Read more about the projects funded in 2016 by the College of Liberal Arts and the Humanities Media Project’s Media Production Grant. This first grant cycle assisted UT-Austin’s liberal arts graduate students and faculty in their efforts to produce public-facing media projects related to their research and teaching in the humanities.
Amanda Gray, Graduate Student
Department of American Studies
Home is a documentary film by Amanda Gray, graduate student in American Studies, that follows the filmmaker’s grandmother (Nanny), great grandmother, and health care providers over the last two years of Nanny’s life, to explore the intersections of Alzheimer’s disease, caregiving, home health care, and the effects of health care policies. Home also explores aspects of caregiving routinely overlooked in health care policy discussions: the tremendous mental, physical, and emotional toll of caregiving. This film asks: What does it take to care for a loved one at the end of their life? What do people do when they lose vital services that were once a foundation of health care provided by federal and state governments?
The funds provided by HMP were used to pay for post-production costs, such as translation for English and Spanish subtitles, color correction, and sound re-recording.
Eric Detweiler, Graduate Student
Department of Writing and Rhetoric
In March 2015, Detweiler launched the podcast Rhetoricity in 2015, which combines music, humor, and curiosity with scholarly inquiry to present this humanities discipline in an engaging manner for a diverse audience. It features interviews with scholars of rhetoric and writing about issues such as contemporary political discourse, how language affects the ways we perceive the world around us, and the role of digital technology in everyday life.
Detweiler used the HMP grant money to fund travel to academic conferences in order to conduct interviews for the podcast, to purchase materials to prepare for future interviews, and to purchase audio-recording equipment to both record new episodes and improve the podcast’s overall quality. Additionally, he used the equipment purchased with grant money to stage a radio play written by the famous literary critic Walter Benjamin at the Rhetoric Society of America’s 2016 meeting. He has since submitted the audio recording of that production to the 2016 Rhetoric Society of America proceedings collection.
The interviews and presentations whose production was assisted by the grant will be released over the course of the 2016–2017 academic year.
Detweiler is now an assistant professor at Middle Tennessee State University.
Rachel Winston, Black Diaspora Archivist
LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections
Daina Ramey Berry, Associate Professor
John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies
Mapping the Texas Slave Trade Routes
Winston and Berry’s project, Mapping the Texas Slave Trade Routes, is an interdisciplinary research effort that draws upon the work of UT faculty, staff, graduate, and undergraduate scholars across campus to address the previously under-researched subject of slave trading in Texas and other parts of the Americas. Over the duration of the grant period, their interdisciplinary team researched slavery and domestic slave trading in Texas between 1821–1865, including a critical review of census records and other primary documents such as maps, narratives, and newspapers on the topic. They then integrated research data with geo-mapping and data visualization technologies in consideration of potential ways to present our findings. Research efforts culminated in a trip to the southeastern coast of Texas, including visits to the cities of Matagorda, Wharton, Bay City, and Palacios where they visited museums and libraries as well as cemeteries and other sites of significance.
The information collected and analysis produced throughout the entire grant period was used to generate the content of the project website, Texas Domestic Slave Project. The site is designed to provide insight into slave life and slave trade routes in this region, and serves as an entrée for researchers interested in this field of scholarship. They also intend to use this site to reach a wider audience.
Grant funds were used to purchase research materials and technical supplies, employ graduate student researchers, and finance the research trip. With the support of the HMP, the research team was able to make significant progress in their efforts to map slave trade routes in southern Texas.
Randy Lewis, Professor
Department of American Studies
The End of Austin is an award-winning digital humanities project that explores urban identity in Austin, Texas with a substantial new issue every six months. It brings together different kinds of voices — academic, artistic, activist — to start a diverse conversation about life in the fastest growing city in the United States. Since 2011, Lewis, a professor in American Studies, and several graduate students have published more than 75 pieces of original scholarship, creative writing, memoir, photos essays, videos, visual art, and music, reaching a growing global audience interested in life in Austin in all its complexity.
Lewis used the award to compensate three graduate student editors, which changed the way the project functioned. Student editors were much more professional and much more focused which improved the quality of the website. The grant allowed Lewis and the editors to assemble the largest issue so far , including 20 articles from UT faculty and students, local citizens, and scholars and writers from all over. This issue has received 12,000 page views since its release in May, with readers mostly in the US, but also Brazil, Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, and other countries.
Joan Neuberger, Professor
Department of History
Behind the Tower: New Histories of the UT Tower Shooting
In Spring 2016, Neuberger taught a graduate seminar in history introducing students to the main practices of public history. In this course, students organized a multi-media online exhibit on the history and legacy of the UT Austin Tower Shooting of 1966.
The grant from the MHP funded instruction in digital methods for researching, recording, and writing public history as well as the production of a website making the students’ research and writing accessible to the public: Behind the Tower: New Histories of the UT Tower Shooting. The website was featured on NPR, Time Warner cable news, Slate’s The Vault, KXAN news, The Daily Dot, and more. The students also made an episode about their research for 15 Minute History, the podcast produced by the department of history. The website was also featured in a public forum hosted by the Institute for Historical Studies in October 2016.
Neuberger envisions this course and multi-media exhibit as the first of an annual series of courses on public history; each organized around a specific topic and producing a sustainable dynamic website exhibit of both historical and contemporary interest. The website and tour app (still in production) can be adapted to new projects and will form the basis of the next iteration of the course.