CHDR Projects

The projects listed below are affiliated with the Center for Humanities and Digital Research and share its goal of pursuing collaborative, interdisciplinary humanities computing research.

The work here is supported by a variety of public and private funding agencies, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Florida Humanities Council, the Veterans Administration, and the University of Central Florida.

Current CHDR Projects

Charles Brockden Brown Electronic Archive and Scholarly Edition
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Project: Dr. Mark Kamrath (Professor, English).

This project aims to identify, transcribe, organize, and ultimately edit Brown's uncollected writings, making them searchable. Access to these texts will cast new light on Brown as a novelist, editor, and historian, revise his stature among the intellectuals of the new republic, and enhance our understanding of authorship and the dynamics of print culture in his day.

Historical Agricultural News

Project: Dr. Amy Larner Giroux (Computer Research Specialist, Center for Humanities and Digital Research), and Dr. Marcy L. Galbreath (Lecturer, Writing and Rhetoric).

This project explores Chronicling America for information on the farming organizations, technologies, and practices of America’s past. Newspapers were key participants in the spread of agricultural ideas, technologies, and practices, and a topic specific search tool like HAN could help illustrate the role newspapers (the social media of the day) played.


Project: Dr. Connie L. Lester (Associate Professor, History).

The Public History program at UCF links many projects under one initiative to promote the collection and preservation of Florida history. By facilitating research that records and presents the stories of communities, businesses, and institutions in Florida, RICHES seeks to provide the region with a deeper sense of its heritage.

Veterans Legacy Program
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Project: Dr. Amelia Lyons (Associate Professor, History), Dr. Barbara Gannon (Associate Professor, History), Dr. Amy Larner Giroux (Computer Research Specialist, Center for Humanities and Digital Research), Dr. Scot French (Associate Professor, History), Dr. Caroline Cheong (Assistant Professor, History), Dr. John Sacher (Associate Professor, History), and Tiffany Rivera (Assistant Director of Educational Training Programs, History).

In 2017 and 2018, UCF's History Department and CHDR received National Cemetery Adminstration contracts to memorialize veterans in Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, St. Augustine National Cemetery, and two ABMC cemeteries in France. Curriculum for K12 and a field trip for UCF and K12 students are part of this project.

Zora Neale Hurston Digital Archive
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Project: Dr. Anna Lillios (Professor, English).

The archive provides a repository of biographical, historical, critical, and other contextual materials related to Hurston's life and work. The site also contains various resources so that both teachers and students can more fully appreciate the cultural and literary richness of Hurston's numerous writings. With time and funding, we hope to also develop a digital edition of Hurston's writings.

Digital Archiving Resources
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Project: Dr. Mark Kamrath (Professor, English).

The purpose of DAR is to gather items relating to digital archives in the humanities as part of an effort to provide access to the materials and awareness of the emerging field. The goal is to create social knowledge about digital archives and provide access to categorized items important to the study of digital archives.

Vayots Dzor Fortress Landscapes Project (VDFLP)
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Project: Dr. Tiffany Earley-Spadoni (Assistant Professor, History).

Vayots Dzor Fortress Landscapes Project (VDFLP) is a research program dedicated to the investigation of the historical development of fortress culture in a high alpine region of Armenia. The project is a collaboration of the University of Central Florida and the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences, Armenia. The VDFLP is an interdisciplinary study that incorporates digital humanities techniques and anthropological theory to understand the spatial patterning of past human behavior. Drone-based remote sensing and digital storytelling were a particular focus of the 2017 field season.

ELLE the EndLess LEarner
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Project: Dr. Emily Johnson (Visiting Assistant Professor, Games and Interactive Media), Dr. Amy Larner Giroux (Computer Research Specialist, Center of Humanities and Digital Research), Dr. Don Merritt, (Director, Office of Instructional Resources), Dr. Sandra Sousa (Assistant Professor, Modern Languages), and Dr. Gergana Vitanova (Associate Professor, Modern Languages).

ELLE the EndLess LEarner is a videogame designed to make language learning fun. ELLE is an endless-runner style (the avatar is always in motion), which results in fast-paced, engaging gameplay. Terms are easy to add to the game database through a user-friendly website, and the flexible game design affords it much opportunity for research on language learning and student study habits.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language
Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Languageclose

Project: Dr. Beth Rapp Young (Associate Professor, English), Dr. Carmen Faye Mathes (Assistant Professor, English), and Dr. Amy Larner Giroux (Computer Research Specialist, Center for Humanities and Digital Research).

This project will create an online edition of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (including both 1st [1755] and 4th [1773] folio print editions) with functionality comparable to other modern, scholarly dictionaries. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Johnson’s Dictionary was the most comprehensive and influential English-language dictionary in the world. Although attempts have been made to digitize the Dictionary, these are now out of date or incomplete. Our goal is to make Johnson’s original text easy to use and to study, providing significant, long-term benefit to researchers, educators, and those involved in public programming in the humanities.

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Project: Elizabeth Brendel Horn (Assistant Professor, Theatre), Dr. Natasha N. Jones (Assistant Professor, Writing and Rhetoric), Dr. Natalie Underberg-Goode (Associate Professor, Digital Media), and Dr. Stephanie Wheeler (Assistant Professor, Writing and Rhetoric).

“I Am UCF” is a cross-disciplinary effort to create digital stories representing the diverse narratives of the University of Central Florida campus body. Spearheaded by faculty in the Theatre, Digital Media, and Writing and Rhetoric degree programs and the Social Justice and Advocacy center, students share their unique story through digital storytelling, a medium that fuses together writing, audio, visual, digital, and performative elements. "I Am UCF" provides a comprehensive curriculum for the creation of digital stories emphasizing community, diversity, advocacy, and creative expression. This website serves as a platform for these projects in the form of a sortable campus map to celebrate the diverse and rich stories of our campus body.

The Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson Digital Archive
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Project: Dr. Lisa Logan (Associate Professor, English).

Dubbed "the most learned woman in America" by biographer Anne Ousterhout, poet and salonniere Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson (1737-1801) was well known in her lifetime for her expertise in classics, modern history, philosophy, and literature and letters. Her friends and correspondents included Benjamin Franklin, physician and philosopher Benjamin Rush, ministers Nathaniel Evans and Francis Hopkinson, prominent British Quakers Thomas and Julianna Penn and John Fothergill, and literary figures such as Milcah Martha Moore, Laurence Stern, and Annis Boudinot Stockton. Fergusson's intellectual breadth and originality is apparent in her surviving writings, produced over a fifty-five year writing career that also spans the American Revolution.

The Middle Passage Experience: African Captivity in Brazil, 1750-1850
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Virtual Reality Immersion Project: Dr. Yovanna Pineda (Associate Professor, History), Dr. Emily Johnson (Visiting Assistant Professor, Games and Interactive Media), Dr. Amy Giroux (Associate Director, Center for Humanities and Digital Research), Fon Gordon (Associate Professor, History) and Ezekiel Walker (Associate Professor, History).

Our virtual reality immersion project "The Middle Passage Experience: African Captivity in Brazil, 1750-1850" documents the transitional period from Africa to the Americas. The ship journey from Elmina Castle in Ghana to Salvador, Bahia (Brazil) took between forty and fifty days from Luanda, Angola to Rio de Janeiro. This six to seven-week period was essential in transforming the captive’s body and mind from free to newly enslaved person.
In this interactive VR, participants are first presented to Elmina castle. They line up with other captives as they enter the ships. Participants may interact with others while in line, though the majority of the “play” takes place on the ship. As a matter of survival, participants must make choices. They may do a variety of things, including winning favor by cleaning the deck, make a friend, steal food, and so on. The ship stories are based on research obtained from visual and archival materials, the database, and the numerous primary accounts from African captives, creoles, elite, ship captains, and ship logs.
Its long-term research goal is to measure empathy learning through virtual immersion. We are still developing it, and a portion of it was showcased at UCF Celebrates the Arts on April 12, 2019.
We started this VR project in fall 2017. In 2019, we will continue to write scripts, code, and illustrate scenes, people, and other art. We work in collaboration with history, SVAD, CHDR, the Africana Studies Program, and Computer Science department.

People, Religion, Information, Networks, and Travel (PRINT): The Dynamics of Migration in the Early Modern World
People, Religion, Information, Networks, and Travel (PRINT): The Dynamics of Migration in the Early Modern Worldclose

Dr. Rosalind Beiler's project, Communication Networks and the Dynamics of Migration, 1630-1730, examines the evolution of communication networks among religious dissenters in England and continental Europe. It argues that Quakers, Mennonites and Pietists began corresponding with like-minded believers to address persecution beginning in the 1630s and 1650s. Quaker and Pietist missionaries expanded these connections to other religious groups, creating trans-cultural, ecumenical networks that quickly became conduits for information about colonization. The interconnected webs religious dissenters crafted provided access to new groups of potential immigrants from continental Europe. By uncovering these networks and examining what was at stake for those who used them, the book reveals one of the dynamics behind the growing diversity of the British American colonies in the eighteenth century. This project is being supported by CHDR and will result in a project website.

Previous CHDR Projects

Flickering Landscapes: Florida’s Landscape, History, and Identity on the Screen
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Project: Dr. Phil Peters (Professor, Film and Mass Media), and Dr. Bruce Janz (Professor, Philosophy).

The conference examined three key components represented in films and television programs made in Florida, set in Florida, or both: Florida’s unique landscape, Florida’s filmmaking history, and Florida’s cultural identity on film. Participants were scholars from a broad range of disciplines and professionals working on the history and present of Florida film and screen experiences.


Project: Dr. Bruce Janz (Professor, Philosophy).

ChinaVine's mission is to educate English-speaking/reading children, youth, and adults about China's cultural heritage. This mission is achieved through this interactive website along with a variety of social media platforms. We combined 'Vine' with China because of the fluid, ever changing and winding ways of culture.


Project: Dr. Lori Walters (Research Associate Professor, History).

ChronoLeap returns virtual Fairgoers to the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair where individuals can access digitized photographs, documents, and archival film footage pertaining to the Fair and era as they explore the 3D environment.

Interactive Expeditions
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Project: Dr. Phil Peters (Professor, Film and Mass Media).

Interactive Expeditions is a mobile research lab at the University of Central Florida directed by Phil Peters that employs modern satellite technology and two-way video conferencing in order to connect at-home learners with instructors who are live in the field.

Space, Science, and Spirituality
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Project: Shaun Gallaher (PI), Bruce Janz (co-PI), Lauren Reinerman (co-PI), and Joerg Trempler (co-PI)

This project brings together a research team of scientists, philosophers, and scholars in the humanities to investigate, both theoretically and empirically, the effects of outer space travel on the inner space of experience. The project focuses on experiences of awe, wonder, curiosity and humility during space flight as reported by astronauts.