas of the humanities and social sciences, across temporal, spatial, and linguistic boundaries.

table of contents for Migrating Minds Vol. 1, Issue 1, Fall 2023

Migrating Minds: Journal of Cultural Cosmopolitanism seeks to offer a historically and logically-constructed global view of cultural cosmopolitanism as theory, practice, and methodology able to transcend mere utopian ideals and static representations of peoples, environments, and their symbolic productions. By placing creative expressions at the center of a wide range of contemporary and historical intercultural relationships, the journal explores forms of belonging and spaces of difference and dissidence that challenge both universalist and exclusionary paradigms.

Prof. Pireddu also hopes to involve interested humanities students in the journal’s management and production as an opportunity to familiarize themselves with different aspects of scholarly publishing,