About this CUNY Adjunct Incubator Project

As part of a research project supported by the CUNY Adjunct IncubatorGabrielle Kappes and Aaron Botwick, Adjunct Professors in the English Department at Lehman College, CUNY, are developing "Creating a Literary Commons: Engaging Students in Digital Archives," which is designed to enable students to better grasp the relationships between literature, culture, and history by drawing connections between the digital archives of 18th through the 20th century literature and aspects of the current digital communications revolution.

Through a series of scaffolded assignments, students will engage with and explore 18th through the 20th century digital archives and ultimately produce a multi-modal essay on a shared CUNY Academic Commons website—one that includes prints, letters, and other historical documents, along with objects held in the collections of various museums and libraries—written for a public audience.


In thunders end the voice.... By William Blake. Courtesy of the digital collection of the NYPL's Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature. 


The goals of this assignment are as follows:

1) students will learn the basic use of archives;

2) students will produce interdisciplinary work, enabling them to understand the ways in which various knowledge-production fields can both harmonize and come into conflict with one another;

3) students will engage in questions of genre and audience, strengthening their ability to work comfortably within multiple modes of writing;

4) in reading and commenting on each other’s blog posts, students will enter into scholarly conversations with their peers.

Through this project, our students will acquire skills in writing for real audiences through public writing assignments designed for and disseminated on the digital platform of the Commons.


[Ode on melancholy] by John Keats. Courtesy of the digital collection of the NYPL's Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.



This project is part of the CUNY Adjunct Incubator and is co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and the Gittell Urban Studies Collective at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

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