Using Bootstrap Digital Humanities to Explore Topic Modeling Ghosts, Haunted Houses, and Heroines in 19th-Century Literature (UC Irvine Talk)

Update 2/9/16: This content was selected for Digital Humanities Now by Editor-in-Chief Ben Schneider based on nominations by Editors-at-Large Harika Kottakota, Heriberto Sierra, Marisha Caswell, Vanessa Raymond, and Laura Vianello

See also Miriam Posner’s talk from this day: “Money and Time.”

See also Scott Kleinman’s talk from this day: “Digital Humanities Projects with Small and Unusual Data: Some Experiences from the Trenches.”

Slide01Thank you to Peter Krapp and The Humanities Commons and Data Science Initiative for the invitation to speak today along with all of my esteemed colleagues. Everyone here represents a slightly different facet of Digital Humanities. It should make for a very interesting day!

Instead of discussing results today, I’m here to talk about the messiness of the inner-workings behind a small Digital Humanities project and issues inherent to data. I guess I’m also a tale of how to do Digital Humanities with the least possible institutional support in a field that continues to diversify and evolve intellectually and institutionally.

[About 20 minutes before the day began, Peter recommended that I outline the boundaries of Digital Humanities for this audience. The slides below offer that overview, but we can also add Alan Liu’s Map of Digital Humanities (Prezi or downloadable PPT — PPT is more recent). I didn’t quite get to the last 2 pp of this talk with this new addition of DH context. During the Q&A, more came out about how much is yet to be done with my DH project and the intersection with pedagogy. Ultimately, my DH project focuses on new developments in DH as the tools become easier to handle.]

What began as a digital scholarly edition, Forget Me Not Hypertextual Archive (2005), focusing on recovering and revealing an early nineteenth-century publication, turned into a traditional scholarly monograph, Forget Me Not: The Rise of the British Literary Annual 1823-1835 (2015). Both the monograph and digital scholarly archive reveal the multi-vocal and hyper-feminized literary annual’s interaction with print culture and the production of literary materials and material objects throughout the nineteenth-century. The literary annual, some 300 titles published 1823-1860 in England with nationalistic derivations produced in France, Germany, America, and South America, became the locus of authorship to almost every canonical and non-canonical author, poet, and artist in England and America. The best-selling titles were published for 25 years and enjoyed a healthy readership distributed across class, gender, and geographical audiences. However, the annuals themselves have previously been unavailable for study because most libraries and archives discarded them as unimportant, popular culture during an age when the mechanization of print encouraged distribution of massive amounts of reading materials. The digital archive, edition of gothic short stories, and monograph are all meant to the absence of scholarship on this wildly popular literary publication. First, a little background on this literary form before delving into the DH aspect. Read more…


That’s a Wrap! MLA 2016 & Digital Pedagogy Plus

Williams Elementary, which opened in 1976, sits in South Austin on the same full block of land that I saw on my first day of school in 1976.

20160110_171018The same huge tree in the corner of the field is still there.

20160110_164833Even the portables where Mr. Aielli taught us to be curious about science are still standing.

20160110_164803Because Williams hired new, young teachers who brought energy and joy to learning, Williams will always be my favorite school experience. From second through sixth grade, teachers nurtured me, encouraged me to enter the spelling bee (which I won in 5th grade!), offered track and field to boys and girls, held class outside under that big tree. They made me love learning – they told me I was smart, especially Mr. Aielli, one cool dude with the typical 1970s long hair and a real passion for talking directly to each of his students. Mr. Aielli saw a storm on the horizon and hustled all of us outside to stand in a long line so we could feel the moment that the barometric pressure dropped. Feeling, actually feeling, nature’s impact was exhilarating!

A return to Austin meant a return to home – the same is true of returning to the annual MLA Convention where so much learning, community, and networking happens.

Read more…

Interview with the MLA on Digital Pedagogy Volume

Myself, Jentery Sayers, Rebecca Frost Davis, and Matthew Gold got together with Nicky Agate of the Modern Language Association to talk about the history, development, and innovation of Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities. This labor of love project, five years in the making, is under contract with the MLA and being delivered for open peer review in batches with final publication by 2017.  Read more…

New York City Lecture Circuit on Forget Me Nots, Digital Pedagogy, and Beautiful Books

In April 2016, I get to return to New York City to present three talks about all of my favorite topics: digital pedagogy, Forget Me Nots, and beautiful books. Often, when a non-academic asks me my field, I describe my work with integrating digital tools into all of my courses and then move onto describing my literary field and then one more field added to talk about print culture in the early 19th century. Recently, I’ve abbreviated my answer to: “I’m a professor of literature and technology.” This always draws confused looks from my pals from the surrounding Silicon Valley tech firms: “How can literature and technology even remotely live together?” they ask. All of my work has grown from a curiosity about the dissemination of information in the explosion of print materials in the early 19th century. This inherently includes the mechanization of printing materials and later includes stereotyping and the advances in reproducing complex artwork as engravings. My response to my techie friends is always: “I teach and work on issues surrounding the mechanization of print in early 19th-century England to Facebook in the early 21st century.” An illuminating moment. They see the connection.

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Public Lecture at the Book Club of California

The Book Club of California generously agreed to host a public lecture and exhibit of all things literary annuals. I brought British almanacs, including a pocketbook, a German Taschenbuch, several British literary annuals including the first one (1823 Forget Me Not), and several American gift books. (Remember, not all gift books are literary annuals, but all literary annuals *are* gift books.)

“The Rise of the Literary Annual, Powerful Femininity, and Beautiful Books: An Illustrated Talk and Pop-Up Exhibition,” Feb 22, 5-7pm. The Book Club of California

Text of this talk (pdf) plus video with slides available below.

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The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Forget Me Nots, a Talk in Salzburg

On September 1, Dr. Ralph Poole generously hosted me for a symposium on my most recent work, Forget Me Not: The Rise of the British Literary Annual 1823-1835. The audience was filled with American Studies scholars with a large quantity of them already familiar with textual studies, history of the book, and bibliography. In addition, and to my great pleasure, they were already enamored with David Greetham’s work in philology and textual studies.

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Bavarian Digital Humanities – Thriving

On Sept 2, 2015, I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with a full room of interesting and interdisciplinary scholars and colleagues about the state of Digital Humanities in North America. The conversation ranged wide and far, starting with my shoestring digital archive and concluding with looking at blogs by Digital Humanists. The age old question, and even Steve Ramsay’s dictum came up: does a Digital Humanist have to code? The conversation was surprising for both sides, but the colleagues in attendance were so varied that I was heartened by the sheer interest in not just content concerning Digital Humanities projects, but also the attendance and interest by, among them, computer science and the supercomputing lab (!). Formal details are below as was in the announcement. Below that are the varied links and websites that we traversed for ease of reference. What a wonderful evening of discussion about Digital Humanities!

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