Advancing the Digital Humanities

I am pleased to share that Manifest has been awarded a Digital Humanities Advancement Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. We will be using the grant to further develop the research network around Manifest and build more comphrensive curriculum materials for the critical study of logistics in the humanities.

Manifest: Digital Humanities Platform for the Critical Study of Logistics Research and testing of the Manifest platform designed to support humanities research of supply chains and commodities.

While of significant social and environmental importance, global supply chains are both complex and opaque. Understanding the impact of these networks is challenging. Manifest is a digital humanities project designed to allow researchers in the humanities to produce critical accounts of global logistical operation and to communicate the impact of supply chains on society. This proposal will form a research network around Manifest’s open-source, web-based platform for the critical analysis of supply chains, production lines, and trade networks. Based on case studies implemented on the Manifest platform by members of the research network, the project will construct a comprehensive research guide and curriculum for the critical study of logistics in the humanities.

Call for Researchers

As part of this grant we are gathering a research network for those interested in the use of digital tools for the critical study of logistics, especially within the humanities. The network is intended for anyone studying the global movement of goods, knowledge, or labor. This includes independent scholars, faculty, graduate students, journalists, NGO workers, activists, and practitioners (broadly understood). Their work might address the social and environmental impacts of supply chains, representations of the logistical imagination, or histories and futures of trade, supply, and assembly.

Areas of research include (but are not limited to):

  • Historic trade networks, such as the ivory trade or transatlantic slave trade; and historic supply chains, such as for mass-produced goods like sewing machines.
  • Contemporary trade networks, such as for mineral distribution; and contemporary supply chains, such as for mass-produced goods like mobile phones and laptops.
  • Accounts of the movement of artifactual objects (paintings, sculptures, etc.); follow-the-thing narratives for studying products (fair-trade coffees, donated blood, drugs, etc.); or research into commodity circulation (money, oil, wheat, etc.) within larger logistical networks.
  • The production of narratives of fictional / imagined logistical networks in film, television, and literature.
  • Ethnographic inquries into the movements of humans within larger logistical networks.
  • Logistical infrastructures, such as warehouses, ports, and factories, especially emphasizing the global peripheries of logistics space.
  • Digital supply chains, such as those for the assembly and distribution of digital goods such as software or AI systems, or for media products such as music and television.
  • Accounts of logistical software systems, supply chain management infrastructure, or other coordination technologies and tools (from truck stops to GPS).
  • Critical accounts of the technologies of worker surveillance, the securitization of global trade, and automation and artificial intelligence across the supply chain.
  • Techniques for assessing the impacts of logistical processes.
  • Movements of non-human actors emphasizing environmental / ecological impact.
  • Alternative, insurgent, and queer logistical structures and systems.

Researchers who are also interested in developing case studies for the Manifest platform are especially encouraged to answer this call. A small amount of financial support will be available to selected case studies to support their development.

The open call has now concluded, please see: