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Thursday, May 28 • 1:05pm - 2:05pm
Digital Lifeworlds

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A session of lightning talks:

Digital Personhood & Medieval Romance
Andreea Boboc

What are the processes of cultural mediation and remediation involved in the creation of a humanistic personhood that interacts with a multiplicity of digital artifacts (texts, images, videos, maps)? How do these processes apply to teaching and studying personhood in medieval romance? To what extent can “distant reading” expand current models of personhood available through reader-response criticism and close reading?

As Anne Burdick et al. point out, “distant reading explicitly ignores the specific features of any individual text that close reading concentrates on in favor of gleaning larger trends and patterns from a corpus of texts” (Digital Humanities 39). This 20-minute presentation evaluates how different experimental forms and “knowledge models” emerging in the field of digital humanities address the questions above and improve on the traditional student/teacher models.

This presentation analyzes two case studies in which students become cognizant of the cultural forces involved in the evaluation of medieval personhood through digital mediation. The goal is that students write research papers that investigate social and legal personhood in Sir Gowther and The Wife of Bath’s Tale with the help of digital artifacts, which students collect from the World Wide Web and examine in terms of source reliability. For The Wife of Bath, such artifacts could relate to chivalry, sense perception, contracts, magic, medieval legal cases dealing with rape, medieval theories of experience as well as the relationship between experience and book learning. For Sir Gowther, students may look up in the Oxford English Dictionary and various online databases and encyclopedias the keywords relating to medieval personhood and available online at the English Romance Project at the University of York:

Comparative Impact Assessment of Documentaries and Related Media
Rezvaneh Rezapour

We present our work from developing and applying a theoretically grounded, empirical and computational methodology for assessing and comparing the impact of information products in a systematic and rigorous fashion. This work started with assessing the impact of social justice documentaries. Unlike media products whose impact can be measured in metrics like ticket sales or numbers of viewers, social justice documentaries pose a particular challenge because their aim is to create some type of social change. We have developed a theoretical framework and pertinent technology that enables people to a) collect data from a variety of sources, including media and social media, b) constructing a baseline model of key stakeholders and their opinions associated with the main issues addressed in a documentary, c) tracking changes in the baseline over time and d) identifying which changes might be attributable to the content of a documentary (ground truth model) and/ or its coverage in (social) media. We will give a brief overview on this process and discuss in more detail how this work has been used by filmmakers to understand and leverage the opportunity spaces for increasing the impact of their production early on, and by stakeholders, such as funders, to evaluate the impact of a production after its release. 

Recently, we have expanded our efforts to also study the impact of other types of information products, namely writing. This extension accounts for the fact that often, films are part of multi-media efforts that may also include books or exhibitions. 

“Mapping Paris Theaters”: Reconsidering Nineteenth-Century Musical Life in the French Capital
Mia Tootill

Walking through the streets of Paris in 1835, an inhabitant of the city would have passed over forty theaters—the shrieks of opera singers, thuds of ballet shoes, and clashes of cymbals emanating from many. The French capital was increasingly populated with theatres throughout the century, but studies have largely focused on the major institutions, particularly the Opéra, despite the appearance of music at most of them. Outliers have faced challenges in both accessing information about the smaller venues and moving past the long-held narrative of singular dominance and success. How, then, can we change the discourse to one that recognizes the diverse environment? Is there a way we can imaginatively transport ourselves back to a time when many Parisians would have been as familiar with the Théâtre du Vaudeville as the Opéra?

This paper explores the GIS project “Mapping Paris Theaters,” which showcases pre- and post-Haussmannian historical maps of the city with digitally plotted theaters. While the hierarchy of these venues was very real in the early nineteenth-century, thanks to Napoleon’s classifications of certain venues as “primary” or “secondary” theaters, it was far from black and white, and became increasingly complex over the course of the century. By visualizing the theaters alongside one another, my project forces its audience to consider all of them at once—none can be ignored. The maps also highlight the importance that the urban locale of the French capital played in the musical life of the city, which musicologists are increasingly addressing in their studies of this repertoire. 

The second part of this project constitutes a body of vital information on the theaters—collected from published dictionaries and archival sources. This project serves as a digital appendix to my dissertation, but also seeks to provide others with tools for reimagining their own lost performances. Such work is necessary with this repertoire, given the lack of recordings and difficulties in recreating many of the musical stage works.  

Terroir Tapestries: Weaving Together Community Art and Digital Humanities
Jennifer Stratton

Terroir Tapestries is an interactive consumption project exploring past and present interactions between the terroir of street food spaces, vendors and consumers. This project expands the application of terroir to urban landscapes, both past and present, whose environments and sense of place profoundly shape food produced in different cities. The project was created as part of the transdisciplinary Subnature and Culinary Culture Program, a subset of the Emerging Digital Humanities Network at Duke University. 

The Subnature and Culinary Culture Program at Duke University sought to critically analyze non-traditional modes of food production and preparation that are typically deemed “strange” and “inedible.” One aspect of cuisine that can be understood in terms of subnature is “goût du terroir” (“taste of place”), a term for the distinct flavors imprinted on a food or wine by its physical origin. Historically in France, food identified with terroir was associated with the filth of the provinces and the savagery of more distant lands. More recently though, it was re-appropriated as a powerful vehicle for regional pride and identity, to the point that roads are planned and rerouted so that they don’t impinge on native agricultural spaces.

The Terroir Tapestries installation is centered on public engagement with historically significant foods. During community dining events, participants were invited to inscribe personal “taste reactions” on the food wrappers. Following the sharing of food items at these events, the wrapper text and images are imprinted by the stains, rips and crumbs of consumer consumption. ....

Text and Data Mining: Academic Content Collections and Activities at EBSCO
Mike Bucco

As 21st Century humanities research progresses, the digital researcher has turned to text and data mining (TDM) of digital content collections in an effort to uncover new frontiers of scholarship. 

TDM research is moving from the professional researcher, who is aligned with technical resource teams, to graduate level students using more-common TDM tools, to the undergraduate, who is being asked to evaluate big data sets for new perspectives on old topics.  As a content aggregator, EBSCO has developed strong relationships with the library community, the academic community and publishers and is positioned to synchronize these relationships with technical advances in an effort to allow TDM access to content collections previously unavailable. 

This session will provide an overview of high-level findings in the TDM community, examples of TDM outputs and target activities EBSCO is preparing in the upcoming year.

avatar for Mike Bucco

Mike Bucco

Senior Director, EBSCO
Senior Director, Product Management, EBSCO

Rezvaneh (Shadi) Rezapour

PhD Student, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign
avatar for Mia Tootill

Mia Tootill

Ph.D. Candidate, Cornell University

Thursday May 28, 2015 1:05pm - 2:05pm EDT
Centennial Room Kellogg Center

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