College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of English

Call for Applications - Introduction to Digital Humanities

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Introduction to Digital Humanities

Black Book Interactive Project Scholars Program III



Applications are invited for the Black Book Interactive Project (BBIP) Scholars Program III: Introduction to Digital Humanitiesan initiative from the History of Black Writing at the University of Kansas. A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities Collections and Reference Resources division will support this next phase of the Black Book Interactive Project (BBIP III). BBIP-SP III: Intro to DH is designed for higher education professionals and graduate students who have been actively teaching and working with black literature but who may have minimal experience with the digital humanities. The program will introduce and provide digital humanities training along with access to the History of Black Writing corpus.  

BBIP and the Scholars Program are the professional development component for the History of Black Writing (HBW), which houses the largest digital archive of African American fiction currently in existence. As the HBW corpus continues to grow, with thousands of inaccessible and little-known texts, we are increasing the discoverability and access to unknown and well-known texts for research and teaching. This inter-institutional collaboration has had standing partnerships with the Textual Optics Lab at the University of Chicago, the College Language Association, the HBCU Library Alliance, and University of Kansas Libraries. We are pleased to continue our partnership with the HathiTrust Research Center and welcome our new partners, Clark Atlanta University and the Detroit Public Library, where we will hold workshops for educators and media professionals.  Working collaboratively, we will make more African American literary resources available and prepare a new generation of scholars to become digital practitioners. 

Learn more about the Black Book Interactive Project here

BBIP Scholars Program III: Introduction to Digital Humanities

The BBIP Scholar Program’s first cohort was launched in early 2019 with 14 scholars and followed in 2020 with another 14 scholars in cohort II.  Both groups completed a series of webinars and individual and group research over the course of their respective years. 

This current Call for Applications is for the third cohort to begin work in 2022. Up to 14 scholars will be selected through a competitive application process and will:

  • participate in a series of live webinars with leading DH scholars and/or practitioners; 
  • have access to AFRO-Publishing Without Walls 2 Introduction to Digital Publishing Webinars;
  • have access to a library of BBIP recorded webinars; 
  • receive training in and access the HBW Digital Corpus via the Textual Optics Lab’s user platform Philologic; 
  • participate in and present their work at a virtual mini-conference with other current and past BBIP Scholars; 
  • have the option to attend an in-person workshop; 
  • define and move their own DH research project forward. 

Research projects will be an investigation into some aspect of African American literature utilizing the HBW Digital Corpus.

*** Please note that a more advanced and intensive version of this program: BBIP Scholars Program IV: Digital Publishing will launch a bit later in 2022 for more advanced DH scholars and practitioners and those with projects ready for or nearing the publication stage. That program will be 15-18 months in length, will be supported by a larger stipend, and participants will complete a digital publishing project during their tenure. If you have questions about to which program you should apply, please email project coordinator Meleah Perez at

Program Timeline Overview

Application deadline extended to February 4, 2022!  

Selected participants will be announced by February 11, 2022.

February 25, 2022 – Zoom Meeting: Introduction to BBIP, cohort and staff introductions, and review of program expectations

March 2022 – review BBIP webinar library; review AFRO-PWW 2 Introduction to Digital Publishing Webinar library 

March 18, 2022 – Webinar #1 TBD

April 2022 – review BBIP webinar library; review AFRO-PWW 2 Introduction to Digital Publishing Webinar library; work on projects

May 2022 – review BBIP webinar library; review AFRO-PWW 2 Introduction to Digital Publishing Webinar library; work on projects

June 2022 – work on projects

June 10, 2022 – Webinar #2 TBD

July 2022 – work on projects

July 15, 2022 – Webinar #3 TBD

August 2022 – work on projects

September 2022 – submit abstracts for BBIP Virtual Mini-Conference; work on projects

October 2022 – work on projects

October 6-7, 2022 – present at and participate in BBIP Virtual Mini-Conference

November 2022 – work on projects

December 9, 2022 – Zoom Meeting: final BBIP-SP III: Intro to DH meeting to discuss next steps for projects, including plan to present at CLA Conference in April 2023

Eligibility Criteria

This program is designed primarily for higher education professionals, as well as advanced graduate students:  teachers and librarians at American universities, qualified independent scholars, and those employed in museums, historical societies, and other organizations who want to effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the program. Teams (for example, a librarian and a faculty member) are especially encouraged to apply.  

  • An applicant need not have an advanced degree to qualify. 
  • An applicant need not be a DH practitioner but should demonstrate an earnest desire to learn and apply the skills acquired.
  • Applicants must be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least three years immediately preceding the application deadline.  

Application Information

  • Prior to completing an application, please review these documents and consider carefully what is expected in terms of attendance, research and presentation requirements, and general participation in the work of the project.
  • The BBIP Scholars Program III: Intro to Digital Humanities has space for up to 14 scholars to participate.
  • Though we encourage teams to apply, please note that each individual must submit their own application.  

Selection Criteria

A selection committee reads and evaluates all properly completed applications to select the most promising applicants and to identify several alternates.  

The most important consideration in the selection of participants is the likelihood that an applicant will benefit professionally.  This is determined by committee members from the combination of several factors, each of which should be addressed in the application essay.  These factors include:  

  • Support from the employing institution or organization, if applicable, to participate in this project
  • Previous exposure to and demonstrated interest in Digital Humanities (DH) methods (digitizing collections, conversion to machine readable files, metadata creation, related conference presentations and/or digital open-access publications, grant proposal for funding, workshop participation, etc.)
  • Access to and/or knowledge of a collection that has or has not been digitized 

Stipend, Tenure and Conditions of Award

Individuals selected to participate in the BBIP-SP III: Intro to DH will receive a stipend of $1,100. Stipends are intended to help cover books and other research expenses, and ordinary living expenses.  Stipends are taxable.  Applicants should note that supplements will not be given in cases where the stipend is insufficient to cover all costs.

BBIP-SP III: Intro to DH participants are required to attend all meetings and to engage fully as professionals in the work of the project.  Participants who, for any reason, do not complete the full tenure of the project must refund a pro-rata portion of the stipend.  Stipends will be paid in two installments: the first installment of $550 will be paid at the beginning of the program and the second installment of $550 will be paid at the end. 

Checklist of Application Materials

A complete application consists of the following items:

  1. A 1-page resume or brief biography, and
  2. An application essay as outlined below.
  3. A letter of recommendation that should be submitted separately.


Please include a brief 1-page resume or biography. 

Letter of Recommendation

The referee will be asked to submit a letter of recommendation.  Recommendations may be from inside or outside the applicant’s home institution, though the former is preferred.  They should be familiar with the applicant’s professional accomplishments or promise, teaching and/or research interests, and ability to contribute to and benefit from participation in the BBIP Scholars Program III: Intro to DH.  The referee should be provided with the description of the program and the applicant’s essay.  Applicants should request their referee email the letter as an attachment directly to the program coordinator Meleah Perez at Recommendation letters must be received by the January 17, 2022 deadline.

The Application Essay

The application essay should be 500-750 words.  This essay should include any relevant personal and academic information; reasons for applying; the applicant’s interest, both academic and personal, in the subject to be studied; qualifications and experiences that equip the applicant to do the work of the project and to make a contribution to the learning community; a statement of what the applicant wants to accomplish by participating; and the relation of the project to the applicant’s professional responsibilities.  Summarize briefly DH work you have done, programs attended, committees you have been part of, etc. Additionally, if you are applying as part of a team, your essay should address your partnership and the respective strengths team members will bring. 

Submission of Applications and Notification Procedure

Completed applications should be submitted via the application portal no later than 5PM Central on February 4, 2022  Questions about the program and application process can be directed to the project coordinator Meleah Perez via email at

Successful applicants will be notified via email of their selection by February 11, 2022 and must confirm their participation within one week.    

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