Bard Graduate Center associate professor Aaron Glass has been awarded a $150,000 Digital Humanities Advancement Grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) to support his collaborative project to create a critical, annotated, digitized edition of anthropologist Franz Boas’s landmark 1897 monograph on the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw culture of the Pacific Northwest Coast. NEH Digital Humanities Advancement Grants support the implementation of innovative digital humanities projects that have successfully completed a start-up phase and demonstrated their value to the field. This grant will support the development of additional features and extensions for a multimedia platform specifically designed to support Indigenous cultural and linguistic content.

Glass’s project, “The Distributed Text: An Annotated Digital Edition of Franz Boas’s Pioneering Ethnography,” is codirected with Judith Berman (University of Victoria). Boas’s The Social Organization and the Secret Societies of the Kwakiutl Indians (1897) is one of the first holistic ethnographies based on field work. The text brought together data on Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw social structure with art and material culture, detailed narratives in the Kwak’wala language, photographs taken in situ in British Columbia and at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, transcribed songs, eyewitness description of ceremonial performances, and extensive contributions from Boas’s Indigenous collaborator George Hunt. The goal of this project is to reunite the scattered archival material with the original text and with the Indigenous families whose cultural heritage is represented. It promises new ways of using digital media to link together disparate archives, museums, textual repositories, and contemporary Indigenous communities.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: