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K-State Today

January 13, 2022

Chapman Center, English department awarded NEH grant to support digital humanities at K-State

Submitted by Dustin Vann

NEH Grant Logo

The Chapman Center for Rural Studies, a center of excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences at Kansas State University, in partnership with the English department, has received a $20,000 Digital Infrastructure Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant was made possible through the generous support of Cheryl Mellenthin, wife of the center's late namesake and benefactor Mark Chapman. 

The grant allows the center to enhance its digital platform to "ensure greater sustainability, discoverability, and interoperability with digital humanities projects across the university and region," per the NEH project description.   

This NEH award follows from past successes. The Chapman Center has previously received NEH grants for two other projects. The first was the nationally recognized "Lost Towns" Project, which documented the histories of under-researched rural communities in Kansas. The second was the Making the Leap Project, which assisted rural historical societies and museums in Kansas with professional planning in collections, preservation, and programming. 

Mary Kohn, director of the Chapman Center and associate professor of English, described the grant as essential to preserving and growing the work of the center.

"By providing cutting edge digital humanities resources, this newest grant will support the center's efforts to facilitate faculty and student collaboration on digital exhibits showcasing research and stories central to Kansas and the Great Plains," Kohn said. 

This project contains two phases to be implemented over a two-year period starting in March 2022. In the first phase of the project, the Chapman Center will partner with New Boston Creative Group, Manhattan, which will design and implement the center's new digital platform. In the second phase, the grant will simultaneously refresh past online exhibits while creating platforms for new projects. 

Amit Chakrabarti, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, commended the center's newest achievement.

"The Chapman Center for Rural Studies has been a center of excellence under the College of Arts and Sciences since 2017," Chakrabarti said. "The center is doing excellent work in the preservation, strengthening, and research of rural Kansas communities. This NEH grant will support the digital advancement of the center's important mission, paving the way for exciting new research collaborations between students, faculty, and our communities."   

Kohn and Mark Crosby will serve as primary investigators of this project. Kohn's work examines regional and social variation in language with a focus on the Great Plains. Crosby is an associate professor of English and director of the Digital Humanities Center. He specializes in Romantic-period literature and visual culture, and the theories and practices of Digital Humanities.  

The Chapman Center for Rural Studies seeks to strengthen rural Kansas communities while advancing student learning. For more information, visit the Chapman Center's website.