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Winner of the DHMS Prize

Digital Humanities and Multimedia Studies Prize 2019

The Mapping Mandeville Project

Principal Investigator, John Wyatt Greenlee


The Digital Humanities and Multimedia Studies Prize celebrates an outstanding digital project in Medieval Studies. The recipient of the 2019 prize is The Mapping Mandeville Project, led by the Principal Investigator, John Wyatt Greenlee.  Employing image annotation software, the pedagogically focused Mapping Mandeville Project unites the fourteenth-century text of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville and a high-resolution reproduction of the Hereford Cathedral mappa mundi in an interactive online platform, enabling students and non-specialists to come to a deeper understanding of each. Constructed using Omeka and its extension, Neatline, and embedded within a Wordpress site, the project allows for active discovery and engagement by enabling users to scroll and explore hidden “hotspots” on the Hereford mappa that, upon being clicked, then reveal relevant passages of Mandeville’s text. The Mapping Mandeville Project showcases the possibilities of the digital humanities to recreate the real and imagined worlds of medieval societies and make them more comprehensible beyond textual narratives, while also revealing their spatial depths. Although aimed at the general public, such a visually based project also provides professional historians and students alike with an innovative venue for research, collaboration, and intellectual enrichment. The project also models the type of achievement that can be attained in the digital humanities without the backing of a large, well-funded institution: Mapping Mandeville is an acknowledged pedagogical work in progress, created with minimal financial support, yet professionally prepared in such a way that allows for on-going project development and sustainability. Its visually rich, intuitive navigation, attractive presentation, and well-developed explanatory apparatus provide an effective way to bridge modern approaches to travel, narrative, and mapping. Users are encouraged to explore medieval frameworks for these concepts, which are defined less by geographical accuracy and positivistic scholarship, and more by active engagement, discovery and participation in a world framed by individual narratives and spatial relationships. In its subtle combination of cartographic knowledge, spatial histories, and traditional historical narrative made accessible in a mode friendly to a wide-reaching audience, The Mapping Mandeville Project offers an outstanding example of a superlative digital pedagogical project in the field.

Jelena Bogdanovic, Iowa State Univ. (2019), Chair 
Kathryne Beebe, University of North Texas (2020)

Lisa Reilly, University of Virginia (2021)

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