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!