Podcasts Online

I’m very happy to announce that podcasts of all the events at the Moving People Symposium are now online! You can find them in a variety of sub-menus under the Podcasts menu above. And be sure to check out the Program, which might help you navigate your way through the mass of materials.

We hope that these recordings will serve as a great resource in the months and years to come as we continue the conversations begun in Charlottesville.

Oxford Digital Classics

The next talk in the Oxford digital classics series will be today, Tuesday February 24, at 5pm:
Dr Gabriel Bodard (Kings College London)
Bringing People Together: Standards for Networking Ancient Prosopographies (SNAP:DRGN)
The talk will be webcast, for which the link (live from 17.05 GMT) can be found at:
The talk looks to be very relevant to the symposium’s topics. Check it out!

Shared Stories: A Mediated Model

[Posting the following on behalf of Ruth Page, one of our symposium speakers.]

In my paper at the Moving Lives symposium I will talk about a model I am developing for analysing shared stories.  Shared stories are a narrative genre that is increasingly important in the contemporary communicative landscape. Shared stories have antecedents in retellings that are found in literary contexts (adaptations), in co-constructed conversational stories and in the multiple versions of stories that circulate in the news media.  But above all, shared stories are prevalent in social media contexts where the verb ‘share’ has taken on media-specific meanings.  As John (2013) points out, ‘sharing’ has become a potent keyword in social media, where its communicative meaning (to tell) and its distributive meaning (to give away) has a particular resonance in the ability to publish and repost stories which are told and retold by many people and across many contexts.

In the biographical narratives about public figures that are told in social media contexts, the analysis of shared stories needs to take into account of the contexts in which the stories are produced and reproduced. This includes analysis of:

  • The generic context (the site and its affordances)
  • The interactional context (the ways stories are embedded in relation to other kinds of talk)
  • The multimodal context (the audio-visual content that might accompany any written text)
  • The meta-data available

The analysis of how material is shared (in terms of distribution) can benefit from ‘big data’ approaches that are able to trace patterns through the meta-data across many interactions, but often this can miss the multi-modal complexity of what is being told in the story itself.  As a case study, I will explore data taken from a public Facebook community page that marked the death of former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

A note on tools:

Netvizz is a great, free tool developed by Rieder (2013) and his colleagues, which allows you to export publically available data from Facebook and then use tools like Gephi to explore network analysis, or transfer content into other software for further analysis.

And a note on the wider project:

I have also been applying this model of shared stories to data taken from Wikipedia and Twitter, though there will not be time to discuss this in my presentation!  I’m very happy to chat in person about the project, or to share draft work in progress.

Ruth Page

Reduced Hotel Rate for Interested Out of Town Participants

Symposium preparations are in full swing over here! The symposium is free and open to the public, and we have secured a limited block of rooms at a reduced rate at the Courtyard Marriott Charlottesville for any people a bit farther afield who wanted to join in. This weekend will be a busy one in Charlottesville, so we have reserved a block of rooms for which you would pay the favorable rate of $155 a night. The hotel is at 120 W. Main Street (walking distance from the University), and the phone number for inquiries is 434-977-1700. Interested participants will need to make a reservation by February 19; to do so, call the hotel and mention the code “moving people.” Feel free to email movingpeopleuva@gmail.com with any questions.

Moving People, Linking Lives

Moving People, Linking Lives: An Interdisciplinary Symposium will take place March 20-21, 2015 at the University of Virginia. Organized and hosted by Alison Booth, Jenny Strauss Clay, and Amy Odgen and sponsored by the Page Barbour Committee, the departments of English and French, the Institute for Humanities and Global Cultures, the Scholars’ Lab and Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, and other entities at UVa, all events are free and open to the public. Presentations and workshops will open dialogue across different fields (Booth, Strauss Clay, and Ogden are professors of English, French, and Classics, respectively), periods (from ancient to contemporary) and methods, from textual interpretation to digital research. Invited participants include specialists on narrative theory and life writing, prosopography or comparative studies of life narratives in groups, and the diverse field of digital humanities or computer-assisted research on cultural materials, from ancient texts to Colonial archives, from printed books to social media.

Invited participants include: Elton Barker, Jason Boyd, James Phelan, Susan Brown, Margaret Cormack, Courtney Evans, Will Hanley, Ben Jasnow, Ruth Page, Sue Perdue, Sidonie Smith.

Our symposium will bridge the gaps among our fields; share the innovations of several digital projects; and welcome the skeptical or the uninitiated, whether in our historical fields or in the applications of technology in the humanities.

Invited participants can begin generating a conversation immediately by posting to this blog in advance of the symposium and tagging their posts with our list of topics for discussion. Anyone is free to comment on the posts. In addition, our participants will be building a Zotero-powered bibliography in the weeks leading up to the symposium full of rich materials related to the event’s discussion.

Booth, Clay, and Ogden have each led digital projects with some common themes and aims: locating, identifying, and interpreting the narratives—or very often, the lack of discursive records—about individuals in groups or documents, in Homer or other ancient text, Medieval French hagiography, and nineteenth-century printed collections of biographies in English. We want to open discussion of many potential methods including our own—data mining and digital editions of texts; relational databases and historical timelines and maps—for research on groups of interlinked persons, narratives or data about their lives, and documents or other records, and synthesizing and visualizing this research in accessible ways that reach students and the public. Digital innovation, however, should be informed by traditions of scholarly interpretation and advanced theoretical insights and commitments. Narrative theory and Theory generally, ideological critique including studies of gender and race, textual and book history studies, transnational and social historiography, philology and language studies, archeology, cultural geography and critical cartography, are all gaining influence on digital projects. Join in the conversation on this blog, and join us for fruitful interchange in March!