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Digital Humanities Projects

Lone Woman and Last Indians

Lone Woman and Last Indians is a digital, annotated archive centered on the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island and Scott O'Dell's children's novel Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960). Created in conjunction with the Channel Islands National Park and National Park Service, the Lone Woman project is closely linked to the National Park Service's educational website on Island of the Blue Dolphins and its historical and geographical setting.

A collaboration between Prof. Sara Schwebel, the Center for Digital Humanities, the Channel Islands National Park, and the National Park Service, the Lone Woman and Last Indians project is comprised of a virtual museum, annotated online archive, and print critical edition centered on Scott O'Dell's Newbery-winning children's novel Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960). Together, these resources provide an innovative, rigorous reading of the most widely taught children's novel of the 20th century, and of the person who inspired it: an American Indian isolated on the most remote of the California Channel Islands between 1835-53.

The project seeks to engage a heterogeneous, multi-aged public with questions central to American identity in an age of multiculturalism and globalization. Specifically, it helps visitors to reflect on how efforts to scientifically understand and artistically represent "the Indian" have played a central role in American nation-building and American identity formation, and to consider what that means for the nation, Native peoples, and in fact, all Americans, today.

The Lone Woman and Last Indians archive makes newly discovered and newly translated documents and artifacts relative to both the Lone Woman and Island of the Blue Dolphins available. The project team marked up texts in TEI for named persons, places, historical events, and literary and cultural tropes such as "Robinson Crusoe" and "the last of her tribe." Additionally, the team built in textual summaries using Xqery and basic analytics with XSLT. The archive also features an interactive map and timeline, which place these sources in a larger geographical and historical context.

Work on this project has been funded by USC Provost Humanities grants, a USC ASPIRE I Innovation grant, USC Magellan Scholar grants, the College of Arts and Sciences, the English Department, the School of Library and Information Science, the Center for Digital Humanities, the Women's and Gender Studies Program, the National Park Service, the Mission Canyon-Santa Barbara Chapter of the National Society for the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Western National Parks Association, an American Library Association, the Children's Literature Association, the University of Minnesota Libraries, and private donors.

Prof. Sara L. Schwebel faculty bio page


Recent Publications

Smithsonian Magazine - December 4, 2017
UofSC Today - October 19, 2016
Ventura County Star - October 10, 2016
Ventura County Star - March 10, 2016
Ventura County Star - March 7, 2016
Smithsonian blog - January 31, 2013
L.A. Times - October 29, 2012




Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.