DiSC Supports Research Fellows

DiSC | 2700 Fenwick Library | dsc.gmu.edu

Two Mason faculty members were awarded 2017-18 Fenwick Fellowships which tap into the knowledge, resources and expertise offered through the Mason Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Center (DiSC). Jennifer Ashley, assistant professor of global affairs, and Alok Yadav, associate professor of English, will partner with DiSC on their respective Fenwick Fellow research projects.

“This is a digital project, which is not the skillset I bring to the table,” Professor Yadav said. “It’s in collaboration with the digital scholarship unit housed at the library. So the chance to draw on their expertise, to think about software structure and what it would look like, makes this a realizable project as opposed to a fantasy. I have ideas, but I don’t have the know-how to make that happen.” (Cruise, News at Mason, October 16, 2017) Read more

Established in 2016, Mason Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Center (DiSC) partners with students, faculty, and staff by providing digital research support to facilitate digital research and teaching across the university in all disciplines.

DiSC is located in 2700 Fenwick Library, Fairfax Campus. For more information about DiSC, please visit the DiSC website or contact DiSC staff.

2017-18 Fenwick Fellows Announced!

Dean of Libraries and University Librarian John Zenelis announced that the Fenwick Fellow Selection Committee recommended two recipients to receive the award for 2017-2018. Beginning this academic year, up to two fellowships may be awarded, one for a project proposal that aligns with the libraries’ ever-increasing activities in the area of digital scholarship.

The Fenwick Fellows for academic year 2017-18 are Dr. Jennifer Ashley, Assistant Professor of Global Affairs, College of Humanities and Social Sciences; and Dr. Alok Yadav, Associate Professor of English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Professor Ashley’s research proposal, The Political Afterlife of Chile’s 1988 Plebiscite, is a retrospective analysis of the Chilean plebiscite and an exploration of the response of those who participated in the democracy campaigns to recent efforts by the post-transition generation to move the country towards the Chile promised in those campaigns. The research is part of a larger book project and accompanying digital humanities project. The book chapter (“Political Afterlife”) will form part of a monograph titled The Politics of Resolution: Television, Protest, and Democracy in Chile. The digital humanities project will focus on the plebiscite campaign, bringing together (for both display and analysis) oral histories, interviews with activists and political leaders, and video footage from the campaign.

With his project, Anthologies of African American Literature: An Online Bibliography, Professor Yadav envisions creating a fully searchable and comprehensive bibliographic database of African American Literature anthologies. Such anthologies have played a crucial role in the effort to claim and construct an African American literary tradition, serving as venues for critical discussion and scholarship on African American literature; yet despite recognition of their cultural significance, there is a dearth of adequate reference sources on these important vehicles for literary, cultural, and political movements. Professor Yadav’s project seeks to rectify this deficit.

Zenelis commented that both faculty members’ research projects “promise to make excellent and mutually beneficial use of the Libraries’ resources, especially, our newest program – the Digital Scholarship Center.”

Professors Ashley and Yadav will present the results of their work in spring 2019 at the annual Fenwick Fellow Lecture hosted by the University Libraries.

ABOUT THE FENWICK FELLOWSHIP: The Fenwick Fellowship is awarded annually to up to two Mason tenured, tenure-track, or multi-year appointment term faculty members to pursue a research project that uses and enhances the University Libraries’ resources while advancing knowledge in their fields. The winning proposals are recommended to the Dean of Libraries and University Librarian by a six-member selection committee including three instructional faculty members and three librarians, with one of the Associate University Librarians serving as administrative coordinator. The recipients are provided with a fully equipped and furnished research office in Fenwick Library and an award of $5,000 to support the recipient’s research project. The terms for this year’s Fellows begin on August 28, 2017 and will end on August 10, 2018.

Fenwick Fellow Lecture: Skirting the Issue

Join the University Libraries on Thursday, April 13 at 2 p.m. in the Fenwick Library Main Reading Room, for Dr. Kristina Olson‘s lecture, “Skirting the Issue: Clothing and Politics in 14th Century Italy,” where she will discuss her research findings from her 2015-2016 Fenwick fellowship.

Lecture Abstract: From the mid-13th to the end of the 14th century, an increase in mercantile activity in Florence and other cities in Italy witnessed the proliferation of new wealth among families that did not belong to the aristocracy. This economic development, together with other demographic shifts (such as those caused by the Black Death, ca.1350), caused many non-aristocratic families to climb in social and political power. One way in which they displayed their change in status was by means of their clothing and jewelry, thereby wearing their newfound gains on their persons. This drastic shift in social markers of status bred envy and confusion: families with long-standing claims to nobility appeared impoverished in comparison with these rising upstarts. Bitter feuding and acts of vengeance between the leading aristocratic and mercantile families ensued. In order to maintain social order, civic sumptuary legislation targeted various displays of luxury: excessive spending on clothing, jewelry, and rituals, such as funereal practices and exorbitant wedding dowries.

As clothing comprises a visual language signifying status, then, for many authors of the Italian Middle Ages clothing and luxury became an essential part of their poetic language, bound up with politics and civic identity. Dr. Olson’s book project, Sumptuous Literature: Clothing and Governance in Fourteenth-Century Italy, explores how authors interpret the relationship of wealth, politics and the body in terms that alternately target women (misogyny) or men (misandry) during this exceptional moment in economic and social history.

About the Fenwick Fellows: The Fenwick Fellowship is awarded annually to a Mason faculty member to pursue a research project that uses and enhances the University Libraries’ resources while advancing knowledge in the faculty member’s field. Applications for the 2017-2018 fellowship are currently being accepted; the deadline is May 5, 2017.

Fenwick Fellow Program Expands

University Libraries is now accepting applications for this year’s Fenwick Fellow competition. The Fellowship is awarded annually to a Mason faculty member to support a research project that uses and enhances the Libraries’ resources while advancing knowledge in his or her field.

Beginning this year, up to two Fellowships of $5,000 each may be awarded. Program guidelines have been expanded to include funding for an additional fellowship for a project proposal that specifically aligns with the Libraries’ activities in the area of digital scholarship.

Application deadline is Friday, May 5, 2017. The awardee(s) will be announced at the start of the Fall academic term. University Libraries sponsor a public lecture by each Fenwick Fellow in the Spring term following the completed fellowship.

Detailed prorgam guidelines and information are available on the library’s website (library.gmu.edu/about/fellow/apply). Questions? Please contact Debra Hogan, dhogan1 at gmu.edu