Place:Harrison Institute, Byrd/Morris Room
Summer Digital Humanities Project Incubator Fellows Presentation & Lunch
This summer the Scholars’ Lab hosted three Digital Humanities Project Incubator Fellows, collaborators James Ascher & Sarah Berkowitz, and Ryan Maguire. During the course of their fellowships, these graduate students worked with Scholars’ Lab faculty and staff to rapidly prototype their project ideas and position themselves for future work in digital humanities. The fellows will present their cutting edge work that draws together experimental approaches to physical computing, textual criticism, and minimal computing. More information can be found in the abstracts below. Lunch will follow.
Textual editing is always collaborative and this project is no different. Building on the 1759 posthumous editing of Samuel Butler’s notes into a printed book and over a century of reprints, Charels W. Daves produced an edition in 1970 that returned to the Butler’s intentions as demonstrated in the extant manuscripts and printed editions. Yet, for its excellence, this edition recovers a historical moment by imagining that Butler wrote his notes with the intention to publish. Sarah Berkowitz and I asked what other sorts of historical intentions we might recover and we settled on recreating, digitally, the reading practices available for the 1759 copy we digitized. Centering our inquiry on a particular physical copy, but asking theoretical questions about literature, we developed a process that uses continuous integration. As both a metaphor from computer science and a technique we applied to our textual work, I’ll talk about how we developed a small team where historical curiosity drove the technological decisions we made in producing a digital platform: how we settled on Markdown over TEI, Pandoc over Saxon and makefiles with Travis-CI over Jekyll.
James P. Ascher is a doctoral candidate in the English Department. His work considers bibliographical and literary composites in eighteenth-century publishing.
Over the summer, James Ascher and I have been digitally recreating a specific copy of Samuel Butler’s Genuine Remains (1759). While digital tools and transcription practices can tell us a great deal about a text that might not be visible to the naked eye, my focus has been using digital technologies to reveal Butler’s conception of character, and to hypothesize how that might have been understood by an eighteenth-century reader. The Genuine Remains contains a collection of Theophrastan Characters, which present us with an opportunity to witness fictional characters that exist free from prose narrative. When character is decoupled from narrative what remains? And can digital text analysis of Butler reveal anything about the broader notions of what constitutes “character”? Mixing Stylo and text analysis with other close reading techniques, I work through Butler’s characters to discern the building blocks of eighteenth-century character.
Sarah Berkowitz is a PhD candidate in the English Department. Her work examines mediocrity, masculinity and character in the eighteenth-century novel.
This summer at the Scholar’s Lab, I have been reimagining what physical form digital music might take while working in the MakerSpace with Ammon Shepherd. With the advent of sound recording a century ago, music gained a new corporeality via the physical forms of vinyl records, cassette tapes, and compact discs. This added an unprecedented physical persistence to an ephemeral art form. MP3’s seem to have reversed this only recently gained permanence by making music files into mutable streams of data floating in the digital cloud. Rather than viewing this with dismay, I believe we now have more possibilities available than ever before. With new technologies, music can take on virtually any physical form that one can imagine. Physical computing expands the artistic possibilities available to music makers. As an artist-scholar, I believe this work can be at the forefront of a newly creative era in which the art of music is merged with the arts of sculpture and computational design. To this end, I am refurbishing old iPod’s with Rockbox Linux replacing the original firmware, and developing custom fabricated “Ghost in the MP3” players using 3-d printing software and Raspberry Pi computers. This work explores new creative possibilities for what music might become in the 21st century.
A doctoral candidate in Music Composition and Computer Technologies, Ryan Maguire grew up in Wisconsin where he earned a B.A. in Physics and taught mathematics after graduation. He later moved to Boston and completed postgraduate degrees at the New England Conservatory of Music and Dartmouth College in Music Composition and Digital Musics, respectively. His work connects composition with improvisation, analog with digital, acoustic with electronic, lo-fi with high tech, and art with science.
Contact Scholars' Lab's Head of Public Programs Laura Miller.