University of Richmond Digital Scholarship Lab Receives ACLS Grant Support for Mapping Inequality Project

May 27, 2021

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — The University of Richmond Digital Scholarship Lab has received a 2021 ACLS Digital Extension Grant from the American Council of Learned Societies.

The Digital Extension Grant program supports collaborative, team-based humanities and social sciences research projects that advance inclusive scholarly practices and promote greater understanding of diverse human experiences through digital research. The grants, which are made possible with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, are designed to extend the reach of established digital initiatives to new communities of users. These grants provide up to $150,000 of funding.

The DSL has received this grant support for its award-winning Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America project, a collaboration with Virginia Tech. Mapping Inequality is frequently used by journalists and scholars studying and investigating redlining, racially-motivated lending discrimination.

“This mapping project casts in sharp relief racially discriminatory real estate practices from the 1930s that were so impactful that we can still see their effects today in 21st-century inequalities of wealth, health, and the environment,” said Rob Nelson, DSL director. “We’re grateful that Mapping Inequality is being used so widely by policymakers, journalists, scholars, students, and citizens as they reckon with this history.”

Nelson says the support from the ACLS will allow his team to make the project more useful by adding little known or unknown redlining maps of smaller cities and towns, by working with teachers to create materials to make it more useful in K-12 and undergraduate classrooms, and by collaborating with hundreds of scholars to add their expertise about particular cities in short introductions on the site.

“Digital projects in the humanities uncover and provide access to collections and materials that might have been hidden from sight or not even considered worthy of collecting,” said ACLS Vice President James Shulman. “We’re excited to see how this year’s Digital Extension awardees contribute to forward-looking work that builds fields and scholars’ careers, and will shape the scholarship of tomorrow.”

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