By Jojo Karlin
Spotlight: Bret Maney and Mapping New York Literary History
On 11, Oct 2017 | In Spotlight | By Jojo Karlin
Campus: Lehman College
Mapping New York Literary History is a digital public writing project produced by Lehman College English majors enrolled in Bret Maney’s American literature courses. The project engages students in original research and writing about New York locations that have a significant bearing on American literary history. Students document these sites through notes, photographs, videos, and interviews, and carry out library and archival research. The result of their investigations is a series of multimodal essays posted online under their names, initials, or a pseudonym, and organized through a mapping interface powered by Carto and hosted on the CUNY Academic Commons.
The goal of Mapping New York Literary History is fourfold: (1) to foster student engagement with local literary history and American studies; (2) to introduce students to the practice of writing for digital publics; (3) to enhance students’ digital literacies; and (4) to collaborate in the public humanities mission of sharing our disciplinary expertise with the wider community on the web. Through this project, students’ research and writing becomes a permanent contribution to the digital documentation of our city’s and region’s literary history. Lehman English majors have done some truly remarkable work, and we are excited to share it with you.
To begin exploring the Mapping New York Literary History project, click here. Most essays focus on literary sites within the five boroughs, but follow the river north to the Catskills, go west to Weehawken, NJ, or east to Long Island for more literary excavations!
For a scholarly discussion of the digital pedagogy involved in this project, see Bret Maney’s recent Kairos article, “Critics and Cartographers in the Literature Classroom: Using CARTO and WordPress to Build a Digital Public Writing Project.”