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Announcing the winner of the inaugural RSA-TCP Article Prize in Digital Renaissance Research

In 2013, the TCP and the Renaissance Society of America (RSA) teamed up to offer an article prize with the aim of recognizing and rewarding original research that makes substantial and significant use of digitized archives of Renaissance print and manuscript source materials, and which engages thoughtfully with these resources. New scholarly articles published on or after January 1, 2012 were eligible for consideration.

Fifteen entries were submitted and evaluated this winter by a team of judges including representatives from RSA and two from the TCP’s own staff. A winner was chosen and announced at the 2014 meeting of the RSA’s annual meeting in New York. We’re delighted now to share the news more broadly:

The Renaissance Society of America (RSA) and the Text Creation Partnership (TCP) are pleased to award the inaugural prize in Digital Renaissance Research to Dr. Byron Hamann, Department of Art and Architecture at Ohio State University. Dr. Hamann’s article, entitled “Object, Image, Cleverness: The Lienzo de Tlaxcala,” Art History 36, n. 3 (2013). The article relies on a digital recreation of a now-lost 16th century Mexican painted textile that reconstructs the visual effect of the document as whole. It uses this recreation to argue that we are better able to understand both the meaning of individual scenes as well as the polemic argument of the narrative textile as a whole. The judges were impressed with the way that Hamann’s research used a digital recreation to investigate issues of materiality, iconography, cleverness, and the structures of Native American history-writing, as well as its thoroughness and accuracy in citing the digital sources.

In speaking with our users and colleagues around the world, we’ve learned that transparent citation of and critical engagement with digitized historical materials is a real challenge for many scholars, who often prefer to cite the original materials than point to a digital surrogate—even if only the digital surrogate was consulted. The TCP hopes that this prize will serve to recognize the work of scholars doing this well, and help to spur on conversations and development of best practices in this area.

We extend our hearty congratulations to Dr. Hamann and our thanks to all those who submitted articles for consideration this year.

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