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  • SN-0050 The Global Middle Ages Project

This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.

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The Global Middle Ages Project - UMN, UTAustin

Please fill in the following metadata about this story (and delete this line when finished!):

Collection Date:
Scholar #1 Info: (if more than one scholar's process is described, copy this set for each scholar)

  • Name: Susan Noakes
  • Email:
  • Title: Director of the Center for Medieval Studies, Professor at the Dept. of French and Italian Studies (UMN)
  • Institution/Organization: University of Minnesota
  • Field of Study/Creative Endeavor: Medieval Studies

Scholar #2 Info: (if more than one scholar's process is described, copy this set for each scholar)

  • Name: Geraldine Heng
  • Email:
  • Title: Professor at the English and Comparative Literature, Department of English - College of Liberal Arts( UT Austin)
  • Institution/Organization: University of Texas at Austin
  • Field of Study/Creative Endeavor: Medieval Studies

Collector Info (can be the same as "Scholar" above):

  • Name: Ana Boa-Ventura
  • Email:
  • Title: Doctoral Candidate (UTAustin)
  • Institution/Organization: University of Texas at Austin

Notes on Methodology:

Self report - as collector is also part of this project.

Note: To be revised (to include ethnographic interviews).



Please provide some keywords that will allow us to group or cluster related stories--or aspects of stories.

1. Was this story collected for a particular Bamboo working group?  If so, please include, as keywords, the appropriate group(s).

  • Stories

2. Suggested keywords: Does this story contain elements that could be mapped to these keywords?  If so, please indicate which ones and briefly describe the mapping.  Add any additional keywords in #3. (These are global keywords from this page keywords)

Discover - Part of this project is about "identifying objects of scholarly interest" in a field as vast as the global middle ages. To that extent, this project is about discovering. Furthermore, researchers will discover interconnections between their disciplines, as they come from all scholarships from Theology to Art, History or Literature.

Aggregate - We have two types of aggregation in this project:

    • When the same title can refer to different contexts, there may be a need to further clarify by adding what is called disambiguation. There are several methods for disambiguation, the simplest fo all being that a disambiguating word or phrase can be added in parentheses.
    • More recently, technologies such as RSS enable the connection of messages from multiple sources - they are called aggregators. These aggregators are generally web feed formats used to publish any online content that needs to be regularly updated. Examples are blog entries, audio, and video.

Annotate  -This practice is common when comments need to be added to information. A typical example is an annotated bibliography. Annotations may have a very subjective nature but their general objective is to add information to the object.

Consider - Insofar as the process of considering involves a thoughtful process - to bear in mind or to look at thoughtfully, we believe this is central to the GMA projectShare and Publish - This is certainly a core concern for all areas of the GMA project but namely GMap, which addresses the need for the development of a repository of pedagogical materials that should be publicly available.
Engage - ... other scholars studying the Middle Ages and interested in exploring a new global approach to that study, as well as engage current GMA researchers, by using web 2.0 technologies to encourage a regular contact and information sharing. The area of the GMA project most concerned with this aspect is SCGMA, which is not by chance, the only blog-centered website.
Preserve - Although the topic is the Middle Ages and insofar that the digitalization of data will, necessarily promote their preservation, the main objective is not the preservation of a cultural heritage per se but rather the exploration of new ways of teaching this topic.
Interact- We consider this term at two levels

  • all researchers need to interact regularly so that the community may evolve organically.  The blog-centered SCGMA site will encourage that interaction and we expect that other tools such as email, as well as physical meetings (future workshop) are key to sustain interaction.
  • all the technologies that will be used in GMA will be highly interactive- the virtual walk across time and space envisioned for MappaMundi will require the active participation of the visitor to this web entity (to be defined).

3. Please list additional keywords here:Middle ages, global, digital humanities, research community, interdisciplinary, team-teaching, maps, manuscripts, religion, History, English, Middle Eastern Studies, Comparative Literature, Asian Studies, African/African American Studies, Women's Studies, Cultural Studies

4. Related Stories: Are there parts of the story that relate to other collected stories? Please provide title(s) and link to the story page. On collaboration among researchers
All stories
On the limited number of scholars working in the field:
Collaborative Research (Pico) - Brown University
On cartography, and Digital Humanities
Mapping the Digital Humanities, - University of Washington

On the exploration of "time"
Timeline of Anglo-Saxon England Scenario - rural liberal arts college* *

On the interdisciplinary nature of the project

Video Preservation, Annotation and Publishing for the Arts and Humanities - The EVIA Digital Archive Project - Indiana University


Please include the text, documents, media, or other material which comprise this story

Scenario and project chronology (to be completed): In Spring 2004, the Medieval Studies program at the University of Texas at Austin introduced a collaborative, team-taught, interdisciplinary series of graduate seminars. Seven scholars were involved in this experience. After this experience, Geraldine Heng (UTAustin) visited the Department of French and Italian at the University of Minnesota under invitation of Susan Noakes (UMN). The two scholars began a narrow collaboration on a project they entitled Global Middle Ages. Several aspects started taking shape from early days - teaching an interconnected medieval world--a "global" Middle Ages-- and instill practices of thinking across periods, cultures, territories, and disciplines, even the institutions of both scholars expect intensive training in disciplinary knowledges. The different academic status between both scholars resulted in different tensions with this discipline-oriented knowledge, within their institutions.
Early on, Susan Noakes and Geraldine Heng found that they should establish several sections for their project - namely a research community should be encouraged, and there should be an area focusing on class materials and the team teaching practices that had been so successful at the University of Texas at Austin. As a result the project further branched out into

  • SCGMA  - a Scholarly Community for the Global Middle Ages
  • GMap - the collaboration of highly specialized scholars to organize an interconnected collection of pedagogical materials
  • MappaMundi - a digital and web entity which the scholars imagine as a sophisticated virtual world enabling a virtual walk across space and time on a medieval world map. 

In early 2007, Ayhan Aytes, a doctoral student at UCLA joined the core research group and began working on the "Discoveries of the Americas" project.
In November 2007, a group of scholars including graduate students from several universities gathered in the first GMA workshop at the Twin Cities Campus (UMN). Photos here
In July 2008, Susan Noakes participated in a workshop at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - ICHASS - that showcased tools for the Digital Humanities in the areas of textual analysis (SEASR), image analysis (Peter Bajcsy's research team, ICHASS), advanced visualization (Donna Cox's research group), augmented reality and virtual reality (Alan Craig~s research group), GIS (Shaowen Wong), CyberInfrastructure and Geospatial Information Laboratory) and social networks.
At the ICHAss workshop, Ana Boa-Ventura, a doctoral candidate at UTexas Austin met Susan Noakes. ICHASS executive Director, Kevin Franklin, introduced Boa-Ventura to Heng (thought they were both at UTAustin they had not met). Boa-Ventura then joined the team, initially by designing the web presence for GMA, G-map, Mappamundi and SCGMA, and later by conceptualizing a project on public media in the global media ages.

At the end of 2008, Heng requested a meeting with the Texas Advanced Computing Center at UT Austin as they had been interested in the GMA project for quite a while. This contact had as main ojective to show TACC resources and to explore at a high level, the ideas of the Public Media in the Global Middle Ages project.
We expect that in 2009, the collaboration between GMA and TACC be formalized, enabling the use of the Centers' resources as far as advanced visualization and textual analysis tools.

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