The Neubauer Collegium announced its latest Faculty Research Projects, which include collaborations with scholars and practitioners from other institutions in the United States and abroad. Faculty members in the Department of History are well represented among these 2018–19 projects:

Censorship, Information Control, and Information Revolutions

Principal Investigators: Adrian Johns, the Allan Grant Maclear Professor, Ada Palmer, assistant professor, and Cory Doctorow, special advisor to the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Many of today's attempts to control digital information parallel premodern responses to the printing press. The premodern case provides centuries of data showing how such attempts incentivized, discouraged, silenced, commodified, or nurtured art and expression. Examining the digital revolution in light of the print revolution will help us avoid repeating past mistakes, and let us craft policies that will make the digital world a fertile space for art and innovation.

As part of this project, Johns and Palmer will teach a course in autumn 2018 on censorship that will bring to campus pairs of experts working on the print and digital revolutions to discuss their research. Classes will be shared on the Internet to create an international public conversation.


Niger Heritage

Principal Investigators: Ralph Austin, professor emeritus, Paul Sereno, professor, et al.

Scientists, social scientists, architects, planners, and the public in Niger will collaborate to develop the mission and plans for a museum, a cultural center for nomadic peoples, and local field stations—each with a distinct role in the preservation of Niger's paleontological, archaeological, and cultural heritage.


Planetary History

Principal Investigators: Fredrik Albritton Jonsson, associate professor, Dipesh Chakrabarty, the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor, and Emily Lynn Osborn, associate professor

The period after World War II is the threshold to a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. This project studies the implications of the Anthropocene framework for historical research. It will explore the history of planetary change in a double sense: the biophysical dimension of economic development in the context of the Anthropocene and the history of earth system science, which produced this object of knowledge in the first place.

Chakrabarty will teach a graduate colloquium, "Historical Time and the Anthropocene," in spring 2019, as a complement to the project.


Theorizing Indian Democracy

Principal Investigators: Dipesh Chakrabarty, the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor, et al.

Indian democracy is marked by high levels of inequality, fragmentation, and diversity. Analyzing democracy in India is an opportunity to reconsider such key concepts as statehood, popular sovereignty, constitutionalism, and citizenship. The project hopes to expand knowledge of Indian politics and history and, more broadly, to understand democratic forms outside of Western Europe and North America.