The University of Akron

ASPIRE - Fall 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 12 of 17

Collaborating with scholars around the globe English students making the edible indelible Old recipes and new technology. Those are the ingredients in The Recipes Project, which links scholars from European and North American universities — including UA — to preserve, digitize and analyze recipes written in English from circa 1550 to 1880. The goal is an accessible and searchable database of recipes which would allow users to search by ingredient, date, process and author, among other topics. It's part of a frontier in scholarship called digital humanities that uses computational methods to answer research questions or challenge existing theories. Led by Associate Professor of English Hillary Nunn, UA students are examining the work of Anne Fanshaw, a wealthy royalist in 17th Century England, who wrote recipes for meals and medicinal concoctions in a large "household book" meant to be passed on to future generations. The students code the book by specially marking each word or phrase so it is registered and made searchable by scholars across the globe. The students are working with peers at other U.S. universities as well as the Max Planck Institute in Germany and the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. They are faced with the challenge of reading faded, old-fashioned script in which an "S" looks like an "F". To help their peers, the students have created a Facebook page on which they commiserate about difficult texts and share ideas and techniques. Nunn says that recipes give many clues to the lives of the people who created them. Scholars benefit from the improved understanding of the culture in which certain types of literature were born. Students benefit from learning how to work as a team to create something new out of something old. The students also get "bylines" on their transcriptions and can put "editing experience" and "scholarly activity" on their resumes. "It's great for everyone all around. It's an exciting time. We can't wait to see what we'll will find next," says Nunn. » History Professor Named Policy Leader Dr. Zachery Williams, associate professor of African American history at UA, was named a Center for American Progress (CAP) Leadership Institute Fellow for 2013-2014. The program, based in Washington, D.C., aims to identify and assist the next generation of policy experts who have an interest in issues related to people and communities of color. 11

Articles in this issue

view archives of The University of Akron - ASPIRE - Fall 2013