The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) awarded Northeastern Assistant Professor of English, and NULab core faculty member, Ryan Cordell one of seven ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships for 2015-16. Selected from a highly competitive field of applicants, awardees will dedicate a year to projects that further the digital transformation of humanistic research. The program is generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The fellowship will support Professor Cordell’s digital humanities project Global Viral Texts: Mapping the Circulation of Nineteenth-Century Newspaper Literature across Oceans and Languages. This project leverages sophisticated text mining tools to identify widely-reprinted texts, unknown a priori, from large-scale archives of historical newspapers and magazines. In early experiments these methods uncovered thousands of “viral texts” in antebellum American newspapers, most of which are unfamiliar to literary scholars or historians of the period.
During the fellowship period, the Viral Texts project will expand to explore transoceanic and translingual reprinting through the nineteenth century among periodicals in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and German-speaking countries. A global Viral Texts project will offer insight into how ideas in the nineteenth century crossed oceans and languages, and how these acts of transmission and translation shaped Americans’ understanding of their place in the world.
Professor Cordell is the second straight Northeastern faculty member to receive this fellowship. Professor of English Elizabeth Maddock Dillon received the award in 2014 to support her Early Caribbean Digital Archive and Network Visualization Project.