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October 11, 2021

Humanities Center Fellowship Leads to New Digital Publication

Phase One of EMKONS (Early Modern Kyrgyz Oral-derived Narrative Sources), a new digital research project, was recently released. The EMKONS team is a team of international scholars who have collaborated digitally to analyze and interpret premodern Central Asian Turkic narrative manuscript sources. In doing so, the EMKONS team seeks to illuminate the self-concepts and interactions of Central Asian nomadic peoples (primarily the forerunners of the modern Kyrgyz). The research team used varying lenses of tradition and modernity to create knowledge about the past during times of turbulent change from the 18th to the early 20th century.

Daniel Prior, Associate Professor of History and Alia Levar Wegner, Digital Collections Librarian at Miami University collaborated over the summer to select and adapt the open- source Digital Mappa suite of digital tools for humanistic projects. Ben Storsved, a graduate student in Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University and a Miami History alumnus, built the EMKONS project site in Digital Mappa, using his current research as a source of content for the evolving structure. A manuscript analyzed in the pilot stage of the project contains narratives about Kyrgyz experiences during the Turkestan Rebellion of 1916.

The team of experts includes partners at the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic, where early modern Kyrgyz oral-derived narrative sources are housed in the manuscript archives and where a free, public digital repository is maintained.

The EMKONS team is currently working on Phase Two of the digital research project. Prior notes that the team will build the site where they integrate additional content as well as new interface and design elements.

Prior, the recipient of a Humanities Center Digital Fellowship, states that the support from the Humanities Center made it possible for the EMKONS team to develop Phase One of the digital research project in partnership with the Miami University Libraries. He says, “We gratefully acknowledge the support.”

The EMKONS team has been awarded a Collaborative Research Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct research in the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences manuscript archives in the summer of 2022.

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