Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Dudziak Digital Legal History Prize to Land-Grab Universities

Another announcement from this year's meeting of the American Society for Legal History: the winner of this year's Mary L. Dudziak Digital Legal History Prize went to Land-Grab Universities. An award that is close to our hearts here at the blog, the Dudziak Prize is "named in honor of Mary L. Dudziak, a leading scholar of twentieth century U.S. legal history and international relations as well as a digital history pioneer" and "is awarded annually to an outstanding digital legal history project." The citation:

Land-Grab Universities (https://www.landgrabu.org/) a remarkable project led by Dr. Robert Lee, Lecturer in American History and Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge University who put together an interdisciplinary team that included a journalist (Tristan Ahtone), a data visualizer (George McGhee), a web designer (Cody Leff), a cartographer (Margaret Peace), and a photographer (Kalen Goodluck). The website’s powerful visualization of expropriated Indigenous land has garnered international attention and spurred historical investigations at many of the 52 universities, such as Cornell University, that were built on and with Indigenous land acquired as a result of The Morrill Act, which President Lincoln signed into law in 1862. The quality of the website, coupled with the project’s commitment to sharing its data and computational programs via a GitHub repository are the distinguishing features of this project, as is its mission to use historical investigation to spur educational change. The project seeks to increase the number of Indigenous students enrolled at the 52 universities that benefitted from this historical process of dispossession. Overall, Land-Grab Universities brilliantly combines original research, computational method, and sophisticated data visualization to make its scholarly and social impact. 

Congratulations to Dr. Robert Lee and the rest of the team behind Land-Grab Universities! 

-- Karen Tani