SIF86 Social Sciences & Humanities: Advanced Research & New Forms of Learning (Humanities)

Project Manager: Ian Baucom with Alison Levine, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

: The purpose of this award is to create new knowledge, provide training for students, and engage the public, with initial foci on: 1. Religion, Politics, and Conflict; 2. Citizen Justice; 3. Global Religion; 4. Humanities Informatics.

BoV Approved: December 2016

Project Dates: 2/3/2017 – 6/30/2021

Funding Awarded: $2,000,000

Executive Summary

The College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences sought funding for advanced research and new forms of experiential learning in the Social Sciences and the Humanities. These new forms of learning are Laboratories that focus on overarching themes of the moment and that aim to transform the production, communication, and dissemination of research in the social sciences and the humanities, while training graduate and undergraduate students in faculty cross-disciplinary research and in collaborations with local, national, and international partners. 

The research themes selected for this initiative are:

  1. Religion, Politics and Conflict
  2. Citizen Justice: Engaging Race in Digital Spaces
  3. Global Religion
  4. Humanities Informatics

Each Lab has a vision for activities to:

  1. Create new knowledge across disciplines and schools;
  2. Provide innovative training opportunities for post-doctoral fellows, and undergraduate and graduate students; and 
  3. Engage the broader public.

Current Status: Active


These four labs report significant progress and outcomes. Two full PAC reviews and two administrative reviews have been conducted, each with positive final results. A no-cost extension request was granted in January 2020 to permit the project team to complete the few remaining original goals. Some of the preliminary outcomes of this award include:

The Citizens Justice lab created strategic partnerships with other units such as UVA’s Center for Digital Editing, Department of Media Studies, as well as community partners such as Monticello and Virginia Humanities. They are exploring with the University Press of Virginia the possibility of a publishing cooperative that would advance digital projects, scholarly editions, and public history focused on desegregation and the Civil Rights movement. This lab is engaging students and community partners in digital storytelling and public history projects that contribute to diversity in higher education.

The Religion, Politics and Conflict lab has successfully completed a policy report on procedures for diagnosing religion-related conflict and for recommending actionable responses. They conceived and implemented a UVA research lab that provides data and analytic tools to complete the policy report with a specific goal engaging dozens of faculty, postdocs, graduate students and undergraduates. Furthermore, they produced materials and trained key decision-makers, governmental officials, senior NGO staff, and other leaders responsible for addressing religion-related violence, and have established partnerships with multiple partner institutions.

The Global Religions lab has created several documentaries focusing on the place of religion in the formation of the personaland the political on a global scale. These address the diverse entanglements of religion and publiclife throughout the globe andinvestigates religion’s unique engagements with political,economic, environmental, and civic structures.

The Humanities Informatics lab has consolidated four research teams: Network/corpus, Human-Machine Intelligence, Surveillance and Infrastructure, Smart Environments. They developed multiple resources, including a website Over the course of the last three years they have hosted numerous presentations, seminars, workshops, public lectures, and held two international conferences.