In a paper given at the 2013 conference of the Digital Islamic Humanities Project, Harvard professor Afsaneh Najmabadi outlines the disciplinary and theoretical considerations of establishing a multi-genre digital archive to document a historically underrepresented group in established archives: women of Iran’s Qajar dynasty (1796-1925). The Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran is a digital repository that, as of April 2013, provides access to 33,000 images, 43 private family collections, and ten institutional collections. Professor Najmabadi, Principal Investigator on this project, emphasizes the scholastic advantages of “pull[ing] together disparate archival threads” by gathering personal and family objects, photographs, and oral histories on a digital platform. “[This] has produced a fabric that is not simply the sum total of the separate threads. The resulting fabric generates connections that facilitate doing richer histories,” states Najmabadi.
Professor Najmabadi’s paper, “Making (Up) an Archive: What Could Writing History Look Like in a Digital Age?” is available in DASH.
A recent feature in The New York Times describes Harvard Professor of Psychology Matthew K. Nock as “one of the most original and influential suicide researchers in the world.”
In his article “Future Directions for the Study of Suicide and Self-Injury,” Prof. Nock calls for standard definitions of such terms as “suicide plan” and “suicide attempt;” use of technological advances to measure thoughts of self-harm; and a better understanding of risk factors, their relation to one another, and their correlation to actual instances of self-harm. “Whatever the specific directions we take,” Nock argues, “it is imperative that we act quickly, strongly, creatively, and comprehensively so that we can begin to decrease the tragic injury and loss of life due to suicide and self-injury.”
You can find a list of Prof. Nock’s works in DASH here.
In his article “Five Theses on the Future of Special Collections,” John Overholt argues that the stewards of special collections must embrace openness, unmediated access, and the changing profiles of users. “We are privileged to be working,” he states, “at the dawn of an era in which special collections will become the raw materials upon which the creative energies of the world can be exercised.”
Overholt is Curator of the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson and of Early Modern Books and Manuscripts.
Research shows that even “good people,” those who make an earnest effort to make unbiased judgments and act only on their best intentions, still bear unconscious prejudices against certain social groups. In their book Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald examine how membership in social groups can influence our deepest feelings about others based on such factors as age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality.
Five Harvard researchers have been awarded fellowships by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Sloan Research Fellowships recognize distinguished performance by early-career scientists and the researchers’ unique potential to make substantial contributions to their fields.
Three of the Harvard recipients have made works publicly available in DASH: Krzysztof Gajos, Assistant Professor of Computer Science; David T. Johnston, Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences; and Xi Yin, Assoicate Professor of Physics.
In 1848, railroad foreman Phineas Gage was packing explosive powder into a hole with an iron tamping rod. The powder ignited and the blast drove the rod–over three and a half feet in length–into the man’s cheek. It rammed through his brain and skull and then landed yards away. Miraculously, Gage survived.
However, according to the account of his physician, John Martyn Harlow, the man was no longer himself. Contrary to his previous character and demeanor, Gage appeared to Harlow to be “fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity.” He became “capricious and vacillating,” impertinent, and unwilling to take advice.
In their article, “Mapping Connectivity Damage in the Case of Phineas Gage,” Harvard Medical School Professor of Radiology Ron Kilkinis and his colleagues use modern neuroimaging techniques to take a fresh look at Gage’s case. Gage’s skull, along with the tamping iron responsible for his injury, can be found on display in the Warren Anatomical Museum of Harvard’s Countway Library of Medicine.
Ethiopians displaced by revolution and civil war have established active musical lives in each place where they have settled. The forced migration of large numbers of Ethiopians and the establishment of large, permanent communities in U.S. cities such as New York and Washington, D.C., have engendered a musical culture that includes traditional and ethnic styles, liturgical music, and diasporic pop.
In her article, “Music of the Ethiopian American Diaspora: A Preliminary Overview,” Prof. Kay Shelemay surveys the diverse music of Ethiopian American communities. Kay K. Shelemay is G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music, Professor of African and African American Studies, and Chair of the the Standing Committee on Ethnic Studies. You can find a complete list of Prof. Shelemay’s articles in DASH here.