Beloved Witness ProjectThe Beloved Witness project is a Mellon-funded digital archive of the video-taped readings, personal documents, letters, and manuscripts of Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali (1949-2001).

New technologies will organize, display and allow interaction with the archive from multiple formats and devices, including materials for mobile devices. Our aim is to show how technology might be used to reveal what is unique in a poet’s oeuvre and how teaching and literary scholarship in a digital environment allow a new globalized approach to poetry and culture. Ali's life and work offer an exemplary model for humanists to bear “witness” to a world of lost tribes, of political and ethnic conflicts, of the pain of exile and of the possibility for transformation and reconciliation.

The archive is a collaborative effort which will expand through contributions of letters, documents, critical perspectives and creative responses from colleagues, friends and readers of Shahid’s works. One of the goals of the archive is to assemble an advisory committee to help identify ways of building a community of Shahid’s readers in South Asia and around the world.

Project Website


The Beloved Witness was featured in an article published by the Kashmir Reader (published 12/29/2012).

Student Research

Kerri Grimaldi ’15 presented the first phase of her CLASS project, “Intertextuality Between Emily Dickinson and Agha Shahid Ali,” and her video project, “Evanescence” at the DHi CLASS Student Scholars Summer Project Presentations, 30 Sept. at Hamilton College.

Sarah Schultz ’12 presented her English honors thesis, “What’s All the Hype About?: A Critical Exploration of Hypertext Theory and Authorship,” at a NITLE digital scholarship seminar and as part of a Symposium on Digital Humanities at DePauw University.

Project Team

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