UGA Libraries Seed Grants Support Scholarship in the Humanities

Submitted by Camie on

Three UGA professors have been named the inaugural recipients of UGA Libraries’ Fairchild-Holcomb Awards for Innovation in the Humanities. The seed grants, totaling $8,600, will kick-start projects aimed at creating educational materials and a podcast or documentary drawing upon archival materials from UGA’s Special Collections Libraries.

The first $5,000 grant goes to support a project exploring environmental and human histories along the North Oconee River from the interdisciplinary team of Michelle Ritchie, assistant professor in the School of Public Health’s Institute for Disaster Management, and Jane McPherson, associate professor in the School of Social Work. Both Ritchie and McPherson are a part of the Special Collections Fellows program and will work with co-principal investigator Mazie Bowen, librarian and public service coordinator in the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and others to create freely accessible high school curriculum guides that illustrate the history of the Scull Shoals area in Greene County and Cedar Shoals area of Clarke County.

In addition, a $3,600 grant will support the scholarship of Steven Soper, associate professor in the history department in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. His project on prison reform in the 1960s and 1970s will include the work of undergraduate and graduate students exploring archival material related to the Guthrie vs. Evans court case preserved as part of the Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, as well as news and other film clips related to Georgia State Prison from the Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection. 

With oral histories, interviews, and other clips, Soper and co-principal investigator Sarah Shannon, Meigs Professor of Sociology and director of the Criminal Justice Program, said they expect the project to lead to a podcast or to lay the foundation for a documentary.

UGA Libraries’ Fairchild-Holcomb Awards for Innovation in the Humanities were established to support research projects involving the Special Collections Libraries or conducted in association with Libraries programs, such as the DigiLab. The awards are funded through an endowment established by Jennifer Fairchild Holcomb and Gregory Holcomb, emeriti members of the UGA Libraries Board of Visitors, to support faculty, scholars, and students in the pursuit of new knowledge in the humanities. The awards are administered in partnership with the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts.