This semester I encountered an interesting scenario in an undergraduate student essay. The student had counted the number of occurrences of a couple of words in a poem and concluded that, because the counts for word 1 and for word 2 were close, two concepts the words expressed were thematically related in the poem.
What the student got wrong:
The student failed to get the counts right because she did a simple word search that did not account for morphological/spelling variants (this was a Middle English text) or close synonyms.
Assuming that two concepts are related thematically because the words that express them occur in near equal numbers in a text is a logical fallacy.
What the student got right:
The student tried apply a quantitative method to understand the text in a new way.
Of course, there is nothing specifically “DH” about what the student did, other than using a browser’s search function. Before the days when this was possible, the technique would have been called “philology”, and that too is a good thing. Regardless of whether or not the student’s inspiration was facilitated by the availability of a digital tool, I was really delighted to see a student using a methodology which is very unfamiliar to most literature students these days—even in a very limited way.… Read more…
Location: California State University, Northridge
Date: May 4, 2013
Deadline for Proposals: April 15, 2013
DH SoCal is a network dedicated to building community and collaboration amongst digital humanists in Southern California. On May 4, 2013 we are holding our first research slam at California State University, Northridge. This one-day event will be designed to showcase Digital Humanities work and work in progress by, and to create opportunities for interaction between digital humanists from around the region.
We invite proposals for poster presentations, short talks, and issue-based discussion panels in any area of the Digital Humanities. To propose a topic, please fill out the submission form by April 15, 2013.… Read more…
I’m a little under the weather, so this post might not be as coherent as I’d like, but I want to get it up before I get overwhelmed by the what is likely to be a very busy few days.
Over the weekend, I decided that an interesting exercise for my students reading the Alliterative Morte Arthure would be to have them compare two very different approaches to the poem, Kateryna Alexandra Rudnytzky’s article on Arthur’s battle with the giant of Mont Saint Michel, and Patricia DeMarco’s “An Arthur for the Ricardian Age”. The one examines the poem in terms of the transformation of its source material and connections with literary analogues; the other focuses on the poem’s engagement with military history. Both approaches add depth to our understanding of the text and its place in the medieval literary and cultural world, yet they are based on exactly the sorts of observations that students cannot make because they have not had the opportunity to read widely. Students are forced to read a few texts, those for which there is time during a single semester, in a virtual vacuum. Naturally, that’s why we have professors–to assign secondary literature and to draw students’ attention to this type of knowledge in class.… Read more…
Pannapacker laments the way that pedagogy has lagged behind research in the development of the Digital Humanities His main point seems to be that the identity of the Digital Humanities has developed so one-sidedly around research activity that it is difficulty to transfer to more teaching-oriented institutions, whether that means faculty lacking the resources to engage in Digital Humanities scholarship or faculty wishing to teach something called the Digital Humanities to their students.
Pannapacker is not advising us to give up.* Overall, his suggestions are helpful hints for how to overcome the barriers in certain kinds of institutions. But therein lies the problem. Pannapacker has primarily the small liberal arts college in mind, and he is unconsciously making the same mistake he critiques—proposing that the Digital Humanities be defined in terms of the mission of a particular type of institution.… Read more…