If you haven’t heard of this initiative by the Office of the Provost, you may be wondering: What, exactly, is a Humanities Collaboratory? The short answer is that, under the auspices of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, it is a program that provides support for University of Michigan humanities’ scholars to experiment with team-based approaches to research, including its communication to the public and training of the next generation of scholars.
But we can give you a concrete example because Keiko Yokota-Carter, Asia Library’s Japanese Studies librarian, is a member of one of the first Humanities Collaboratory projects to be funded, Hyecho’s Journey. The project’s principal investigator is Donald S. Lopez, Jr., Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies. Hyecho's Journey explores the travels of a young Korean monk throughout the Buddhist world in the eighth century. That relatively little is known about Hyecho and only fragments of his diary survive injects this research with the exciting aura of detective work. True to its unconventional nature, the project has spawned an app created by U-M undergraduates that will be featured in an exhibition at the Freer|Sackler Galleries in Washington, DC; a monograph, a course, a related study-away opportunity, and a graduate student conference are also in the works.