Digital Yoknapatawpha Team Receives NEH Education Grant

February 3, 2022

Dr. Christopher Rieger, a professor of English and director of the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University, has been awarded a $147,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to develop new educational methods incorporating resources developed by the Digital Yoknapatawpha Project (DY). The new project, called “Teaching and Learning William Faulkner in the Digital Age,” will work with high school, community college, and university instructors to create instructional modules for classroom use. Professor Rieger will collaborate in this project with Co-Director Dr. Johannes Burgers, Assistant Professor of English and Digital Humanities at Ashoka University in India; Professor Worthy Martin, Director of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) at the University of Virginia; and ten teachers selected nationwide.

The 30-month project focuses on helping instructors from high schools, community colleges and four-year universities across the country to create digital interactive learning modules using Digital Yoknapatawpha. The modules will be developed and piloted over the term of the grant and then made available for free to all teachers and students. “The aim of Teaching and Learning William Faulkner in the Digital Age is to make these materials more accessible to teachers and students through learning modules that cater to different educational institutions and contexts,” Dr. Rieger said. This is a logical expansion of the DY project, Prof. Martin noted. “Education has been a central concern of Digital Yoknapatawpha from the initial inception. This collaboration of the Center for Faulkner Studies with IATH and practicing teachers will be a major step in the accessibility of the extensive DY resources for effective education."

Digital Yoknapatawpha is a digital humanities research project that enables scholars, students and the public to explore the fictional world of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner through digital methods (interactive maps, visualizations, archival documents, historical photographs, and audio recordings) created by IATH Fellow Stephen Railton and an international team of scholars. The project began in 2011 with Prof. Railton’s idea that 21st century students and readers engaging with Faulkner’s famously dense and self-referential prose might be assisted through electronic media and visual representations of events, characters and locations in Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha. The project has since grown to include critical publications centered on digital engagement in Faulkner studies.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced on January 11, 2022, that it was awarding $24.7 million in grants for 208 humanities projects across the country. “These NEH grants will support educators and scholars in enriching our understanding of the past and enable cultural institutions from across the country to expand their offerings, resources, and public programming, both in person and online,” said NEH Acting Chair Adam Wolfson. The NEH is an independent federal agency created in 1965 in US. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. Grants by NEH are awarded for projects organized around a core topic or set of themes drawn from such areas of study in the humanities as history, philosophy, religion, literature, and composition and writing skills. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.