2023-2024 IATH Resident Fellow Announced

October 19, 2023

IATH is pleased to announce its newest Resident Fellow, Christian McMillen, Professor of History and a College Fellow in the UVA Engagements program. His project, American Indian Land Loss: Land Sales and the Loss of American Indian Property in the Twentieth Century, will create and analyze quantitative data sets to study the tragic and deeply fraught history of land ownership by U.S. tribal nations and individual American Indians.

Beginning in 1887, federal policy makers began to create and assign allotments that would turn Native peoples into private property owners, setting off a cascade of intended and unintended consequences and dramatically reducing tribal landing holdings. Prof. McMillen will work with IATH to find, digitize, and study historic, publicly available government data to map land loss, analyze patterns of land ownership and transfers, and to make this data available to researchers and the general public. U.S. government records about the creation, administrations, and history of the allotments are complex at best, but over time they have been damaged, lost, and scattered across state, federal, and legal repositories and databases, sometimes only in physical paper copies and sometimes in unwieldy and blurry digital scans.

Every year, IATH awards a two-year Resident Fellowship to UVA humanities faculty. IATH Fellows work closely with IATH staff to design and implement research projects that use digital tools and methodology to develop and publish their scholarship. Recent fellows have focused on poetic geography of Russian, urban cultural landscapes, the grammar and syntax of endangered languages, and prosopography in 19th and 20th century biographies of women.

IATH is a research unit established by the University of Virginia in 1992, now part of the University of Virginia Library. The team’s goal is to explore and develop information technology as a tool for scholarly humanities research. Their research projects and websites are the products of a unique collaboration between humanities and computer science research faculty, independent historians and researchers, computer professionals, student assistants and project managers, and library faculty and staff.