Search Target

The Source Project:

Knowledge, Discovery, Exchange

The world is vast and complex, but within it, there are many surprising things waiting to become known. The trick is knowing where to look, how to look, and how to interpret what you find. There is a great diversity of sources all around us that can lead to new knowledge. Paintings, maps, or legal documents can serve as sources. They can be artifacts from ancient or contemporary times, newspaper articles, photographs, or digital communications. Sources can be derived from works of literary fiction, scholarly articles or web-based content. People, living in the past or present, are among our most important sources.

In this new program at Binghamton University, freshmen will have the opportunity to discover sources, and from them, gain new knowledge about the world that we inhabit. Students will ask questions and seek answers, guided by experienced faculty who engage in these practices as their profession. Students will produce original projects that express their findings, and they will learn how to communicate and disseminate the relevance of what they have found with classmates as well as others outside of the classroom.

The Source Project invites freshmen to take a two-course sequence focused on consequential aspects of the human experience over the course of their first year. There is also the option to take a third course to dive deeper into their work. Students will end with a portfolio that shows what they discovered, and how, thereby enabling freshmen to contribute to our collective knowledge base. For more information, contact Valerie Imbruce, Undergraduate Research Center Director,

The Source Project is piloting in Fall 2018 with two courses in the following two thematic areas. Students will enroll in the second course in the sequence during Spring 2019:

1. Human Rights

What are Human Rights and where do they come from? How can studying rights violations help to build a better world? Start your academic career at Binghamton University by developing your research skills in Human Rights and exploring majors with Human Rights applications. This two-semester sequence will introduce first-year students to foundational histories and concepts alongside research methodologies drawn from social sciences and the humanities in Human Rights. We will look at the various ways scholars and human rights workers define research questions about Human Rights past and present and how research can be used to protect and promote human flourishing in difficult times.

Our first semester course, HARP 176: Human Rights Concepts and Methods, will center around case studies that ask us to bring different research methods together to address specific violations. Students will conclude the semester by designing their own research projects within the Human Rights Institute. In the second semester, students will have the opportunity to work individually or in groups with faculty members in the Human Rights Institute who are engaged in a wide range of Human Rights problem solving. Not only will students participate directly in ongoing research projects, they will also learn about different ways of disseminating and applying their research to reach diverse audiences. The program's courses will also count toward the Human Rights Minor, for students who are interested.

This course fulfills the G (Global) and N (Social Sciences) General Education requirements and is open to all freshmen without prerequisite. 

Alexandra Moore Portrait

Project Leader: Dr. Alexandra Moore, Professor of English and Co-Director of the Human Rights Institute, will lead the program. Professor Moore publishes widely in representations of torture, enforced disappearance, incarceration, gendered rights violations, child soldiers, humanitarian interventionism, and related topics in contemporary literature and film. She also works with torture survivors and those fleeing political persecution.

2. Artifacts of Human Migration

We live in a globalized world, in which people, information, and ideas have the capacity to travel far distances over short periods of time. We tend to view this global condition as a contemporary one, hinging upon recent technological advances in transportation and communication. Yet, humans have always sought to travel beyond perceived boundaries, crossing rough seas and traversing unforgiving swaths of land. This course will provide a window into these historical processes of movement, migration, and travel, using material, visual, and textual artifacts as our entry point.

During the first semester of the course, in HARP 175: Artifacts of Human Migration, students will be exposed to a few key sources that will allow us to frame the historical processes of migration. Most of them are quite modest, such as an 11th-C fragment of textile unearthed in the Egyptian desert, a Chinese porcelain cup mounted and embellished for an 18th C European collector, or a sixteenth-century map that reflects newly acquired knowledge about the shape and extent of the world. Even so, these items reveal vast contexts of cross-cultural exchange and transregional travel and offer outsized visions of one's place in the world. In this course, students will be offered many different ways to analyze these historical processes, including data-driven ones. Drawing on some of the most recent approaches to the humanities, students will learn how to explore and analyze processes of human migration and movement using new mapping technologies and strategies of data visualization. Students will also be encouraged to present their research findings on dynamic public-facing digital platforms. During the second semester of the course, in Spring 2019, students will delve into their own research projects, which they will develop from the foundations offered in the fall.

This course fulfills the O (Oral Communication) General Education requirement and is open to all freshmen without prerequisite.

Nancy Um Portrait

Instructor: Nancy Um, Professor of Art History, will teach this course. In her research, she explores visual, material, and built cultures around the rims of the vibrant Indian Ocean. She has conducted research in Yemen, Turkey, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom and is affiliated with Binghamton's Middle East and North Africa Studies program and the new campus-wide Data Science Initiative. She is ardently committed to exploring the use of new technologies in humanities teaching and research.



Last Updated: 5/16/18