For some time, there has been a pressing need for studies that approach murder as something other than a pathological, criminological, or sociological problem to be explained, analyzed, and resolved. In this talk, I take up a new materialist approach to murder, arguing, first, that we must begin by postponing blame, and, second, that inner-city murder is distributed through multiple key non-human rhetorical agents before and leading up to the violent act itself–and that any meaningful intervention must first account for and trace these agents. Using new materialist rhetoric, affect theory, and discourse analysis, I share my research on murder as it happens across, and in part because of, the partial agency of social networks, where language, discourse, and affect intra-act and resonate contagiously. Through a case study of a 2014 “murder-event” in Pittsburgh, PA, I illustrate how Facebook and Twitter become agential actors in murder themselves. Ultimately, my research suggests that individual agency is no longer sufficient and that we must, instead listen to other powerful rhetorical agents and their networks, which have thus far been excluded, as a new intervention into violence in the 21st century. . . . Continue Reading
Putting new media in the service of old scores, the digital environment offers much that will advance the study, teaching, and performance of music. There are on-line image archives, research databases, digital editions, tools for computational analysis, and even social media sites devoted to the serious study of music, in all its richness. But what good are such tools? And how do they relate to the peer-reviewed journals, books, and monuments with which they jostle for attention and resources?
I would like to offer some perspectives on the promise and peril of the digital domain for the study of music, highlighting some current accomplishments and pointing out some challenges for the years ahead. Along the way we will pause to consider the long history of transformative intersections of music and technologies of writing and reproduction. And we will reflect on the how these new modes new tools might enable new kinds of disciplinary collaborations, new relationships among teaching and research, and new models of intellectual property and publication.
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“In the context of research, a model is an experimental device, modelling an experimental technique.” Willard McCarty, Humanities Computing.
What is a research model, and what is an experiment, in the context of art history? As we begin to compute data troves derived from catalogues raisonné and museum collections in new ways, we are challenged to grapple seriously with how to map different computational models (e.g. spatial, network, visual) to historical models of society, market, religion, gender, and more.
My talk will focus on my in-progress dissertation “Modeling the Network of Dutch and Flemish Print Production, 1500–1700”, in which I adapt existing museum collections databases in order to analyze large-scale changes in the organizational patterns of reproductive printmakers and publishers in the Netherlands during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I will discuss the importance of formal network concepts to understanding artistic print production, and demonstrate how multiple analytical perspectives, including both measurement and descriptive analysis, as well as simulation modeling, compel us to revisit standing narratives and methodologies. This attentiveness towards computational modeling and the concept of the humanistic model in general, I will argue, has particularly high stakes for art historians as we continue to construct and evaluate the relationships between our historical narratives and the objects from which we derive them. . . . Continue Reading
As academic publishing turns more and more toward peer-to-peer review, multimedia-rich work, and publication of data sets, the Vega team is developing a modular, open-source platform that can accommodate a broader range of publishing models that scholars and practitioners want to and can publish. Vega will be a free, editorial-management platform that supports peer review, copy-editing, and publication of multimedia-rich and data-driven scholarship and creative works in all areas of research. With the support of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, Vega is being designed with a unique editorial workflow that recognizes and values the importance of screen-based multimedia research, including digital humanities projects and electronic literature. What many journals and presses that publish this kind of work lack is an editorial management system that will move a piece of scholarly multimedia through the submission, review, and production processes as a single, scholarly entity. I will discuss the platform, its authorial and editorial features, and welcome questions and comments from an audience of potential users of Vega, which is only part-way through its first year of a three-year development cycle.
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Scholars of contemporary fiction face special challenges in making the turn toward digitized corpora and empirical method. Their field is one of exceptionally large and uncertain scale, subject to ongoing transformation and dispute, and shrouded in copyright. I will present one possible way forward, based on my work for a special issue of Modern Language Quarterly on “Scale & Value” that I’m co-editing with Ted Underwood. My project uses quantitative relationships among mid-sized, hand-made datasets to map the field of Anglophone fiction from 1960 to the present. Some significant findings of this research concern a shift in the typical time-setting of the novel and a concomitant change in the relationship between literary commerce and literary prestige.
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The study of computational media still has far to go when it comes to contradicting the solo white male inventor myths that are often reified in mainstream culture, although recent work in media archaeology that emphasizes the manual labor of participants with the apparatus is changing the narrative about the rise of software culture. It is perhaps useful to make comparisons to film studies, where scholarship about the role of labor, organizational communication, institutional rhetoric, domestic politics, systems of credit, and “below the line” production activities has long challenged the model of the lone auteur. Just as women were critical actors in the Hollywood saga in intensely collaborative roles such as casting and editing, pioneering work in computer graphics, virtual reality, interactive entertainment, and multimedia publishing reflected a collective production culture and its associated conflicts. Media studies could still do much more to recover social histories currently stored in informal archives, often in obsolete file formats, to support feminist scholarship, as part of the larger theoretical project of acknowledging the material, embodied, affective, situated, and labor-intensive character of technology. This talk focuses specifically on manual labor in the supply chain of digital media and how many hands don’t make light work. . . . Continue Reading
NOTE: This talk was originally scheduled for April 7, 2015, but had to be canceled due to a campus-wide power outage.
“How can you love a work, if you don’t know it? How can you know it, if you can’t get near it? How can you get near it, without editors?”
— Gary Taylor, “The Renaissance and the End of Editing”
Scholarly editors are an integral part of the continuum that keeps the stories of the past available to and understood by the present—but in Taylor’s formulation, the “you” is just as important: that public of readers beyond the academy whose interest keeps the humanities alive and relevant. This talk will explore how we can design digital archives and editions to be more than simply publicly accessible. With changes to how we do digital humanities interface design, we can take the extra step of inviting and assisting participation in our love for the nuances of a text’s materiality, history, and meaning.
I’ll address how my “Infinite Ulysses” digital edition draws on participatory design, social mechanics successful on non-academic sites, and user testing to support a public audience. . . . Continue Reading
Please note that this Digital Dialogue is a special co-sponsored talk in conjunction the Art History & Archaeology Department, and occurs on a different weekday and location.
The Central Building Office at Auschwitz was for its time one of the largest architectural offices in Europe with over 150 SS architects and engineers employed as well as an equal number of forced-labor draftsmen. It was these architects who literally built the infrastructure of imperialist expansion in the East, as well was the brutal complementary structures of the Jewish genocide.
This talk analyzes the documentary evidence of the imperial ambitions of the SS as well as the digital visualizations of that archival evidence. Building off of his current work on digitally mapping the site (with his co-author, Anne Kelly Knowles), Jaskot asks what is at stake for digital mapping in the humanities, as well as for a spatial and architectural understanding of the Holocaust.
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What is the future of sheet music? The flexibility of the digital medium, as opposed to the rigidity of the printed form, calls for a more modern concept of the music score.
Even digital sheet music, in most cases, is designed to be printed; it is either produced with typesetting software, or made of images scanned from a printed source. This type of digital score exists in digital form almost exclusively for distribution. The difference between print and digital distribution is access: scores can be downloaded and printed at home.
Digital consumption, on the other hand, entails reading and performing the score directly from its digital manifestation. Small businesses are already investing in technologies to make the score follow the performer while playing, to support writing and displaying annotations by the performer, a teacher, other peers, etc.
In this talk, I’ll address the current status of digital sheet music publication and ask: can the digital consumption of a changeable, customizable publication influence a performer’s advocacy of a work? Textual scholarship and the preparation of critical editions is a fundamental component of this discussion, where I’ll convey editorial transparency as a vital function of digital consumption. . . . Continue Reading
Walter Freeman, the world’s foremost proponent and practitioner of lobotomy, was also an obsessive photographer. He almost invariably took photos of his patients before and after surgery, often tracking them down years after the operation to capture their images. These cross-country trips to photograph patients, which Freeman called head-and-shoulder hunting expeditions, consumed the physician during the last years of his career.
What do we do with an archive like this? Its contents can tell us volumes about the medical epistemology that made lobotomy thinkable. But how can we avoid replicating Freeman’s own rhetorical moves, in which the photographs were mobilized as evidence during scientific presentations?
I’ll describe the visual rhetoric that defined the scientific moment from which lobotomy emerged, and demonstrate some digital methods I’ve used for placing them in context. Against the background of this history, I ask, what is the contemporary digital scholar’s responsibility for working with, writing about, and displaying images of human beings in distress?
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