Digital American Studies Initiative


Archival Gossip: A Scholarly Take on Nineteenth-Century Tattletales

ArchivalGossip: A Scholarly Take on Nineteenth-Century Tattle Tales is the digital outlet of the American Studies research project “Economy and Epistemology of Gossip in Nineteenth-Century US American Culture” (2019-2022, University of Bayreuth, project director Dr. Katrin Horn, research assistant Selina Foltinek). Users (both scholars and the interested public) can navigate to the project’s blog, a sources page, annotation and user guidelines, and—biggest element—a digital database of selected objects of study collected from various archives. The database presents letters, diaries, articles cartoons, photographs and paintings, auto/biographies together with transcriptions and annotations, and highlights connections among various items. The aim is to make accessible women’s (life) writing), and to showcase the importance of gossip in understanding the growing public presence of women in various professions over the course of the nineteenth century as well as the relevance of gossip as a source for historical research on relationships and networks. ( for direct access to the database)

Hybrid Narrativity: Digital and Cognitive Approaches to Graphic Narrative

Early-Career Research Group, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and directed by Dr. Alexander Dunst (Paderborn) and Jochen Laubrock (Potsdam). Combining methods drawn from the cognitive sciences and digital humanities with narratology and literary history, our research group aims at a richer and empirically robust understanding of graphic literature and, in particular, the genre of the graphic novel. The group brings together scholars from psychology, computer science, as well as literary and cultural studies to contribute to the establishment of empirical methods in the humanities.

Memorial Mapping: Transnational 9/11 Memorials

This pilot project focuses on the numerous 9/11 memorials built outside of the United States. The global circulation of 9/11 memorials is unusual, as permanent commemorations of the tragedies of particular nations are typically confined to those nations. "Memorial Mapping: Transnational 9/11 Memorials" provides an interactive map and geographic database of these memorials’ locations, styles, subjects, dedication histories, and audiences. It is intended as an online digital archive available to all that coordinates data and considers the cultural and political determinants motivating such memorials.

Oceanic Exchanges: Tracing Global Information Networks In Historical Newspaper Repositories, 1840-1914

Through computational analysis, "Oceanic Exchanges" (OcEx) crosses the boundaries that separate digitized newspaper corpora to illustrate the global connectedness of 19th century newspapers. OcEx uncovers how the international was refracted through the local as news, advice, vignettes, popular science, poetry, fiction, and more. By linking research across large-scale digital newspaper collections, OcEx offers a model for data custodians that host large-scale humanities data.

SHRIMP: Social Hypertext Reader & Interactive Mapping Platform

The SHRIMP project explores the didactic possibilities of Social Hypertext. It offers a chopped-up version of a regular seminar reader to students, who can use hundreds of hyperlinks to navigate between text segments and explore the seminar material on their own. The platform also offers integrated social media features such as comments, likes, and annotations, and it includes gamification elements, such as badges. Beginning in 2015, the platform has been used to experiment with this medium and its uses in the classroom.

Whitman Analytics

An ongoing effort at a distant reading of all major editions of Leaves of Grass for quantitative indicators of a ‘storage desire’ as expressed in Walt Whitman's notion of the “Poem of Materials.”