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The mission of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center (IHRC) is to strengthen faculty research and creative activity while also enhancing its integration into the curriculum; support initiatives involving multidisciplinary research teams, both within the university as well as with external partners; and foster intellectual community and public engagement.

Grant Projects

The IHRC provides key support for the African American Public Humanities Initiative and oversight of the Paul R. Jones Initiative.

More Events
  • Teaching African American Material Culture with Digital Humanities

    The Teaching African American Material Culture with Digital Humanities project is a two-course series taught through a partnership with the English Department and the Special Collections and Museums. The project is designed to promote engagement with primary source research and the use of digital methods and technologies in the classroom. The project’s course offerings include a fall 2017 semester undergraduate course and a spring 2018 semester graduate-level seminar. Both courses center on the handling, description, and analysis of ephemera as texts, and each combines on-site collection research opportunities with skill development in digital scholarship.


    Digital Archive Production, an undergraduate research and writing course, is the first course in this series. Using contemporary database design methods and object-based learning as the pedagogical foundation for instruction, students were paired in groups and tasked with processing various pieces of ephemera from the Gregory C. Wilson Collection of African American Trade Cards and Postcards. This collection consists of racist ephemera from the Jim Crow Era contrasted by a smaller assemblage of cards that celebrate African American cultural heritage. During the course of the semester, students were acquainted with concepts of race and racial theories alongside their work in ephemera studies. Through readings, lectures, and research, they cultivated a comprehensive understanding of the history of racial stereotypes as exhibited in the performative tradition of American blackface minstrelsy and its offshoots. The students were then encouraged to connect this new understanding of racial caricature to larger trends in American literature, theatrical performance, and film. Furthermore, they were required to apply critical thinking skills to their analyses of the different ways in which racial caricature survives in new media and social media. In learning about material culture, students had the opportunity to acquire analytical tools for interpreting graphic design trends in accordance with theories of structural and post-structural semiotics. The course had an emphasis on connecting knowledge of print and graphic design history to theories on race and race relations. Specialized tours and course activities included a screening of various relevant early-to-mid-twentieth century film and television series, a street and business signage tour of Newark’s Main St., and a printing workshop at Lead Graffiti Letterpress Studio lead by Ray Nichols and Jill Cypher. For their final projects, each of the student groups provided material metadata and contextual essays for at least three cards in the collection. This content was ultimately added to a collaborative course database that was produced with Google Sites.


    The second course in this project, Scrapbooks as Literary Documents, is taking a critical look at the scrapbooks of poet, teacher, and activist, Alice Dunbar-Nelson (1875-1935). The focus of this seminar involves the reassessment of the value of the scrapbooking tradition, particularly with respect to its history in the African American community. Here we explore the multifaceted nature of Dunbar-Nelson’s identity through the multimodalities of the scrapbook format. Students are pulling from their close readings of Dunbar-Nelson’s fiction and journalism, as they combine archival research and documentary materials from our course activities to achieve the specific course outcomes. Activities developed in coordination with the Winterthur Library and the Delaware Historical Society have allowed students to work directly with a wide array of nineteenth and twentieth century scrapbooks during scheduled site visits and tours. Our work with this format, however, does not stop at the level of investigation. In an attempt to think past conventional models for literary research, this course integrates scrapbooking practice in its writing assignments.


    In keeping with established methods in compositional development, the students in this course are responsible for producing an academic book review, a descriptive essay on a scrapbook of their choice, and a framework essay that advances scholarship on the life and works of Alice Dunbar-Nelson as an important historical figure. Yet the distinguishing factor here is that the students are producing Adobe Spark-based digital scrapbooks for their final projects. Each of the digital scrapbooks will tell a visually oriented account of the individual arguments first put forward in the framework essays. The materials produced and acquired for these digitally meditated scrapbook pages are embedded with additional layers of digital content. Using augmented reality technology (AR), then, we will reformat all of this content in printed AR clippings that we will use in paper-based scrapbook pages. Later, we will compile these individual scrapbook pages in a collaborative course scrapbook that will be exhibited in the University of Delaware Library at the end of the semester. Guest lecturers, facilitators, and reviewers, including librarians, historians, and scrapbook theorists and specialists, are participating in the course by supporting both the supplementary activities and the final projects.

  • Wilmington Archives Project

    ​Building on the series of digital scholarship workshops and initiatives sponsored by the IHRC and the Library in the past few years, this pilot explores the city of Wilmington as the theme that brings together various interests in digital pedagogy in the effort to study the multiple dimensions of urban space. This pilot broadly defines digital pedagogy as the assemblage of various emerging modes of storytelling for teaching and sharing. Designed for both novices and the experts in digital tools and platforms, this pilot explores the collaborative potential of digital pedagogy in order to develop publicly accessible projects created by the students and faculty in partnership with community-based organizations.

  • Cape ReSoundings: South African Collaborations and Interventions: An Interdisciplinary Artist Residency with a South African Focus

    An interdisciplinary artist residency program with a South African focus, Cape ReSoundings foregrounds artists as catalysts for dialogues centered on history, race, diversity, civic and communal justice, among other things, but above all, the capacity of the arts to creatively intervene in rehearsed positions and ways of seeing.

    Image credit: Garth Erasmus, Boog van die Testimonie (Arc of the Testimony), from Boog van die Testimonie series, 2003. Correction fluid and ink over lithographic multiples. © Garth Erasmus

  • Digital Pedagogy Lab 2018

    ​February 16 & 17, 2018.  Digital Pedagogy Lab Delaware is a practical professional development opportunity for graduate students, postdoctoral teaching fellows and early career faculty to teach and work with digital technology. Participants will practice hands on solutions for the common challenges teachers and learners face when working digitally. However, this will not be simply a 2 day tutorial. Instead, Digital Pedagogy Lab Delaware will ground itself in philosophical and theoretical discussions of digital technology, identity, and pedagogy while also offering University of Delaware participants opportunities to engage with Hybrid Pedagogy’s learning community through pre and post institute activities related to course design projects.

  • Arts and Science: Connections and Intersections

    “Art & Science: Connections and Intersections” is a series of symposia and curricular events dedicated to research that cuts across academic boundaries and has broad social implications. Following an initial symposium on the interpretation of images in the arts and sciences, the 2015 symposium focuses on lighting design and technology.

  • Watersheds and Foodsheds: An Interdisciplinary, Experiential, and Community-Based Environmental Humanities Project

    ​In collaboration with Nancy Bentley, who runs the nearby Fair Weather Farm, environmental humanities students will study the way Americans have come to grow, distribute and eat both industrial and local, organic food. This project will allow students to build, tend, and harvest their own organic garden plot at Fair Weather Farm – and, in the process, see for themselves (with their eyes and their hands) how local, organic food production works.

    You can follow our project on Facebook.

  • Developing Research and Research-based Teaching through Collaboration with the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals

    ​Building around the 2014 annual meeting of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, this project focuses upon enhancing disciplinary and interdisciplinary work by UD graduate students. It makes use of print and other materials in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection and at the Delaware Art Museum to promote scholarship and research-focused undergraduate teaching in the area of the Victorian press.

  • Renewing the Museums Working Group

    In January 2013, the exhibition of the University of Delaware art collection in the Old College Gallery will be de-installed, to make room for two large temporary exhibitions: Gertrude Käsebier: The Complexity of Light and Shade (spring, 2013) and Goya's War: Los Desastres de la Guerra(fall, 2013). Selections from the UD collection will be reinstalled in January 2014.

    The goal of the Renewing the Museums Working Group is to design a new installation of the collection in Old College Gallery that best serves the interests of students, faculty and the curriculum. The installation will draw from the UD Art Collections, which encompass art that came to the University Museums through the Old College Gallery (formerly, the University Gallery), the gift of Paul R. Jones, and the President's Office (transferred from Archives in 2007) and through gifts from individual donors. Particular strengths are in American and African American 20th century art, but the collection also encompasses Russian icons, Greek and Roman antiquities, Pre-Columbian artifacts, African Art, southwest pottery and a significant photographic collection, as well as prints and drawings.

  • The Art of Liberation

    The Departments of Art and Black American Studies offered a Spring 2011 cross-listed course called "The Art of Liberation," which included mostly art students and a diverse group of students from departments throughout the university. The guests engaged students in dialogue about how arts and humanities practitioners can mobilize communities and effect positive change. From a humanities point of view, the guests addressed the social conditions surrounding their work and put it in historical context compared to other kinds of liberation activities. The visiting artists were Emory Douglas, Artist and former Minister of Culture of the Black Panther Party and Favianna Rodriguez, both Bay Area activist artists. The Paul R. Jones lecture, by sculptor Melvin Edwards and his wife, performance artist and poet Jayne Cortez, became part of the Art of Liberation lecture series at the suggestion of Julie McGee, Curator of African American Art for University Museums. An exhibition celebrating the 10-year announcement of the Paul R. Jones gift of African American art to UD included works that speak directly to the "Art of Liberation" theme, addressing the interrelationship of visual arts and personal, political and social advocacy. Students from Christiana High School and Latin American Studies at UD attended a class session with Favianna Rodriguez. Emory Douglas lectured in a BAMS class. The visiting artists interacted with students in more informal situations—Favianna Rodriguez did a print demonstration and Emory Douglas attended a gallery opening for the "Art of Liberation" exhibition in Recitation Hall, which featured his recent posters.

  • Environmental Humanities Working Group

    Why do we have environmental problems? What shapes our ideas about nature, and about the human place in the natural world? The Environmental Humanities Working Group is bringing together the insights of history, literature, journalism, philosophy, aesthetics, and other disciplines to analyze and understand the environmental predicaments of the 21st century. Although we look to the sciences and the social sciences for their own expertise, we take for granted that neither are sufficient to understand the complex ways people relate to the non-human world.

    The Environmental Humanities Working Group has three principal missions.

    1. We have designed a new minor to help students use the tools of the humanities to think more rigorously and imaginatively about environmental issues. Information on the humanities minor can be found on the English Department website.
    2. We are creating opportunities for scholars in different fields to collaborate on environmental research.
    3. And we are planning public programs about environmental questions, including community readings and discussions of important books and ideas.
  • The Art and Literature of the American Revolution in Global Contexts

    Our IHRC project took the form of a fall 2010 Integrated Semester composed of two graduate seminars in Art History and English. Thirteen students from English, Art History, and the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture met twice weekly for an interdisciplinary study of the ways in which art and literature shaped political thought and action in the Atlantic world during the American Revolutionary period, from the taxation crises of the 1760s and 1770s through war with Great Britain and the French and Haitian Revolutions. The American Revolution challenged British North Americans to reassess many of their fundamental assumptions about their world, including the viability of their political institutions, the nature of social relations, and their cultural and aesthetic values. Students investigated such issues by focusing on the intersections of literature, the arts, and political culture. A major component of the Integrated Semester was the study of original texts and works of art at institutions rich in the material culture of the American Revolution. Students undertook field trips to the Library Company of Philadelphia, the University of Delaware's University Museums, and Winterthur Museum. Public talks also formed an important part of the course. Three esteemed scholars visited campus for public lectures and classroom workshops with students. The students also presented short public talks based upon their original research at an in-house symposium, "New Directions in Cultural Studies of the American Revolutionary Era."

  • Transnational Encounters: World-Renowned Authors at the University of Delaware

    We are inviting six internationally known authors over a four-semester period beginning in the fall 2011 semester. Each author will spend two days on campus. During this period she/he will present a public lecture, a reading, and interact with students, faculty, and others. The thematic and conceptual focus of the series is on transnationalism and diversity, and the authors will be selected on the basis of their contributions to this topic.

    One hallmark of an intellectually vibrant campus is the opportunity to hear and engage with leading scholars and artists of diverse national and international communities. Our high-profile authors series seeks to create a forum for such an engagement at UD, using the medium of world literature in order to discuss and reflect upon such issues as new forms of migration, the role of the nation state, identity politics, or gender and family structures. The series will bring significant attention to UD and highlight its commitment to all aspects of diversity. It will also engage large segments of the campus and broader community with current core intellectual issues related to transnationalism and diversity.

    There will be six events: One is scheduled for fall 2011 and one for spring 2012; two writers will be invited for fall 2012 and two for spring 2013. Information about the first event in the series, a talk by Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, can be found at the Common Reader web site.

  • Serious Games

    Video games and computer-generated animation are growing fields with tremendous potential for artists, designers, and computer scientists. The development of new media blurs the traditional boundaries between artist and scientist. To use software like Pixar's Renderman requires both programming skills and artistic skills to bring characters to life. The goal of this Integrated Semester project was to have 20-30 Computer Science majors and 10-20 Art majors co-enroll in two courses, CISC275 Software Engineering I, and ART 467, Senior Studio Design, and work together to design animated short videos about issues of sustainability in simulated environments with constrained resources. Funding from the grant brought four speakers from the serious game industry to campus: Susan Seggerman, co-founder and president of Games for Change, a non-profit organization focused on the use of video games for social change and a blogger for the Huffington Post; Natalie Jeremijenko, an artist and engineer whose work has been exhibited at museums and galleries such as the MASSMoCA, the Whitney, and the Cooper-Hewitt; Brian Winn, Co-Director of the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab at Michigan State University; and Len Annetta, Associate Professor of Science Education at North Carolina State University. Ten students in the course also had an opportunity to attend the Games 4 Change Festival in New York City with the faculty coordinators of this project.

  • Textiles in a Global World: An Interdisciplinary Conversation

    ​Few forms of human behavior are more pervasive than the production and use of textiles. They help navigate the course of empires, organize the work of men and women, inspire the world of fashion and design, shape social performances and spiritual rituals, encourage investments in science and technology, determine farm strategies, and knit together the politics of sweatshops and sustainability. Textiles are hidden in plain sight because they are so common. This symposium on October 1, 2010 considered the role that textiles have played in human culture, with an emphasis on the themes of art, history, science and sustainability. The goal was to foster interdisciplinary conversations and identify the ways in which people and their things intertwine, often with unintended consequences.

  • Political Communication and Engagement in the 21st Century

    ​Since the infancy of the Internet, scholars in Communication and Political Science have posited that the medium could mobilize and engage citizens. This project was driven by questions about how exactly new media technology affect individual attitudes toward politics as well as political behavior. We conducted a national online survey to answer two major research questions: To what extent do online emotional appeals by candidates lead people to engage with politics? And are citizens' motivations to engage in politics online driven by a desire to influence government (i.e., participate) as well as to communicate political ideas to others (i.e., communicate)? To answer the first question, we showed respondents screenshots from a fictional candidate's website where the candidate expressed either "angry", "hopeful", "anxious" or no emotions about the economy. Respondents then indicated how likely they were to participate on his behalf. We found that, contrary to concerns that using emotions in politics will agitate the least knowledgeable or engaged citizens and distort the democratic process, it is the most engaged and politically sophisticated voters whose decisions are swayed by these appeals. For the second question, we explored the ways in which these two behaviors—which we delineate as participation and discussion—are perceived by citizens in online versus offline contexts. We also examine how such perceptions can predict certain behaviors, such as "friending" a candidate on a social networking site and messaging with friends online about politics. It turns out that these behaviors are indeed perceived differently among American citizens, and that these perceptions can predict the likelihood of participating in online political forums.

  • Things in Common: Fostering Material Culture Pedagogies

    This project aims to develop and make widely available innovative strategies for interpreting and learning about material culture, with the goal of enhancing the visibility of our interdisciplinary material culture programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels and fostering interdisciplinary thinking and curriculum innovation.  We will host a national meeting of the Consortium for American Material Culture as well as a series of related activities on and off the UD campus, and develop a proposal for an NEH summer institute for K12 educators.

  • Electroacoustic Collaborations

    PG2 – Soundart Duo

    Coming together in the spirit of experimentation and cross-fertilization of art-forms, PG2 cultivates a new era of hybrid and mixed media interaction. The Duo includes hybrid/mixed-media visual artist and electric guitarist, Ashley Pigford, and clarinetist and electroacoustic performer, Marianne Gythfeldt.

    They improvise using “found” objects as the primary inspiration for live performances. Their creations use unusual sound-sources such as the mechanical clicks and spasms of an old record-player or printer to build shows of original audiovisual pieces. The funding from the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center produced the following works:

    Escher Geometrics – Pigford-Gythfeldt , PG2

    Escher Geometrics is an interactive audiovisual piece using Max/msp. Sound and image are synchronized in an hypnotic slow-moving pace, that creates the illusion of cohesion. However, while the sound ebbs and flows in ascending and descending patterns, the images unfold in a linear fashion, while tracking the depth of sound of the clarinet pitch.

    Six Point Three – Pigford-Gythfeldt , PG2

    A computer-controlled electric typewriter creates the rhythmic foundation for an original musical composition involving bass guitar, MIDI wind machine and acoustic clarinets. The text used is an excerpt from Milton Babbitt’s book, Words about Music, and clarinet excerpts from Milton Babbitt’s epic clarinet solo My Ends are My Beginnings.

  • Hemispheric Dialogues: Interrogating Social Justice in the Americas

    The Hemispheric Dialogues Research Cluster is a collaborative, cross-disciplinary research initiative that brought together six Latina scholars from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Public Policy with a common interest in research that interrogates social justice in the Americas. They have created an intellectual and social community to support their individual research projects and to share theories, methods and practical strategies for archival and field research in Latin American and Latin@ topics. They meet regularly in research incubation sessions, reading each other's work, offering each other feedback through intensive and lively discussions and coming to know each other not only as scholars but also as whole and integrated people.

    During the year 2010-2011, the research cluster focused its energies on one collaborative project carried out in two stages: a symposium in the fall, and the preparation of a publication during the spring. Multidisciplinary and hemispheric in scope, the aim of the publication is to build upon emerging studies and publications critically addressing definitions and redefinitions of the fields of Latin American and Latina/o Studies. Individual essays reflect on the theories and methods that have shaped specific disciplines (Anthropology, Art History, Education, English, Spanish Literature, and Women Studies) and their bearings into interrogations of social justice in the Americas. The overall book seeks a bidirectional engagement: it builds from personal experiences to explore larger methodological frameworks, while examining the relevance of theoretical and critical tools in our own research and pedagogical practices.

  • Live Cinema Live

    Live Cinema Live, In the Round: Contemporary Art from the East Mediterranean marked the first ever collaboration between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the University of Delaware. This took the form of a series of events in the fall of 2011, including: Visiting artist Christodoulos Panayiotou (Cyprus,France) on the Newark campus for a public lecture and studio visits with MFA students (supplementary support for Panayiotouʼs visit received from the Institute for Global Studies); UD students and faculty attend both the exhibition opening of "Live Cinema/In the Round: Contemporary Art from the East Mediterranean" at the PMA, as well as Incidence, a sound performance by artist Hassan Khan at the Slought Foundation; Live Cinema Live, an afternoon of dialogue and conversations at Trabant Theater, University of Delaware, featuring Nora Alter(Professor, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA), Hassan Khan (artist, Cairo, Egypt), René Marquez (Associate Professor, University of Delaware), NovemberPaynter (curator, Istanbul, Turkey), Brian Kuan Wood (artist and writer, e-fluxjournal, New York, NY), and Adelina Vlas (curator, Philadelphia Museum of Art,Philadelphia, PA); ʻRe[a]l Cinema: Contemporary Translations of the Body,ʼ an exhibition in the Art Departmentʼs Recitation Gallery of work by Keren Cytter and Doron Golan, two Israeli video artists. Exhibition curated by art history graduate student Barbara Kutis in response to the exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and publication of THIS IS A MEETING PLACE, a 12-page magazine featuring writing and artwork by artists Inci Eviner, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Hassan Khan, and Brian Kuan Wood; as well as by UD undergraduate art student Aaron Hoffer and UD graduate art history students Barbara Kutis and Ted Triandos.

  • Broadening UD's Disabilities Studies Minor: Building Sustainable and Cross-College Engagement

    DIST is the largest minor at UD. This project will expand the minor's current focus to include courses on humanistic disability studies and to build connections with faculty across campus. Two leading disability studies scholars will visit campus in Fall 2015 to consult and deliver public lectures.


    The image above shows a close up of part of a colorful quilt, dominated by a red hand shape stitched onto colorful background fabric using light purple/blue thread. The same thread was also used to stitch the words "nothing about us without us" onto the palm of the hand.  Image credit: Amy Selders.

  • DigiPed Lab Delaware 2016

    ​May 6 & 7, 2016.  Digital Pedagogy Lab Delaware is a practical professional development opportunity for graduate students, postdoctoral teaching fellows and early career humanities faculty to teach and work with digital technology. Participants will practice hands on solutions for the common challenges teachers and learners face when working digitally. However, this will not be simply a two-day tutorial. Instead, Digital Pedagogy Lab Delaware will ground itself in philosophical and theoretical discussions of digital technology, identity, and pedagogy while also offering University of Delaware participants opportunities to engage with Hybrid Pedagogy's learning community through pre and post institute activities related to course design projects.

  • "Same Story"--Different Countries

    This project will provide an artistic venue for researchers, artists, and participants to illuminate South African and United States historical and contemporary racial issues. As a truly multidisciplinary/transdisciplinary research project, it will engage historical and literary research, poetry, original music and choreographed performance pieces that incorporate projections of visual art.

    Painting by Garth Erasmus

  • The Ancestral Lands of the Ese’eja- The True People

    This multidisciplinary project centers on the Ese'eja Nation, an indigenous hunter gatherer people located in the Amazonian region of Peru. The objectives include documenting the Ese'eja lifestyle, creating a community plan, and programming education for Ese'eja schools, surrounding communities, and internationally through the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research.

  • The Colored Conventions Project

    In the decades preceding the Civil War, free and fugitive Blacks gathered in state and national conventions to advocate for justice as Black rights were constricting across the country. recovers and shares information about delegates and associated women whose civic engagement, political organizing and publications have long been forgotten.

    We are delighted to announce the website for our upcoming symposium,"Colored Conventions in the Nineteenth Century and the Digital Age"on April 24-25, 2015, hosted by the University of Delaware and the Delaware Historical Society.

  • Common Threads: History of Fashion through a Woman's Eyes

    The exhibition Common Threads: History of Fashion through a Woman's Eyes will chronicle 20th century women's fashion and explore the meaning of fashion and art in social and historical contexts. The exhibition, to be held in the West Gallery of Old College in spring 2013, will link material culture research through garments for students, scholars and the public. The exhibition will feature highlights from the treasures housed in the Historic Costume and Textiles Collection within the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies. This interdisciplinary research project combines the expertise of faculty, staff and students from Fashion and Apparel Studies, Art Conservation, Art History, University Museums and Women's Studies.

  • Playwright in Residence, 2010-2011: Theresa Rebeck O, Beautiful

    The intention of this project was to commission a prominent American playwright to create a new play for UD's professional theatre company, the Resident Ensemble Players (REP) and, while doing so, to be a guest instructor in a variety of English Department courses in fiction writing and drama. An additional aspect of this commission was for the author to deliver a public lecture on a topic of her or his choice.

    A commission was offered to Theresa Rebeck, Broadway and off-Broadway playwright (winner of the PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award for an American Playwright in Mid-Career) and successful author/producer for television (L.A. Law, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, NYPD Blue, NBC's new series Smash), as well as critically acclaimed novelist.

    Ms. Rebeck delivered a public lecture for the Freshman Experience, participated in seven English Department courses (including a special meeting of English students and faculty), and three large Theatre Department lecture courses. In these courses Ms. Rebeck interacted with a total of approximately 958 students.

    The play she created for REP, titled, O Beautiful was the subject of a cover story in the New York Times arts section on April 14, 2011.

    The production was designed by a team of top professionals and directed by REP Producing Artistic Director, Sanford Robbins.

    Subsequently, O Beautiful has been produced at Connecticut Repertory Theatre in fall 2012. O Beautiful will open the season at the Alley Theatre in August of 2013.

  • EARTH PERFECT? Nature, Utopia, and the Garden

    EARTH PERFECT? Nature, Utopia, and the Garden" is a project in three phases spanning 2011-2014 and involving two essay collections and an international symposium.  In the edited collection, Earth Perfect? Nature, Utopia, and the Garden  (Black Dog Publishing, 2012), questions such as: "What is the role of the garden in defining humanity's ideal relationship with nature?" and "How should we garden in the face of catastrophic ecological decline?" were addressed through wide-ranging case studies–including ancient Roman gardens in Pompeii, Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights, the gardens of Versailles, organic farming in New England–by senior scholars in architecture, art history and classics to geography, horticulture, landscape architecture, law, literature, philosophy, urban planning, and the natural sciences.  A four-day symposium showcasing the garden as an emblem of the ideal human relation with nature and designed for an academic audience, garden professionals, and a general public interested in the importance and meaning of gardens followed the publication of the first edited collection, and spawned a second edited collection, The Good Gardener? (Forthcoming, Fall 2014, Black Dog Publishing). 

  • The African Americas

    An interdisciplinary program on the African Diaspora in the Americas.

    The African Americas project seeks to convey the magnitude, diversity, and impact of the African Diaspora in the Americas. In particular, the program will explore the deep and lasting connections between Latin America, the Caribbean, and black artists, intellectuals, and institutions in the United States. The program is deeply interdisciplinary, bringing together artists, musicians, and humanities scholars in music, art, art history, literature, anthropology, and history.

    The program is accompanied by two semester-long undergraduate seminars, "Sugar, Salsa and Santería," taught by Persephone Braham in Foreign Languages/Latin American & Iberian Studies, and "Representations of Slavery in the Americas," taught by Pier Gabrielle Foreman. The symposium is held in conjunction with an exhibition by Jamaican-American artist Keith Morrison, "The Middle Passage" on view from September-December 2011 in Mechanical Hall, the home of the Paul R. Jones Collection of African American Art. The symposium also coincides with: Latino Heritage Month; the 40th anniversary of the Black American Studies program, newly designated a department; and the 35th anniversary of the Center for Black Culture.

    The African Americas Project is sponsored by the Delaware Humanities Forum, the Paul R. Jones Initiative, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center, Latin American & Iberian Studies, Area Studies, the College of Arts & Sciences, the Departments of Anthropology, Art History, Art, Black American Studies, Foreign Languages & Literatures, History, Music, and Women's Studies, and the Institute for Global Studies.

  • Dave the Potter's Couplet Pots: Dancing History and Dred Scott

    An interarts research collaboration that engages archival historical and literary research and creative work in poetry, art, music and dance to explore nineteenth-century African American history through a focus on "Dave the Potter's" pottery.

  • Mediamorphosis: Print Culture and Transatlantic Public Sphere(s), 1880-1940

    This symposium provided a forum for literary scholars, historians, media historians and art historians to share works–in–progress on the transformations of print media and transatlantic public spheres at the turn of the 20th century. Presentations focused on: advancing understanding of print culture's role in the period's movements for racial, class, and gender equality; identifying and theorizing the relationship between print culture, empire, and cross-cultural (transatlantic, transnational) writing, reading, and publishing; bringing the theories and methods of material culture studies to bear on the analysis of print artifacts as "objects" or "things"; grasping the increasing textual hybridity of the period's print artifacts, by examining such phenomena as the interactions between illustration and text and the complex collage effects created by advances and experiments in typography and image reproduction; and analyzing and theorizing the relationship between transformations in print culture and evolving notions of authorship, especially as related to the professionalization of academic disciplines such as English. A special issue of Modernism/modernity on this topic will be published in September 2012 in conjunction with a special issue of The Journal of Modern Periodical Studies.

    Hosted by the IHRC, this symposium was also supported by: the Center for Material Culture Studies, the Departments of Black American Studies, English, and Women's Studies, the University of Delaware Library, the Institute for Global Studies, the University Faculty Senate Committee on Cultural Activities and Public Events (CAPE), and the Delaware Humanities Forum.

    Visit the webpage!

  • iMusic 8 Campus Chatter: A Campus Climate Diversity Project

    Music by Xiang Gao, lyrics by Joyce Hill Stoner, and book by Larry Raiken, this interdisciplinary original musical theatre production brings to life current-day campus adventures and encounters; some are amusing, and some are edgy. Songs and sketches are based on interviews carried out with UD students from various backgrounds (especially racially diverse and international students). For more information, visit the Campus Chatter website at

  • Encounters: iMusic5--Theatrical Multimedia Productions and Symposia Celebrating the Humanities

    The University of Delaware Master Players Concert Series (MPCS) is creating new traditions in the spring of 2012, to culminate with a multi-disciplinary production: "Encounters – Qing and West," April 20 & 21, 2012, at 8 pm in Mitchell Hall.

    "Encounters – Qing and West" celebrates the humanities and their diversity through the intersection of theater, literature, history, preservation, music and technology. This production will transport the audience to the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912), the final golden period of imperial China. Through visual presentations, drama, lectures and live music, the audience will experience the impact of the encounters between cultures, as artistically interpreted by experts in multiple disciplines worldwide. A symposium series — April 13, 19, and 20–in advance of the concerts will engage a broader audience in this celebration of the humanities. (See IHRC "Calendar" for more information.)

  • Encountering 'Others' in the Atlantic World: Perspectives from the Material World

    This project organized an international conference celebrating the 375th anniversary of the founding of New Sweden, which was held November 8-10, 2013.

  • Game Studies Research Group

    In recent years, video games have begun to outpace the film, music, and publishing industries in terms of profits and cultural impact. The Games Studies Research Group considers how people in different disciplines approach games as a subject of study, with faculty learning as much from each other as from the literature in this emerging trans-disciplinary field.

  • Uncovering an Invisible Demographic: Faculty, Disclosure, and Disability in Higher Education

    Although the experiences of disabled students are relatively well-documented, at least in part because they are tracked by disability services offices through accommodation requests, disabled faculty constitute a nearly invisible demographic in higher education.

    Disability Disclosure in/and Higher Education A national conference to be held at The University of Delaware, Newark, DE October 25-27, 2013. Visit the web site for more information.

  • The Beauty Shop Project

    Our group researches how vernacular communal spaces like black beauty shops can be locations of collective creativity and imagination directed toward improving quality of life. Long-term goals include promoting better health and practical life skills, proactive citizenship, and subsequently, stronger communities using creative social practice methods.

  • Healing our Forests, Healing Ourselves

    This collaborative project between students in Environmental Humanities and Urban Forestry will train STEM and Humanities students in a variety of courses, including Introduction to Environmental Literature (ENG230); Environmental Journalism (ENGL409); and Urban Forestry (PLSC 367), to become fully-engaged, cross-disciplinary Watershed Citizens, especially through encounters with environmental and indigenous literature; the field exploration of local watersheds; the cataloguing of native and invasive plants in the forests of White Clay Creek State Park; and forest restoration work through the removal of invasive plants and the planting of native trees in our local forests and communities. Attendant to all of these projects will be the joint, interdisciplinary composition of narrative and digital documentary projects to disseminate urgent ecological information to the university community and the general public.


  • Shanghai Sonatas

    In the late 1930s, over 23,000 German and Austrian Jews fled from the Nazi regime to the only city in the world that didn’t require a visa — Shanghai, China. Among these largely middle and upper-class refugees were about 450 professional musicians, who utilized their art to give voice to the fears, anxieties, struggles and hopes borne of their experience as guests in a completely foreign culture.

    Nearly eighty years later, the world-renowned musician and UD Trustees Distinguished Professor of Music, Xiang Gao, is creating with his team of world-class artists The Shanghai Sonatas, a new musical based on the memoirs of the Jewish refugees who lived through this unique historical reality.

  • Graphic Medicine

    We are developing a series of Workshops in Graphic Medicine for students, faculty, and healthcare professionals.  These Workshops provide the opportunity to engage with this exciting approach to exploring perspectives and giving voice to health-related experiences and challenging topics in healthcare.

  • This project is designed to promote experiential learning and community engagement through an ongoing collaboration between an advanced undergraduate seminar in the sociology of art, the Wilmington Archive Project (WAP), and Creative Vision Factory (CVF), a community arts organization located in Wilmington, Delaware. Students contribute to the living history of a community arts organization through research projects that center on cataloguing works and writing artist biographical profiles for the CVF digital archive, founded in the fall of 2018. With additional support from the Division for Professional and Continuing Studies, artists from CVF participate in the course as registered students.  

  • Into the Archives

    ​“Into the Archives” is a pair of courses that introduce students to archival practice and theorythrough immersion in African American collections at the University of Delaware and beyond.The undergraduate course, “Into the Archives: The Ephemeral Langston Hughes” beginswith one literary figure—the poet, playwright, and activist Langston Hughes—to ask studentswhat it means not only to archive, but also to think, write, and act archivally.  The companion graduate seminar in theory and methods, “Archives Theory,” will take up a related set of questions about the construction of the archive, giving students a toolkit of theory,keywords, and practices to support their independent work in the field of public humanities.

  • Crafting Healthcare

    ​This project is to design and offer an undergraduate elective course for UD juniors and seniors in any major field of study, HLTH467/ENGL409/WOMS467 Crafting Healthcare. Students will be invited to explore caring and being cared for at the margins through the intersection of crafting and healthcare. Informed by work in the humanities, students will participate in experiential and service learning about illnesses, social disparities, and healthcare practices that occur primarily outside hospital settings.

  • Spanish, Healthcare, & Community

    ​This project highlights themes of central concern to students enrolled in the Spanish for Healthcare minor: the intersections of language, health, and healthcare. The project aims to strengthen ties between UD and Spanish-speaking communities in DE by connecting students to those communities in health, wellbeing, and healthcare contexts. 

  • Encountering the Disabled Gaze

    ​The "disabled gaze" is an autonomous claiming of identity, the opposite of freakery or the "medical gaze," that serves as a guard against ableism and oppression. For disabled people, the power of this gaze allows them to assert their lived experiences to reduce stigma. Students in "Disability and the American Experience" (HIST 268) will analyze how the disabled gaze is prevalent in technology and share their work at the Center for Material Culture Studies' Third Biennial Conference, "The Disability Gaze."

  • Creative Vision Factory

    ​This project promotes experiential learning and community engagement through an ongoing collaboration between an advanced undergraduate seminar in the sociology of art, the Wilmington Archive Project (WAP), and Creative Vision Factory (CVF). Students enrolled in SOCI/MCST 449 contribute to the living history of a community arts organization through research projects that center on cataloguing works and writing artist profiles for the CVF digital archive, founded in the fall of 2018. The collaborative nature of the seminar forms a lens through which students engage with core paradigms in arts sociology that speak to the complex historical relationship between art and social inequality, and the potential role of the arts as a medium for social justice. 

  • The Ecology of Materials: Chita as a Tangible Means to an Intangible Heritage

    ​The textile chita is a great example of what anthropologist Daniel Miller (2005) calls "the humility of things" (2005:5), that is, the ability of certain objects to dissipate, to become invisible and unconspicuous. In this multidisciplinary study of chita, we propose to bring to life, to make visible and explicit, the crucial role of this humble textile in the history of Brazilian identities as an illustration of the possibilities of material culture studies. Using the example of chita, we will demonstrate that a multidisciplinary, collaborative, and speculative approach to study the "ecology of the materials" (Ingold 2012) can result in a deep and nuanced understanding of the power relations embedded in material culture. Our project imagines the "creative use of collections" (i.e. textile holdings of The Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, personal wardrobes, Goodwill resale, brick and mortar retail) as a springboard for cultural, critical and creative discussion. Students from three courses will work collectively this spring to (a) Trace and deconstruct the Brazilian textile Chita, primarily through visual, contextual, and comparative analysis;(b) Guide critical discussions about beliefs, values, assumptions, and culture formation through material culture analysis; and (c) Co-design a speculative exercise in culture building, developing a print/color campaign. Artifacts and narratives will be housed in a signature 3D Virtual repository. 

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