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Grant number like: HAA-263774-19

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University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. (Athens, GA 30602-1589)
Steven Soper (Project Director: June 2018 to present)
Barry Godfrey (Co Project Director: November 2018 to present)
Heather Ann Thompson (Co Project Director: November 2018 to present)

Digital Humanities Advancement Grants
Digital Humanities

[White paper]

$39,219 (approved)
$39,219 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2020

Historical Profiles of American Incarceration

A project to research and assess the state of archival records of American incarceration before 1970, leading to a two-day workshop for historians and data experts to plan for the creation of a digital archive to facilitate new scholarship across numerous humanities disciplines.

The digitization of American prison records now makes it possible to conduct large-scale analysis of incarceration in the United States, from the early nineteenth century to the present. This opportunity could not be timelier: for the past decade, scholars and policymakers have debated the causes and consequences of the phenomenon of “mass incarceration” in the United States. A new digital history of incarceration in the US before the 1970s, by revealing broad geographical and sociological patterns, the impact of historical contingencies, and the human face of individual prisoners’ lives, can make a significant contribution to our understanding of this issue. For this Level I application, we will employ a research assistant to assess existing digital sources on the history of criminal justice in the United States, and then gather for a two-day workshop to plan the creation of a new database and website.